Did you know your nutritional needs change as you reach menopause? Ourwomen’s health care providers are here to help you make healthy choices for your diet to help you feel your best.
Talk to our women’s health care providers about your diet and vitamin optimization during menopause.
As we age, our risk for different conditions goes up. For example, around the time of menopause, there’s a higher likelihood of developing diabetes and osteoporosis. Also, around this time many women start to gain weight and notice more belly fat. However, your diet may help reduce these risks and help you feel great.
Talk to your Women’s Health Care Provider About Nutrition
We all know that each woman is different and unique, and so are our nutritional needs! Some women need more of one vitamin and some the other. Our women’s health care providers are here to help you optimize your vitamins.
Generally, we recommend getting most of your vitamins and nutrients from food, and then filling in any gaps with supplements. We start by taking a blood test to look at whether you’re getting enough, or even too much, of a particular vitamin. Then, we help you develop a personalized plan to help you start meeting your nutritional needs. We’ll sit down and work with you to develop a healthy, balanced diet plan and also help with any supplements you need.
It’s important to remember that our nutritional needs can change with each stage of life, so nutrition should be an ongoing conversation with our women’s health care professionals. Nutrition after menopause will often be different than nutrition in your 20s and 30s. Therefore, it’s important to keep these changes in mind and talk to us about your diet and nutrition.
Our Women’s Health Care Providers Help Explain Changing Nutritional Needs after Menopause
If you haven’t had a blood test for vitamin optimization from ourwomen’s health clinic yet, it’s still a good thing to keep these general recommendations in mind:
Around the time of menopause, many women start to gain weight. This can be due to a few different factors. First, with age we start to lose some of our muscle mass. Muscle takes a lot of calories to maintain. So, as we start to lose some of that, our bodies need fewer calories.
Also, estrogen helps our bodies distribute fat. As estrogen levels decline, you may notice more fat around your midsection. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, can be particularly dangerous because it’s associated with health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions.
Therefore, as you enter middle-age, you may need to start eating fewer calories. After 50, you generally need about 200 fewer calories a day on average, even if you’re as active as you were in your younger years. However, it’s important to discuss changes in diet with our women’s health care provider to help you make sure you’re getting the number of calories you need.
Another major concern after menopause is bone loss. In fact, women can lose up to 20% of bone mass within 5-7 years after menopause. This can lead to conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Calcium is a vitamin that helps keep your bones strong. Your daily needs for calcium go up once you reach 50 years of age. Recommendations for younger women is about 1,000 mg of calcium per day. However, after 50, those recommendations shoot up to about 1,200 mg a day.
Many people get a lot of their calcium from dairy products. For example, one cup of milk has about 300 mg of calcium in it. However, your risk of lactose intolerance may go up around this age as well. While you can get lactose-free, calcium rich dairy products, you can also opt for foods like leafy greens as well as some nuts, fish and seeds.
Our women’s health care professionals can also help you with calcium supplements to fill in any gaps in your calcium intake.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium, so it’s also an important part of your vitamin needs as your risk for bone density issues goes up. After age 51, the average age of menopause, you need about 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day. If you’re 71 or older, you need about 800 IUs.
You can get vitamin D from going outside in the sunlight. However, there may be several reasons why you might be avoiding the sun for health reasons. For example, many medications make your skin more sensitive to light.
There are a few food sources for vitamin D, including egg yolks, fish, and fortified cereals and dairy products. If you’re still struggling with vitamin D deficiency, then our women’s health clinic can help you with supplements to help you get the amount of vitamin D you need each day.
Vitamin B-6 helps you make red blood cells and also helps support your immune system and nervous system. Younger women need about 1.3 mg each day of B-6. However, after 50 you need about 1.5 mg each day. You can find this important vitamin in fish, meat, fruit, legumes, and many different vegetables.
You may also need more protein as you enter menopause. Protein can help with muscle growth, repair, and maintenance. Some health professionals recommend getting about 25-30 grams of protein at each meal to help spread out your protein intake. This is because studies have found that your body may only be able to use a certain amount at a time.
One of the main meals you should look at is breakfast. The average American only gets about 10 grams of protein during breakfast. So, you may want to evaluate how much and when you’re getting your protein.
