Estrogen dominance and balance

Hormones are chemicals manufactured by your body organs and cells. Raging hormones excite children and teens through the adventures to young adults. Declining hormones are found among those over 50, with a few at 35. Estrogen dominance becomes an issue when ovulating stops. At that point, progesterone – an associative hormone – level drops. There are numerous emotional and physical consequences with hormonal balance. It is not just women, hormone balance also affects men. Aging people can still have wonderful living opportunities. How do you keep hormones balanced?

There is life. There is living. Life is a solid state of being, like a cell. Living is a complex network of interactions that require sophistication and control. Among the many are a group of bio-tropic chemicals produced by glands that naturally occur and are essentials parts within our bodies. A dysfunction of one or more glands (by inheritance, environment, lifestyle, development) poses threats to delicate balances that living requires. Estrogen is a human hormone that exists in women and in men. Estrogen dominance, as part of aging, is a developing process that has taken scientists and people’s attention as the population life expectancy gets longer. Some of those new conditions that seem to crop-up after age 50 may actually be dependent in the levels of hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and several others.

There are many hormones throughout the body that act as regulators to maintain balance. Certain key hormones are monitored in blood tests taken at a routine medical exam. Each has a normal range, plus high or low. Beyond normal, a form of dominance shows up defining special conditions. Under variances, two specific hormones – estrogen and progesterone – change levels dramatically as women age. This process was recently identified with aging men. Neurotransmitters, endorphins, epinephrines, are also among hormones that vary with age. Estrogen dominance, excessive estrogen hormone, may lie as a key to many complaints through our aging bodies.

There are about 50 known hormones in your body as part of network that stimulate and inhibit hormone production.

In many senses, living makes use of a vast array of chemicals that may help make living possible – living better or worse. The next few pages list these hormones, although our discussion focuses on estrogen dominance and associations with aging:

Melatonin – Think of melatonin as your biological clock. This hormone is responsible for the way you feel throughout the day as far as alertness is concerned. All those drowsy feelings? Blame the melatonin.

Serotonin – This is the one you can blame for PMS and your moody teenager. Serotonin controls your mood, appetite, and your sleep cycles.

Thyroxin – A form of thyroid hormone, thyroxin increases the rate of your metabolism and also affects protein synthesis, which is the process that cells go through to build protein.

Epinephrine – This is one that you have most likely heard of; it’s also called adrenaline. Among a whole list of other things, epinephrine is responsible for what is known as the, “fight or flight” response. This is the hormone that tells you when to fight and when it’s best to run. Some of the bodily responses demonstrated when this hormone kicks in are dilated pupils, increased heart rate, and tensing of the muscles.

Norepinephrine – Also called noradrenaline, this hormone controls the heart and blood pressure. Norepinephrine also contributes to the control of sleep, arousal, and emotions. Obvious effects take place when there is too much or too little of this hormone. Too much gives you an anxious feeling while too little can leave you feeling depressed or sedated.

Dopamine – This controls the heart rate and also assists in perception; deciphering what is real and what is not.

Antimullerian Hormone – An inhibitor for the release of prolactin, the protein responsible mainly for lactation.

Adiponectin – This is a protein hormone, it regulates metabolic processes such as the regulation of glucose.

Adrenocorticotropic Hormone – This assists in synthesizing corticosteroids, which are responsible for stress response, blood electrolyte levels, and other physiologic systems.

Angiotensinogen – Responsible for the narrowing of blood vessels; a process known as vasoconstriction.

Antidiuretic Hormone – This hormone is also known by other names, but it is mainly responsible for retaining water within the kidneys.

Atrial Natriuretic Peptide – A peptide hormone secreted by the cells of the heart and other muscles, it’s mostly involved with the control of water, sodium, potassium, and fat within the body.

Calcitonin – Aids in constructing bone and reducing blood calcium.

Cholecystokinin – Aids in the release of digestive enzymes for the pancreas and acts as an appetite suppressant.

Corticotrophin-Releasing Hormone – Releases cortisol in response to stress.

Erythropoietin – Stimulates the production of erythrocytes, which are blood cells responsible for delivering oxygen.

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone – Stimulates the follicles within the sex organs of both males and females.

Gastrin – Secretes gastric acid.

Ghrelin – Hunger stimulant as well as aiding in the secretion of the growth hormone.

Glucagon – Helps to increase the blood glucose level.

Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone – As its name clearly implies, this hormone releases the growth hormone.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin – Keeps the immune system from attacking a forming embryo during pregnancy.

Growth Hormone – Helps to stimulate growth and the reproduction of cells.

Insulin – Responsible for several anabolic effects, primarily glucose intake.

Insulin-Like Growth Factor – Has the same effects as insulin while also regulating the growth and development of cells.

Leptin – Slows down the appetite while simultaneously speeding up metabolism.

