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How to Ease Menopause Symptoms

Monday 9 March 2020
Estrogen

Table of Contents


I. How to reduce the symptoms of menopause

II. Early-onset menopause

III. Hormone therapy

a. Systemic hormone therapy

b. Low-dose vaginal products

IV. Antidepressants

a. Four different types

b. Benefits

c. Side effects

d. Serotonin syndrome

V. Natural remedies

a. Diet

b. Exercise

c. Supplements


How to reduce the symptoms of menopause

Menopause can be a confusing and challenging time for women. Menopause usually occurs after the age of 40 and comes with many changes in the body. The aging of the ovaries causes an unregulated amount of estrogen to enter the system, which then causes menopause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and bone loss.

Women sometimes feel that their body is turning against them during this volatile time of life; so many treatments have been developed to ease these symptoms. Many menopausal women experience low estrogen levels, which leads to a more significant effect on their whole body. Estrogen stems from the ovaries, so its impact on the sex organs is most prevalent. Lowered estrogen also affects the liver, heart, and bones. [1]

Early-onset menopause

Menopause usually occurs in middle age, but some younger women may also experience it. The severity of menopause symptoms may be worse for those who experience early onset. A woman is more likely to experience early-onset menopause due to some of these causes:

Genetics: Your age at the beginning of menopause is most likely inherited. You might want to ask your mother or grandmother if they also experienced menopause earlier than usual.

Chromosome defects: Chromosome conditions like Turner Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome can cause the ovaries to malfunction, leading to early menopause.

Autoimmune diseases: Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid diseases mistake parts of the body for harmful invaders. This condition can cause inflammation, which can transfer to the ovaries.

Epilepsy: This seizure disorder comes with many side effects, premature ovarian failure being one of them. If the ovaries fail, hormones cannot circulate the bloodstream, and early menopause occurs.

Lifestyle factors: Smoking is known to have anti-estrogen effects, which can contribute to early menopause. Body mass index (BMI) is also a factor because the body stores estrogen in fat tissue. So very thin women may have less estrogen, putting them at a higher risk. [2]

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy is a standard treatment used to regulate the hormones in the body during menopause. When the ovaries stop producing estrogen, the body can be thrown into a hormone imbalance, which can lead to symptoms like vaginal discomfort and hot flashes. A woman’s estrogen level is dependent on several factors, so a doctor will prescribe the right type of hormone therapy for you. There are several types of hormone therapies, but the most common type for menopausal women is listed below.

a. Systemic hormone therapy

This type of estrogen comes in several forms, such as patch, gel, cream, or spray. Premarin is a frequently used estrogen replacement pill that helps with menopausal symptoms. Premarin is made up of conjugated hormones to help replace depleted estrogens. Estrogen is not just one specific hormone but refers to a group of chemically similar hormones, including estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Before menopause, a women’s ovarian follicles secrete anywhere from 70 to 500 mcg of estradiol a day. Drugs like Premarin help keep that balance in a healthy range. [3]

b. Low-dose vaginal products

The once-daily pill of Premarin is the most common, but there is also a Premarin Cream that can be applied topically. These products can also come in tablets or ring forms. Some women prefer this type of treatment because it keeps the hormones in the region of the female sex organs, so the medicine does not have to circulate through the whole bloodstream as it does in pill form.[4]

Antidepressants

Antidepressants can work well as a treatment to treat vasomotor (blood vessels) symptoms of menopause. A 2014 study shows that nearly 80% of menopausal women experience blood vessel changes like hot flashes, skin flushing, and night sweats. Antidepressants help with these symptoms, but if your menopause is more complicated and requires more attention, alternative treatments like hormone therapy may also be used.

a. Four different types

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): This antidepressant increases norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. Norepinephrine is the stress hormone that is released into the bloodstream when a stressful event is occurring.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): This type increases serotonin in the brain and is the most commonly prescribed by doctors because of its few side effects.

Tricyclic antidepressants: This type is usually prescribed if other drugs failed to work. Tricyclic antidepressants keep norepinephrine and serotonin more available in the brain.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): Serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine fall under the umbrella of monoamines (a type of neurotransmitter). MAOIs work by blocking the enzyme oxidase, which inhibits serotonin.

b. Benefits

SSRIs and SNRIs have these positive effects because neurotransmitters help stabilize the body’s temperature. Many studies show that the use of SSRIs or SNRIs reduces vasomotor symptoms. SNRI drugs like Effexor (Venlafaxine) have been shown to have similar results to hormone therapies in terms of treating menopause symptoms. A 2015 clinical trial found that low doses of SNRIs like Paxil (Paroxetine) can improve sleep quality in menopausal women.

c. Side effects

All of these drugs have specific side effects, but SSRIs have the fewest. Antidepressants may interact with other medications, so your doctor will help choose the right one for you. Tricyclic depressants have their own range of symptoms, which can include blurred vision, constipation, and drowsiness. There are a few common side effects among the other different types of antidepressants:

  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Sexual Problems

d. Serotonin syndrome

This rare condition occurs when the serotonin levels in the body become too high. Some antidepressants, mostly MAOIs and drugs like ecstasy, can cause this condition. Side effects such as confusion, seizures, sweating, muscle rigidity, or rapid heartbeat can indicate Serotonin syndrome. This syndrome is usually mild but can become lethal if your serotonin remains too high. [5]

Natural ways

Many women turn to natural remedies for relief. Natural remedies cannot wholly regulate intricate bodily processes like estrogen, but the implementation of some natural remedies can help with the overall effect of menopausal symptoms.

a. Diet

What you ingest every day has a massive impact on how your body deals with significant changes like menopause. A healthy, balanced diet of fruits and vegetables can reduce some symptoms as well as prevent more severe conditions like heart disease. The risk for heart disease goes up after menopause due to increased age, reduced estrogen levels, as well as the likelihood of weight gain. This type of diet has also been known to reduce your risk of osteoporosis. (If you want to learn more about menopause and osteoporosis, please visit...link to osteoporosis article here)

It is also essential to avoid foods that may trigger symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats. Spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, and processed foods are some of these triggering goods. Foods rich in phytoestrogens may also help in balancing estrogen levels. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Tofu, tempeh, soybeans, sesame seeds, and beans are high in phytoestrogens. It is thought that menopausal women in Asian countries experience less hot flashes because of their high intake of phytoestrogens.

Drinking plenty of water can help reduce bloating, which often accompanies hormonal changes. Consuming a lot of water can help prevent weight gain by helping you feel fuller at mealtimes.

b. Exercise

Exercise is always an essential part of any high-functioning body. Regular exercise improves energy, metabolism, healthy joints, and bones. Frequent exercise helps decrease stress and improves sleep. Exercise is also good for mental health and helps with anxiety, low mood, and fatigue.

c. Supplements

There is not much scientific evidence to prove the use of natural supplements, but a lot of women find natural supplements useful in easing their symptoms. As described earlier, phytoestrogens may help with symptoms. Black cohosh is an herb that became a popular treatment for women’s health issues in Europe in the 1950s. This “herbal estrogen” is not a replacement for estrogen but can act in similar ways to estrogen when used on some people.

Probiotics are also commonly used microorganisms that may provide health benefits when consumed. They help with the digestive system and contain “good” bacteria, which is said to keep your gut healthy.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.