Women’s Health Care at Every Stage of Life from HerKare
If you needmenopause treatment or help with vitamin optimization, our providers at HerKare are here for you. We offer advanced women’s health care to help you feel your best at each stage of life. We provide state-of-the-art, compassionate care in a warm, welcoming environment. Our team takes time to listen to you and really understand your health status and concerns. Then, we work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to suit your needs.Book an appointment today and let’s talk about your health needs.
HRT can help ease symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, sleep issues, and more. Recent research suggests that it may also help with a certain type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, commonly affects people as they reach middle age or older. Women on hormone therapy may benefit from some protective benefits against osteoarthritis.
HRT may help reduce the effects of one of the most common types of arthritis.
HRT May Help with Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a major concern for menopausal and post-menopausal women. In fact, in the Women’s Health Initiative, approximately 77% of the post-menopausal women in the study reported joint pain. Also, 40% noted joint swelling.
Many of the women in the study that started estrogen replacement therapy noted that the frequency of joint pain went down after starting treatment. Therefore, HRT may help reduce joint pain for those with osteoarthritis.
However, another recent study suggests that HRT may even help slow the progression of osteoarthritis. The study conducted in Korea and published in the North American Menopause Society’s journal, Menopause, noted some interesting findings on the effects of hormone therapy and knee arthritis.
In the study, the women who were on HRT for one year or longer had lower rates of osteoarthritis. Rates of arthritis in thehormone replacement therapy group were about 30% lower than those who didn’t take hormones. The researchers also noted that hormone therapy may help reduce the deterioration of cartilage as seen through X-rays.
What is Osteoarthritis?
So, what is osteoarthritis? This is a type of arthritis where the cartilage in your joints wears away. This cartilage sits between the edges of your bones as a type of cushion. It helps protect the edges of your bones.
However, when this wears away, then bone starts to grind on bone. This can leave the bone edges indented and rough. Some symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
About 30 million people suffer from this type of arthritis and it’s one of the leading causes of pain and physical disability. It’s more common for women around the time of menopause. In fact, after age 45, it affects more women than men. Because of this divide, some doctors and medical researchers have considered that declining levels of hormones may play a role and that HRT may help with this type of arthritis.
Why Some Researchers Theorize HRT May Help with Arthritis
You may be wondering why HRT may help with osteoarthritis. While research is ongoing, there are several reasons why researchers are studying this link. As we’ve mentioned, rates of osteoarthritis in women rise dramatically around the average age of menopause. Symptoms also tend to get worse around this time. This has led many to wonder whether the rapid decline in estrogen during menopause may influence this type of arthritis. In addition, because HRT can help with some of the effects of menopause, there’s a question of whether it may help with osteoarthritis as well.
Also, researchers have found that women who undergo a hysterectomy or have their ovaries removed experience higher rates of knee and hand osteoarthritis. These procedures are sort of like an “artificial” menopause that cause estrogen levels to drop significantly, similar to how they do naturally during menopause. Therefore, there may be a link between estrogen levels and this type of arthritis.
How HRT May Help Slow the Progression of Osteoarthritis
So, why might estrogen help slow the progression of osteoarthritis? There may be several factors that may help explain why.
HRT May Help Keep Your Cartilage Strong
One potential answer to help explain the effects of the study is that joint tissues contain estrogen receptors. Therefore, the cartilage in your bones may respond to this hormone. This may help prevent small changes in the cartilage that occur with wear and tear. Also, these estrogen receptors may influence inflammation, which may lead to pain.
In addition, estrogen may help your body process calcium. Calcium is a vitamin that helps build your bones and keep them strong. Therefore, estrogen may also play a role in keeping your bones and joints healthy by this means.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Have Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Also, estrogen has naturally anti-inflammatory effects. This can help reduce pain and swelling in your joints if you have arthritis. However, once we enter menopause, our natural estrogen levels drop significantly, which may take away much of the anti-inflammatory protection.
Estrogen replacement therapy can help raise estrogen levels in your body, which may also help fight inflammation. This, in turn, can help reduce swelling and pain from osteoarthritis. Therefore, this may explain why women on HRT report less frequent joint pain.
HRT May Help You Maintain a Healthy Weight
One of the most important risk factors for osteoarthritis is obesity. Many women gain weight during menopause and some attribute this in part to a lack of estrogen. Estrogen may play a role in how your body distributes fat. Women on HRT may have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight. This could be because of estrogen’s effects on body fat distribution.
