Menopause Treatment

April 21st, 2011

Menopause treatment is not intended to cure menopause itself- menopause is a natural stage of life that is inevitably going to affect females, generally, once she hits 45 to 50 years old. Although, that is not a restricted age range, some women may begin to notice certain menopausal signs and signals as early as 30 years old. The targets are the menopause-related symptoms that blatantly and obnoxiously accompany menopause.

Menopause symptoms are the salt in the wound, the kick to the face when you’re down, the ‘clogging the toilet at someone else’s house’ type thing. Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do. In an attempt to think optimistically, wounds heal; you probably don’t get kicked in the face too often; bathrooms have a plunger; and, with patience and persistence, many menopause symptoms can be controlled, often with a simple treatment.

Menopause wouldn’t be so dreaded and exhausting if there were no prominent symptoms to battle. Menopause treatment is focused on stopping or lessening the impact of symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, irregular menstrual periods, and weight gain.

Menopause treatment includes:

  • Hormone therapy – Pellets, patches, gel, cream and pills are effective in replenishing specific depleted hormones in the body.
  • Antidepressants – low dose i.e. Fluoxetine, Prozac, Venlafaxine, and Zoloft.
  • Neurontin – Used to treat seizures, but has been found to significantly reduce hot   flashes.
  • Bisphosphonates – Given to treat and/or prevent osteoporosis. These medications effectively reduce both bone loss and the risk of fractures.
  • Vaginal estrogen. – Vaginal tablets, rings or creams are used to release estrogen in order to relieve vaginal dryness. These methods cause a release of a small amount of estrogen, which is then absorbed by the vaginal tissue. Discomfort with intercourse and some urinary symptoms will start to deplete once vaginal dryness is cured. Consider the use of lubricants. Remaining sexually active helps your overall health as well.

Along with all the patches, the pills, the tablets, the pellets, the gels, the creams, more pills, the rings and the creams and other sketchy thing you have to put up your vagina, there is a much simpler way to go about treatment. Changing your lifestyle, preferably before you have to, can make a huge difference on the amount and severity of symptoms you get. Some simple examples:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, smoking and spicy foods.
  • Dress lightly and in layers – aim for cotton. It lets the skin breathe.
  • Eat soy foods.
  • Take in calcium and vitamin D in food and/or supplements.
  • Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!
  • Perform Kegel exercises daily to strengthen the muscles of your vagina and pelvis. They weaken during menopause, which causes incontinence and leaking. Can even happen from a cough, sneeze, or laugh.
  • Practice slow, deep breathing
  • Remain sexually active
  • Yoga (also adds to the benefits)
  • Try relaxation techniques  - meditation etc.
  • Use water-based lubricants during sexual intercourse

Menopause treatment is a woman’s best friends. But of course, diamonds are a close second. If you haven’t begun the transition into menopause yet then you should down the diamonds and make use of the functioning, healthy privileged body because before you know it you’re going to be old and brittle, regretting all the things you didn’t do. Menopause is hard on many women, it is a sign that their youth is gone and their body is “not what it used to be”.

Hysterectomy and Menopause

March 5th, 2012

Background on Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure for the removal of uterus due to one or more factors necessitating the elimination of uterus from the woman’s body. Depending on the complications, along with uterus, the surgeon may also remove the fallopian tubes and one or both the ovaries during hysterectomy.

A woman is required to undergo hysterectomy for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Gynecologic Cancer, i.e., cancer affecting reproductive organs of the woman.

2. Fibroids, i.e., non-cancerous growth (a.k.a. benign tumors) in the uterus that can cause symptoms, like pelvic pain, bleeding, pressure in the bladder, and anemia.

3. Endometriosis, i.e., over-expansion of uterine tissue lining on to the ovaries.

4. Uterine Prolapse, i.e., dismounting of uterus into the vagina that can cause symptoms, like urinary or fecal incontinence.

5. Other causes, like chronic pelvic pain and persistent vaginal bleeding.

Hysterectomy Types

Typically, hysterectomy is of three types:

  • Total Hysterectomy: This type of hysterectomy involves complete removal of uterus and the cervix. However, the doctor may or may not recommend the removal of fallopian tubes and ovaries.
  • Sub-total Hysterectomy: This type of hysterectomy involves the removal of just the upper portion of uterus. The cervix is spared in sub-total hysterectomy. As in total hysterectomy, the doctor may or may not recommend the removal of fallopian tubes and ovaries.
  • Radical Hysterectomy: This type of hysterectomy involves complete removal of uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries. The surgeon may assess if the condition of the woman demands removal of other organs also. This extreme kind of hysterectomy is performed on Gynecologic Cancer patients, who require removal of these organs in order to prevent spread of cancer.