Luteinizing Hormone – Aids ovulation in women and testosterone production in men.

Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone – Produce melanocytes, which are responsible for the pigment in skin and hair.

Orexin – Increases the appetite while also increasing your alertness and energy levels.

Oxytocin – A hormone that plays a major role in reproduction, it aids in orgasm and is also responsible for the release of breast milk.

Parathyroid Hormone – Among other functions, this hormone is mainly responsible for the activation of Vitamin D.

Prolactin – A major contributor in sexual satisfaction and the production of breast milk.

Secretin – Inhibits gastric acid production.

Aldosterone – Mainly responsible for absorbing sodium in the kidneys to increase the volume of blood within the body.

Testosterone – The major male hormone, testosterone is responsible for sex drive, development of the sex organs, and the changes that take place during puberty.

Androstenedione – Essentially estrogen.

Estradiol – In males, this hormone is responsible for preventing what is basically known as cell death of the germ cells. In females, this hormone is in overdrive. Among other things, estradiol accelerates height and metabolism, maintains the blood vessels and skin, aids in water retention, and even aids in hormone-sensitive cancers.

Progesterone – A major contributor to the body’s support of pregnancy.

Lipotropin – Stimulates the production of pigment by aiding in melanin production.

Brain natriuretic peptide – Aids in reducing blood pressure.

Histamine – A hormone based in the stomach, histamine aids in the secreting of gastric acid.

Endothelin – Controls muscle contractions within the stomach.

Enkephalin – Simply a pain regulator.

These are only examples of some of the 600 known hormones within the body; there are more complex hormones whose functions are not easily understood.

As people age, they often see their bodies change. Whether they eat responsibly and, regardless of activity, fat seems to accumulate and energy seems to drop. In a sense, it is your body’s way of alerting a possible imbalance as part of homeostasis. It’s a hormonal imbalance that comes at menopause. While estrogen may increase in women, progesterone levels may drop up to 70%.

In men and pre-menopausal women, too much estrogen — a condition called estrogen dominance — causes toxic fat gain, water retention, bloating, and a host of other health and wellness issues. As women age, there is a natural decline in testosterone and progesterone levels, leaving a relative excess of estrogen. This imbalance, this excess ratio of estrogen to progesterone makes dieting seem impossible as your sizes increase. The distribution of fat in women goes from young appearances to matronly, from a little overweight to obese. While genes may be involved, estrogen dominance over decreasing levels of progesterone may make normal dieting regimens impractical. Some might say estrogen is confusing because it is an essential
hormone.

According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, the symptoms of estrogen dominance as women enter menopause are varied – from mild to severe. They may be:

Decreased sex drive
Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods
Bloating (water retention)
Breast swelling and tenderness
Fibrocystic breasts
Headaches (especially premenstrually)
Mood swings (most often irritability and depression)
Weight and/or fat gain (particularly around the abdomen and hips)
Cold hands and feet (a symptom of thyroid dysfunction)
Hair loss
Thyroid dysfunction
Sluggish metabolism
Foggy thinking, memory loss
Fatigue
Trouble sleeping/insomnia
PMS

Symptoms of low progesterone for women who aren’t pregnant include:

headaches or migraines.
mood changes, including anxiety or depression.
low libido.
hot flashes.
irregular menstrual cycle.
weight gain.
fibroids, endometriosis.
thyroid dysfunction.

Another group of research studies seem to infer that estrogen dominance levels might lead to breast or uterine cancer. The overall problem of treating estrogen dominance in menopausal and post-menopausal women is that the pharmaceutical hormone replacement treatments demonstrated associative links to cancer. Admittedly, more recent studies seemed to infer that positive breast cancer diagnoses were false positives by around 30%.

Hormonal imbalances and aging aren’t just secluded for women. Men, in recent years, seem to also pass a menopause-like phase. It is called Andropause. Age-related decline in testosterone levels is also called testosterone deficiency, androgen decline in the aging male (ADAM) or late onset hypogonadism (LOH). Andropause is different from the menopause women experience. In menopause, the production of female hormone drops suddenly.Men may experience a more gradual loss.

According to Healthline, Male menopause can cause physical, sexual, and psychological problems. They typically worsen as you get older. They can include:

low energy
depression or sadness
decreased motivation
lowered self-confidence
difficulty concentrating
insomnia or difficulty sleeping
increased body fat
reduced muscle mass and feelings of physical weakness
gynecomastia, or development of breasts
decreased bone density
erectile dysfunction
reduced libido
infertility

It’s kind of neat that these symptoms are often diagnosed in response to individual complaints and treated as such. Yet, estrogen dominance and the changes of mood, energy, and blood changes with new alarming indicators may actually be a part of modulating estrogen dominance in your body.