Another potential reason why women on hormones for menopause may have an easier time keeping extra pounds off is because HRT can help reduce symptoms that make it difficult to follow a healthy lifestyle.
For example, many women experience sleep problems during menopause because of night sweats. Hormone replacement therapy can help reduce night sweats so you can get a better night’s sleep. When you’re well-rested, it’s often easier to exercise to keep your weight in a healthy range.
This is just one example of how HRT may indirectly affect your overall health in ways that may also help with arthritis. While research continues, these studies are an exciting development in the world of hormone replacement therapy.
Let’s Talk about How We can Help You Feel Your Best
Whether you’re interested in bioidentical hormones to help relieve menopause symptoms or want to discuss other symptoms, our team at HerKare is here for you. Our goal is to provide compassionate, personalized care for women. We offer advanced health care for women at all stages of life. Book an appointment today to learn how we can help you feel better.
Heart disease is one of the number one killers in the United States. Our women’s health care providers are here to help you stay healthy. That’s why we’re spreading the word about a subtle, but dangerous sign that you could have heart disease: fatigue.
Fatigue can stop you in your tracks and even signal serious problems like heart disease. Feeling abnormally tired? Talk to our women’s health care provider.
Many of us mistakenly believe that heart disease is mainly a concern for men. However, women are also at risk for this serious health condition.
Heart disease is responsible for 1 in every 5 female deaths
1 in 16 women 20 years old or older have coronary artery disease
Women often experience different symptoms of heart disease than men, which can make it hard to notice early warning signs. If you’re experiencing unexplained tiredness and fatigue, come to our women’s health clinicto help find the root of the problem.
Talk to our Women’s Health Care Provider if You Feel Unusually Tired
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, of course we sometimes feel tired! However, there are some signs that you shouldn’t ignore your fatigue. For example, if you’re suddenly and overwhelmingly tired without understanding why, this could be something more serious than needing a nap or an extra few hours of sleep.
Some other fatigue symptoms you shouldn’t ignore include:
You’re suddenly exhausted after doing your normal exercise routine
You feel tired or your chest feels heavy even if you’re not exerting yourself
Simple activities, like making your bed, wear you out
You feel extremely tired, but are still having a hard time sleeping
These symptoms can signal that something may not be quite right with your health. For example, extreme fatigue can be a symptom of vitamin deficiencies, anemia, and other health conditions. It can also be a sign of heart disease or an impending heart attack.
Unfortunately, many women ignore these signs to seek women’s health care. We might chalk them up to aging, a busy schedule, or stress. However, if you’re not feeling like yourself, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and get checked out.
Heart Attack and Unusual Tiredness
Sudden on-set of extreme fatigue or tiredness is one of the top heart attack symptoms for women. Along with chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and indigestion, abrupt and unexpected fatigue is another symptom that many women experience before they have a heart attack.
The American Heart Association conducted a study in 2003 to learn which symptoms women might have of a heart attack. They looked at 515 women who had had a heart attack and found that many noticed unexplained fatigue and trouble sleeping. Some of the women even experienced these symptoms up to one month before their heart attack. The researchers in the study suggested that these symptoms may serve as an early warning sign.
In the study, 70% of the women experienced unusual tiredness before their heart attack. Also, 48% noticed they had sleep disturbances beforehand. Only 30% of the participants reported feeling chest discomfort, the symptom that most of us think of when we hear “heart attack.” What’s even more interesting, most didn’t report chest pain, but rather chest discomfort like tightness, aching, or pressure. The researchers suggested that recognizing symptoms like unexplained tiredness and difficulties sleeping may help people seek women’s health care to potentially help prevent or delay a heart attack.
High Blood Pressure and Fatigue
High blood pressure can make your heart work harder and increase your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. either have high blood pressure or take medications to treat it. Your risk for high blood pressure increases with age.
Also, you can also feel extremely tired due to heart conditions that may be caused by high blood pressure. For example, high blood pressure can lead to coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, heart failure, and enlarged heart, all of which may cause fatigue.
When you come in for a health assessment from our women’s health care providers, we screen for many different conditions to help find underlying causes of your symptoms. We check your blood pressure and can help you find treatment solutions to reduce your blood pressure and the serious risks associated with it.