The procedure

The procedure itself can be performed either through vaginal route or lower abdominal route. The vaginal hysterectomy is the preferred option simply because the surgeon requires lesser incisions than the abdominal hysterectomy. It may take about a couple of hours for the surgeon to complete hysterectomy procedure. The patient may experience pain, discomfort and general weakness for a few weeks, but the doctors usually prescribe medication, heat pad, well-balanced diet and less physical activity for a couple of months. Read the rest of this entry »

Change in Body Odor During Menopause

January 30th, 2012

Body Odor and Menopause

Apart from the usual symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and night sweats, some women undergoing this phase of life also have to encounter body odor. Whenever they sweat, bad smell from the body can embarrass them no end. Why does it happen?

The problem does not lie in perspiration (rather, perspiration is a sign of good health). The issue is with the body odor that can be repulsive for the people in the vicinity.

The problem magnifies in women with menopause who are already experiencing its symptoms that increase the body temperature resulting in excess sweating. Almost all menopausal symptoms tend to make the women tense, and sweat naturally. For instance, night sweats are caused by declining estrogen levels and can awaken the women with heavy sweating.

Hot flashes result in rise in the body temperature leading to excess sweat. Other menopausal symptoms, like depression, panic, anxiety, vaginal dryness, etc. all result in body odor due to the accompanied heavy sweating.

What is Body Odor?

Body Odor (medically, known as Bromhidrosis or BO) can be termed as the smell emanated from the body when it perspires. The sweat itself is odorless. However, when it comes in contact with the bacteria on the body, the sweat breaks down into acids that give out unpleasant smell.

Causes of Body Odor

Body odor is the result of multiple causes. These are discussed in the ensuing paragraphs:

Sweat Glands:

The Eccrine glands and the Apocrine glands are two sweat glands on the skin. While the former can be found throughout the skin, the latter are usually found where the hair follicles are present. The procedure of sweating starts with the rise in body temperature, which is a signal for the nervous system to get active and instruction is passed to the Eccrine glands to produce and release odorless sweat on the skin.

However, the Apocrine glands, which release fatty sweat containing pheromones, get activated only in case of emotional stress, anxiety, exercise and sexual activity. The hairy areas of the body, like armpits, groin, and scalp, which are carrying fatty sweat released by Apocrine glands, also have accumulation of bacteria and other microorganisms. The combination of odorless or fatty sweat and bacteria results in the production of acids having unpleasant odor.

Hormonal Disruption:

Women undergoing menopause experience drastic loss of estrogen – the female hormone. The drop in estrogen levels impacts the hypothalamus area in the brain, which is responsible for regulating body temperature. Due to the quick changes in the body brought about by menopause, Hypothalamus senses the heat and signals for release of excess sweat, which again reacts with the bacteria on the skin to release bad smell.

Miscellaneous Causes:

Body odor can also be caused by non-hormonal factors, like stress, diseases accompanying fever, some food products (garlic, onion, caffeine, etc.), extra warm clothing, and lack of essential vitamins in the body.

Treatment for Changes in Body Odor

Fortunately, the ill-effects of body odor can be effectively controlled. Here are some treatment options that will help you fight body odor:

  • Certain lifestyle changes can help. For instance, bathe regularly and if possible, bathe twice a day. Similarly, using anti-bacterial and deodorant soap during bath can kill the bacteria that cause body odor. Wearing loose cotton clothing help absorb sweat better than synthetic material. You can also try out antiperspirants, deodorants and talcum powder to stop the smell from spreading.
  • Make your diet rich in leafy vegetables. Chlorophyll and phyto-nutrients in the green vegetables act as natural deodorant. Avoid fried and spicy food while the effects of menopause are troubling you. Avoid smoking as far as possible.
  • Dietary supplements can be explored under the guidance and supervision of the doctor.

Foods With Estrogen

January 11th, 2012

What are Foods With Estrogen?

Estrogen is not just produced in a woman’s body, but also contained in several food items. The ‘foods with estrogen’ refer to different fruits, vegetables and other eatables that naturally contain estrogen. Estrogen is commonly known as female sex hormone, which is produced in the ovaries and is largely responsible for the sexual traits among women. As they age, the levels of estrogen produced in the women’s body starts shrinking. In order to make up for the lost estrogen, the doctors sometimes prescribe diet full of foods comprising estrogen as one of their major ingredients.

Estrogen Rich Foods

There are lots of food sources that contain estrogen. Before listing out the food products, it is important to understand the term ‘phytoestrogens’. This term refers to the estrogen derived from plant and animal sources that form part of the human diet. Phytoestrogens can be sub-classified into isoflavones, lignans and coumestans. All these categories of phytoestrogens contain estrogen in different measures.