One of the problems in dealing with estrogen dominance and other hormonal issues are treatments. While you may deal with each symptom as it appears, those treatments may still be counter-productive within the entire context of male and female menopause. It is suggested that frequent, routine treatments and testing be done with either a urologist or an OB/GYN. An estrogen test measures the level of the most important estrogen hormones in a blood or urine sample.

Generally, after menopause, once the menstrual cycle stops, the ovaries no longer produce progesterone. However, the body still needs progesterone and does continue producing it in the adrenal glands and nerve cells. Is it enough?

So…at a point to mediate estrogen during menopause, physicians began prescribing lab-produced estrogen – estradiol and Premarin. Premarin was produced by Pfizer. Responsibly, over the years, Pfizer has been adding cautions on Premarin, this drug designed to only reduce hot flashes gave many women causes of concern:

Using estrogen-alone may increase your chance of getting cancer of the uterus (womb). Report any unusual vaginal bleeding right away while you are using PREMARIN. Vaginal bleeding after menopause may be a warning sign of cancer of the uterus (womb). Your healthcare provider should check any unusual vaginal bleeding to find out the cause.

Do not use estrogens with or without progestins to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes or dementia (decline in brain function).

Using estrogen-alone may increase your chances of getting strokes or blood clots. Using estrogens with progestins may increase your chances of getting heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, or blood clots.

According to Healthline, sponsored by the USA government, using Premarin may help develop some common side effects that might include:
abdominal pain
breast changes and pain
back pain
depression or mood changes
dizziness
dry mouth
headaches
high blood pressure
increased heart rate
insomnia
stomach upset
vaginal discharge

Taking Premarin may cause these additional common side effects:
hair loss
skin rashes
double vision
partial or complete vision loss
Risks and interactions

Use of either estradiol or Premarin may also increase your risk of:
blood clots
breast cancer
cardiovascular disease
dementia
endometrial cancer
stroke
uterine cancer

But at postmenopausal years, when hot flashes subside, and the symptoms of estrogen dominance prevail, you wonder how to increase progesterone. Prometrium is another prescription drug for that. That sounded great when it was introduced over a decade ago. Are there side effects?

Common Side Effects of Progesterone
Headache
Painful or tender breasts
Stomach pain
Dizziness
Depression
Greater risk for viral infections
Serious Side Effects of Progesterone
Dementia in post-menopausal women who are more than 65 years of age
Vomiting
Swelling in the feet, ankles, and lower legs
Blood clots
Heart attack, stroke, or blood clots in the lungs
Missed periods or breakthrough bleeding
Breast cancer (most common in women between ages 50 and 79)
Rare Side Effects of Progesterone
Some patients may notice mood swings and feel tired or nauseated while taking progesterone.

Progesterone Interactions – If you are taking any of the following, ask your doctor about other possible options before taking progesterone:

Cancer drugs like Gilotrif (afatinib), Zydelig (idelasalib), and Tafinlar (dabrafenib)
Adempas (riociguat)
HIV/AIDS medications like Stribild (eltivagravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir)
Afrezza (inhaled insulin)
Fanapt (iloperidone)
Kalydeco (ivacaftor)
Lysoderm (mitotane)

Of course many drugs have side effects because they tend to mimic our natural chemicals but are not specific clones. They do not interact fully in opening and closing the body’s many doors and windows well.

So…as with many articles on Lifedoc Lifetime, we discuss how acts of living – diet, activity, nutrition, and other natural ways might just help make living easier under an umbrella of wellness.

Perhaps one of the more predominant gripes of entering the mid-fifties may be noticeable size changes from Medium to Extra Large (or plus sizes) may be life and living threatening to many.

To achieve weight loss or to prevent weight gain during menopause, stay active and eat a healthy diet. If your lifestyle begins to change as you age, try to keep physical activity and portion control at the top of your priority list. Here estrogen dominance is not a clear issue. There may be dietary components along with reduction of activities that increase depression. So, though, estrogen dominance may not be present, certain foods may reduce estrogen’s role in your metabolic rate to use foods. Lack of estrogen may also cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively, which would increase fat storage and make it harder to lose.

Weight loss diets of postmenopausal people are not really fat-dependent. The consensus of most physicians seems to negate low-fat diets with hormonal balance. Reducing sugars and starches and focusing on healthy fats may be a route to weight loss. Fat-free or reduced-fat foods are bad news for postmenopausal women for a few reasons. One, they keep you from eating the healthy fats your body needs to combat heart disease, which postmenopausal women may be at increased risk of due to a combination of , poor diet, and lack of exercise.

Part of the real culprit of weight gain in women is age and muscle loss. Women generally become less physically active as they pass through their 40s, 50s, and 60s. At any age, burning fewer calories because we are less active increases weight and fat mass. With decreased activity, muscle mass decreases.