Chronic Fatigue & Heart Disease
If you’re chronically tired, this can be a sign of many other heart problems. Fatigue can be a sign of heart valve problems or heart failure. Also, studies have linked chronic fatigue with several heart problems. For example, many people who experience chronic fatigue also have left ventricular dysfunction. This is a heart condition where your left ventricle doesn’t pump blood properly. The left ventricle is the thickest heart chamber and is responsible for pumping blood full of oxygen to your organs. Congestive heart failure commonly follows left ventricular dysfunction. Therefore, it’s important to talk to our women’s health care provider if you’re feeling extra tired without an explanation.
Discuss your Heart Disease Risk Factors & What You Can do to Help Reduce your Risk for Heart Disease with our Women’s Health Care Team
When it comes to heart disease, women not only may experience different symptoms, but also different risk factors. For example, after menopause, your risk for heart disease increases, likely due to hormone changes. Some pregnancy complications can also be risk factors for heart disease, as well as conditions like endometriosis and polycystic ovary disease.
Some other things that may increase your risk for heart disease include:
Inflammatory diseases like:
Family history of heart disease
Our women’s health care professionals are here to help address your health as a whole. During your appointment, we’ll talk about your history and risk factors and help guide you on things you can do to lower your risk for heart disease. If you’re feeling excessively tired, we’ll help you find underlying causes of your symptom. Our providers listen and then help you with individualized treatment plans.
Compassionate, Understanding Women’s Health Care at HerKare
Our team at HerKare is here to help you feel great again. We put you in charge at our women’s health clinic. Our goal is to help you stay healthy and help improve your quality of life. Whether you need an annual exam or are coming in to talk about any symptoms or concerns you have about your health, we believe in providing compassionate women’s health care in a welcoming environment. We take time to listen and understand, and then help you feel better. Make an appointment today and let’s talk about your health and wellbeing!
Many herbal supplements are being marketed as alternatives to hormone therapy for menopause. Though they are often marketed with buzzwords like “effective,” “safe,” “natural,” or even “proven,” there’s little scientific evidence to back these claims.
Hormone therapy may help reduce menopause symptoms to help you feel great again!
Unfortunately, these supplement companies have tricked many into thinking that their products offer the same results as HRT. At the least, this means spending money on something that simply isn’t likely to help with your symptoms. What’s worse, you could be putting your health at risk by taking these herbs and supplements.
The North American Menopause Society advises doctors against recommending herbal therapies for menopause because they’re unlikely to be beneficial. However, that doesn’t stop some supplement companies from taking advantage. If you’re looking for menopause relief, it’s important to talk to our provider about all your options, including hormone therapy and lifestyle changes. We will discuss the pros and cons of each treatment option to help you make the right decision for you.
Hormone Therapy vs. Herbal Therapies: What the Evidence Says
The most effective way to help relieve hot flashes is estrogen hormone therapy. HRT has been around for years to help relieve menopause symptoms like hot flashes and may also help with other symptoms like mood changes and vaginal dryness. There are a lot of studies and medical research on hormone therapy for women with menopause, and it’s approved by the FDA.
Now, you may have heard from a friend, family member, or co-worker that herbs and supplements have helped them with menopause symptoms. However, some experts argue that much of this anecdotal evidence may come down to the placebo effect.
The placebo effect is where people notice positive results from a treatment due to their belief in the treatment. That’s why most studies on new therapies and drugs include a group that takes the medication and one group that takes a placebo, such as sugar pills. This helps researchers determine if the treatment does offer positive effects that aren’t the placebo effect.
Potential Dangers of Herbs and Supplements
What’s important to remember is that even if something is all-natural, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Poison ivy, for example, is completely natural, but you likely still avoid it. Many of the supplements advertised as menopause treatments can have serious, sometimes even life-threatening side effects. They may even interact with other medications you’re taking.
Black cohosh is one of the more popular herbs marketed as an alternative to hormone therapy. However, no studies have shown clear evidence to support these claims. Instead, research has shown that there’s little difference between this herb and a placebo.
Two studies, conducted in 2006 and 2009 even reported that some women had worse symptoms while taking black cohosh. In the 2006 study, women in the black cohosh group who also ate soy foods had worse symptom intensity. The other study from 2009 noticed that the women’s menopause symptoms were worse in intensity at six and nine months while taking black cohosh. Therefore, there’s a potential that black cohosh could make your menopause symptoms worse.