Here is a partial list of food items containing estrogen:

  • Soy milk
  • Beets
  • Soy protein powder
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Alfalfa
  • Animal flesh
  • Apples
  • Baker’s yeast
  • Barley
  • Carrots
  • Cherries
  • Chickpeas
  • Cowpeas
  • Cucumbers
  • Dairy Foods
  • Dates
  • Eggs
  • Eggplant
  • Flaxseeds
  • Garlic
  • Oats
  • Olive oil
  • Papaya
  • Peas
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Red beans
  • Rhubarb
  • Rice
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat

Anti  Estrogen Foods

Any discussion on foods with estrogen is incomplete without listing out the foods that inhibit estrogen. These include:

 

-        Berries

-        Broccoli

-        Buckwheat

-        Cabbage

-        Citrus Foods

-        Corn

-        Figs

-        Grapes

-        Green beans

-        Melons

-        Millet

-        Onions

-        Pears

-        Pineapples

-        Squashes

-        Tapioca

-        White rice

-        White flour

Benefits of Estrogen in Food for Menopausal Women

Women experiencing menopause are undergoing depletion of estrogen. They require supplemental estrogen from the external sources. Foods rich in estrogen are ideal for menopausal women who are recommended estrogen supplements by their doctor.

Most of these food products fall in low calorie category. So, women on a restricted diet can also enjoy their soy delicacies without any weight worries.

Risks of Estrogen Rich Foods

Although estrogen rich foods are beneficial for menopausal women, yet some food like soy should be consumed in moderation, as few studies have concluded that consuming just two servings of a soy-based protein powder, which provides 45mg of soy a day, could actually accelerate cell growth in women’s breast tissues. Some other medical conditions, like PMS, fibroid and ovarian cysts may also be aggravated by additional estrogen in the diet.

Considering the risks involved in including excessive foods containing estrogen in your diet, it is advisable to consult your doctor, who may prescribe certain clinical test in order to determine what kinds of estrogens you require and the relative foods that may be added in your diet.

Estrogen Dominance – Symptoms, Treatment, Diet

December 12th, 2011

What is Estrogen Dominance?

Coined by Dr. Lee in his first book discussing natural progesterone, Estrogen Dominance is described as a hormonal imbalance condition among women where the estrogen is either deficient, normal or excessive, but the lack of (or absence of) progesterone makes the balancing of the effects of estrogen difficult.

Estrogen Dominance Symptoms

1. Accelerated signs of aging, resulting in premature graying of hair, loose skin, menstruation and other age-related symptoms.

2. Frequent allergic reactions, like asthma attacks, skin rashes, sinus congestion, etc.

3. Autoimmune disorders, like Lupus Erythematosis, Thyroiditis and Sjoegren’s disease.

4. Breast-related diseases, like cancer, fibrocystic breasts and tender tissues.

5. Excessive and unexplained fat accumulation around abdomen, thighs and hips area.
6. Sex-related disorders, like reduced sex drive, infertility, cervical dysplasia, uterine fibroids and cancer.

7. Ortho-related problems, like osteoporosis.

8. Other common symptoms, like headaches, general fatigue, memory loss, mood swings, hair loss, dry eyes, insomnia, irritability, and sluggish metabolism.

Causes of Estrogen Dominance

The causes of Estrogen Dominance can be understood under three heads:

1. Pre-Menopausal Women: Among pre-menopausal women, the prominent causes of Estrogen Dominance are lack of ovulation (anovulation) and insufficiency of luteum (i.e., high estrogen-low progesterone condition).

2. Menopausal Women: The primary cause of Estrogen Dominance among menopausal women is the unopposed estrogen (e.g., Premarin) intake as part of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), despite its obvious health risks. Obesity can also cause Estrogen Dominance among menopausal women, as a result of interaction of fat cells with androstenedione (a male hormone produced by ovaries).

3. Miscellaneous Causes: Environmental pollution through excessive use of pesticides, industrial wastes, plastics, meat, car exhaust, carpeting, furniture (using petrochemical compounds), liver disease, deficiency of magnesium and Vitamin B6, and excess intake of coffee.

Treatment of Estrogen Dominance

1. Administration of Natural progesterone.

2. Dietary restrictions, including use of low-fat, high-fiber, natural, unprocessed diet, and preferably vegetarian lifestyle.

3. Limit coffee intake as far as possible (no more than 1 cup a day).

4. Avoid smoking, alcohol and refined sugar.

5. Maintain ideal weight by losing excess flab through dietary restrictions and physical exercise. The thumb rule for women is:

Ideal Weight = 100 pounds + 5 pounds for every inch above 5 feet

6. Regular exercise, including flexibility, cardiovascular, and strength training exercises for at least 30-45 minutes daily.

7. Nutritional and other supplements prescribed by your doctor.

8. As far as possible, avoid exposure to environmental estrogen (i.e., xenoestrogen).

9. Eliminate stress by practicing meditation and yoga.