Also, there have been cases that linked black cohosh supplements with liver damage. Other side effects include upset stomach, headache, rash, vaginal spotting, and even weight gain.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil (EPO) is in several different dietary supplements marketed for a variety of health conditions from rheumatoid arthritis to PMS. This is also touted as a remedy for menopause symptoms like hot flashes. However, scientific studies have found no differences between EPO and placebo for menopause symptoms.
Also, it has a list of potential side effects that may be concerning, including:
Blood clotting problems
Immune system issues
Low blood sugar
EPO supplements may also interact with medications like blood thinners, blood pressure medications, antipsychotic medications, and antidepressants.
St. John’s Wort
Purported to help symptoms like depression, mood swings, and insomnia, St. John’s Wort is another herb that some say can help with menopause. Once again, studies show mixed results and no clear evidence that it’s effective.
This herb can cause some serious side effects. For example, sensitivity to sunlight, gastrointestinal symptoms, headaches, decreased libido, anxiety, and dry mouth are all listed as potential side effects.
Also, St. John’s Wort may also weaken many different medications, such as cancer medications, heart medications, blood thinners, antidepressants, birth control, and HIV drugs. Therefore, it’s vital to talk to our doctor about these potential interactions.
The Problem with Supplements and “Natural” Remedies: No FDA-Approval
So, why are these supplements and herbs often marketed as treatment for menopause? The main reason is that supplements aren’t monitored by the FDA. That means that the FDA doesn’t review the evidence of supplements for how effective they are or even how safe they are.
Because supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. Therefore, the FDA doesn’t test them to see if they even contain the ingredients they claim to include. That means that some supplements may not even contain the herbs in the name of the product.
Also, different batches of these products may even vary widely in dose or amount of ingredient. Quality control and consistency can vary between brands, which can make it difficult to know exactly how much of an herb you’re taking.
By contrast, hormone therapy is FDA-approved, meaning the FDA has evaluated it for safety and efficacy. The FDA also regulates quality control to help with dosage consistency in different batches.
Bioidentical hormone therapy is a type of HRT that comes from plant sources. They are molecularly identical to human hormones, which means your body can’t tell the difference between bioidentical hormone therapy and the hormones your body naturally produces. Our providers use this natural hormone therapy to help with symptoms of menopause.
Menopause Care & Hormone Therapy at HerKare
At HerKare, we’re dedicated to providing advanced, compassionate health care. We believe in empowering you by trusting your understanding of your own body. Our team is here to help by providing you with personalized treatments to help you feel your best. Book an appointment today to talk about your symptoms. We’ll work with you to design an individualized treatment plan to help you feel like yourself again.
Most of us know that getting a yearly checkup is important, but do you know which preventative women’s healthcare services you need each year? Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion around what your annual appointment should include. When you request a women’s annual exam, some physicians only conduct a gynecological exam and a breast exam. However, this may not address your health as a whole.
Women’s healthcare means looking at your health as a whole. Make sure your annual exams address every aspect of your wellbeing.
Instead, make sure you receive a comprehensive women’s wellness exam. These look at many different systems in your body. These appointments can help with preventative care and early detection of serious conditions. This is even more important as we age and our risk for serious health conditions goes up.
Preventative Women’s Healthcare Visits: Are you Getting the Services You Need Each Year?
Generally speaking, each year you should schedule an appointment to talk about your physical, sexual, reproductive, and mental health. Addressing each of these elements of your wellbeing can help you stay happy and healthy. However, in some clinics this means making multiple appointments and seeing different doctors. Many women each year receive medical exams that only address their sexual and reproductive health.
This often comes down to a misunderstanding of which women’s healthcare services are included in the type of appointment. For example, do you know the difference between a well woman exam and a women’s wellness exam? They may sound like the same thing, but many doctors provide different services for each.
Instead of dividing screenings up between different appointments and doctors, our providers offer total women’s healthcare solutions. This means we look at your health as a whole and can help you address many different aspects of your wellbeing to help you feel your best. We can combine all the services you need for a comprehensive checkup into one appointment to help make things easy for you.
What is a Well Woman Exam?
As we’ve mentioned, there’s a lot of confusion around what different terms mean for women’s healthcare. However, most people call their annual gynecological exam a well woman exam. These appointments are designed to mainly address your sexual and reproductive health. During a well woman exam, you might receive a pelvic exam, a Pap test, and a breast exam. You might also talk about family planning or your risk for sexually transmitted infections.
A pelvic exam assesses whether your uterus, cervix, ovaries, and bladder are healthy. This includes a visual and a manual checkup to look for anything that might indicate that something might be wrong. Many physicians recommend getting a pelvic exam once per year, but you may need more or less frequent exams depending on your specific circumstances and risk factors.
Pap tests are a screening tool for cervical cancer and are often done at the same time as the pelvic exam. This test involves swabbing the cervix and then looking the cervical cells for abnormalities. In the past, women were recommended to get a Pap test every year between ages 21 and 65. However, these guidelines have changed, which may lead to some confusion over when you need a Pap test. Current recommendations are to receive a Pap test every three years so long as your past tests have been negative. Depending on your risk factors, our provider may recommend more frequent tests.
Breast exams are another part of a well woman exam and are an important part of preventative women’s healthcare. These exams can help with early detection of many things, including breast cancer. From ages 20 to 40, the recommendation for women at an average risk for breast cancer is to receive a breast exam from their physician every one to three years. After 40, the recommendation is to receive a mammogram every year.
A mammogram is an x-ray for your breasts. Physicians use these x-ray pictures to look for changes to your breast tissue or other signs that could be cancer. Before 40, your breasts tend to be denser, which can make it difficult to detect the signs of cancer on a mammogram. That is why the recommendation switches from routine breast exams to mammograms as we get older.
What is a Women’s Wellness Exam?
A well woman exam is an important part of taking care of your health, but it’s not the whole story. A women’s wellness exam helps address your health as a whole and screen for conditions that aren’t necessarily part of your reproductive system.
A women’s wellness exam may include a well woman exam, but also looks at your overall health. At many other clinics, these are the appointments where you talk about your lifestyle and discuss your risks for conditions like high blood pressure.
Our women’s healthcare providers provide comprehensive women’s wellness exams to take a broader look at your health. Yearly checkups with our team include exams and screenings for your physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health. We may conduct a physical exam, a gynecological exam, a blood test. We’ll also discuss options for staying healthy and any concerns you have about your health.
At your annual women’s wellness exam, our team screens for many different health conditions that may affect you, some of which may not cause any symptoms. For example, depending on your age and risk factors, we might screen for:
High blood pressure
Sexually transmitted infections
Our team personalizes these screenings based on health recommendations and your individual risk factors. Also, we’ll talk to you about your lifestyle and help you determine if there are any changes you can make to help reduce your risk for certain preventable health conditions.
Women’s Healthcare Services and Screenings Should Change as You Age
Another important thing to know is that your annual exams and screenings will change as you age. As we get older, our health risks can change. Therefore, your yearly women’s healthcare exams should change, too.
We’ve already mentioned that you may need to switch to mammograms after a certain age, but that’s not the only change. Your exams may look different at each stage of your life. For example, your risk for osteoporosis goes up after menopause. Therefore, we may recommend including a bone density scan as part of your yearly checkup appointment once you reach menopause. Our women’s healthcare team personalizes your exam to you, which means it should change as your lifestyle and health risks do.
Find the Right Women’s Healthcare Physicians for You
In most cases, women should receive both a well woman exam and a women’s wellness exam every year. This can help you with early detection for preventable diseases and conditions. Only receiving a gynecological exam each year will likely not help detect things like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Our women’s healthcare providers provide comprehensive annual women’s wellness exams to help you stay healthy. We provide both well woman and wellness services to help address your whole health.
At HerKare, our goal is to help you feel your best. Our team provides comprehensive, compassionate care for women at every stage of life. We are a clinic owned and operated by women for women. We listen and we understand your needs. Book an appointment with our team today. We are here for you.
In the midst of flu season, the COVID-19 pandemic, and winter, where respiratory illnesses like colds can run rampant, many of us are wondering how to help our immune systems fight off viruses and other bugs that can make us sick. Studies suggest that estrogen replacement therapy may help improve your immune system after menopause.
Estrogen replacement therapy may help your immune system during menopause.
Several studies show thathormone imbalance treatment may help keep your immune system in good shape if you have low estrogen levels. Therefore, if you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, now may be the time to address them with our provider. We conduct a full blood panel to determine if your hormone levels are low and offer personalized care to help you take care of your health.
Your Immune System After Menopause
During our pre-menopausal years, the female immune system is generally stronger and more reactive compared to the male immune system. Many researchers believe this is due, in part, to higher levels of estrogen in our bodies. Studies suggest that estrogen may have an enhancing effect on immune response and our immune systems. Pre-menopausal women are less likely, on average, to experience infections like the flu or colds compared to after menopause. Also, post-menopausal women are more likely to experience more severe infections that may become life-threatening.
Both aging and low estrogen levels may have a negative affect on your immune system, potentially weakening it. After menopause, estrogen levels for most women are about 90% lower than they are before menopause. Therefore, during this stage in our lives, we experience a change in our immune system that may make us more vulnerable to infections. This is a concern at any time, but especially during the winter season where colds, influenza, and other illnesses are more common, as well as during the current pandemic. However, research suggests that hormone replacementmay help regulate some of these immune changes.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Help Improve Immune Response
Estrogens may enhance many different elements of the immune system. For example, estrogens may help stimulate an inflammatory response in your body. This inflammatory response helps you fight off infections if you come into contact with bacteria, viruses, and other germs that can make you sick.
After a hysterectomy, women experience many of the same symptoms as menopause, because they produce lower estrogen levels. Research suggests that estrogen replacement therapy may help reverse some of the immune system changes that happen after a hysterectomy. This suggests that menopausal women may benefit from a stronger immune system when taking estrogen. Other studies have found that hormone therapy was associated with an improved systemic immune response for post-menopausal women. Therefore, estrogen replacement therapy may not only help alleviate uncomfortable menopause symptoms, it may also help your body’s immune system fight infections.
Estrogen & the Flu
There are several medical studies concerning how estrogen affects the immune system. Many of these studies involve the use of estrogen replacement therapy. For example, several studies show that estrogen replacement therapy may help improve menopausal women’s immune response to the influenza vaccine. In one recent study, women who received hormone replacement for menopause symptoms had better antibody responses to flu vaccines compared to those who didn’t take hormones. That study also saw a direct correlation between estrogen levels in the HRT group and the number of vaccine-specific antibodies in the blood.
Another study around estrogen replacement therapy and the flu is that estrogen may help reduce the amount of flu virus that can replicate in your body. When a virus infects one of your cells, it starts replicating itself. These replicated viruses then go on to attack more and more of your cells. The more the virus replicates itself, the more severe an infection can be. The researchers in the study suggested that this may be an added benefit of using hormone imbalance treatment for menopause symptoms.
Why Might Estrogen Play a Role in the Immune System?
Many medical studies look at the effects of declining estrogen levels during menopause on the immune system. Research has found that certain types of white blood cells decline after menopause. Post-menopausal women also generally have higher levels of cytokines, which can cause chronic inflammation. Also, studies have found that immune cell function are also reduced after menopause. Low estrogen levels are also associated with fewer B and T cells. However, estrogen replacement therapy may help reverse some of these effects on the immune system. One reason may be because of hormone receptors in immune cells. This may allow estrogen to help control immune response.
Also, estrogen levels may have an indirect influence on your immune system. Low estrogen levels during menopause may lead to some uncomfortable changes in your life that can affect your immune system. For example, many women experience insomnia during and after menopause. Lack of sleep can take a toll on your immune system and overall health. Another common symptom of menopause is anxiety, which may also affect your immune system the same way high stress levels might. Therefore, other changes during menopause could lead to a weaker immune system. Estrogen replacement therapy may help relieve these symptoms to help you feel your best and live a healthier, more comfortable lifestyle.
Let’s Talk about Estrogen Replacement Therapy for Menopause Symptoms
At HerKare, we are here to help you address your unique health needs at every stage of life. We provide comprehensive healthcare for women in a warm, welcoming environment. Our clinic is owned and operated by women who understand and take time to help you find underlying causes of your symptoms. Whether you’re experiencing uncomfortable menopause symptoms or are looking for preventative well woman care, our providers are here for you. We provide personalized treatment plans based on your lifestyle to help you feel better. Learn more about your health and how we can help you start feeling your best by booking an appointmenttoday! Our team at HerKare is here for you.