Hormonal imbalances are multi-factorial disorders, meaning they are caused by a combination of factors such as your diet, medical history, genetics, stress levels and exposure to toxins from your environment. For example, most food storage containers are BPA-Free. BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. They are thought to cause endocrine disruption (of hormone activities). Continued exposure to BPA has been linked to estrogen dominance. While many containers and plastic cans may be BPA-Free, do you think those take-out plastic containers are BPA-Free?

Basically, once you get your hormone levels checked, you may want to add the help of a licensed, competent nutritionist. A nutritionist professional can help guide you through supplements (not approved by FDA) and dietary choices. Supplements and foods use ingredients that may mimic hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Xenoestrogens are a type of xenohormone that imitates estrogen. They can be either synthetic or natural chemical compounds. Because the primary route of exposure to these compounds is by consumption of phytoestrogenic plants, they are sometimes called “dietary estrogens”.

For example, certain foods deemed reasonably healthy in normal situations have been shown to promote estrogen dominance:

Seeds: flaxseeds and sesame seeds.
Fruit: apricots, oranges, strawberries, peaches, many dried fruits.
Vegetables: yams, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, kale, celery.
Soy products: tofu, miso soup, soy yogurt.
Dark rye bread.
Legumes: lentils, peas, pinto beans.
Olives and olive oil.
Chickpeas.

Foods that reduce estrogen dominance include higher fiber and cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, lettuces, spinach, kale, and collard greens.

Some foods work at both reducing estrogen levels while increasing progesterone levels. Over a few months, adding these to your diet may help suppress estrogen dominance. They are: Russet potatoes, salmon, tuna, bananas, spinach, walnuts, beef, chicken, sweet potato, beans and prunes.

Some obstetrics offices offer or can recommend competent nutritional counseling. Try to find someone that does. Associations of food have been studies and reviewed with powerful links to hormone balancing.

Herbal supplements for controlling menopause symptoms are very available. They may have ancient roots in alchemy and may be used as treatments around the world. They are not considered traditional medicine in the USA. Effectiveness and proper dosing have not been tested for use. Popular supplements include:

Black Cohosh – Studies on the benefits of black cohosh are mixed, but there have been some encouraging findings about the herb’s ability to decrease hot flashes, sweating, insomnia, and depression. A 2010 review by researchers found that black cohosh provided a 26% reduction in hot flashes and night sweats. According to WebMD, “It is used to treat women’s hormone-related symptoms, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual cramps, and menopausal symptoms”. Not FDA approved in USA.

Dong Quai is an ancient Chinese remedy for menopausal and postmenopausal primary and secondary symptoms. Nutritionists claim Dong Quai is very beneficial. Again, though sold alone or in menopause supplement formulas in the USA, it is not FDA approved.

Another popular ingredient added to these supplements goes on the brand name Vitex. Vitex (chasteberry) is the most popular herbal remedy for premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It does not supply hormones but acts directly on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. Vitex increases luteinizing hormone (LH) and modulates prolactin, resulting in a balance of estrogen and progesterone levels. This supplement has no FDA approval. There are also scientific questions how this herb functions and whether it is effective for all claims West coast health guru Dr. Axe disusses Vitex and cites some studies that claim both male and female symptom relief.

Supplements really should be discussed with a certified nutritionist. They are chemicals and may interact with areas that aren’t related but somehow have a secondary effect on hormone balancing. What may go well in Europe and Asia may not apply in the United States.

Controlling hormones isn’t dietary exclusively. Activity – walking, running or cycling – help restore hormone balance as well. While routine diet and activity are, by many, a word that is often censored, they help you create health holistically. Creating health and wellness is a bit different than the traditional medical problem that deals with a diagnosis of a specific problem, Dr. Eric Berg outlines why creating health through diet and activity as aids to balance hormones through the aging process:

Subsequently, traditional medicine and routine exams (at least once per year) are very effective methods that help isolate hormonal imbalances or, rather, conditions that arise when the symbiosis of those hundreds of hormones are changing.

Life has value but living is priceless. Estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency partner with many symptoms that occur with aging. The key to understanding a quest for wellness and longevity is that hormonal balance is important, even though our endocrine system also deteriorates with age. Trying to escape those symptoms means diet, activity, and recovery by controlling stress and other values.

Recent research at Columbia University expresses that neurons continue to grow among older individuals. Barring chronic, disabling illnesses, they observed that (based on protein markers such as BDNF – Brain Derived Neurotropic Factors) within the hippocampus, neuron development did not yield neuronal network development. These protein factors are derived from hormones. Able social and physical activity, with aging, may offer potential development of neuronal networks. “It does appear to be the case that neurogenesis in the hippocampus is remarkably preserved in human beings,” says one of the researchers.

Life or living well. Are they choices? Well, you can sit, eat what you want, and minimize movement, other than taking racks of prescribed pills. Or you can use responsible methods of dieting and (social,physical) activities to grow better with age and aiding hormone balance.. Perhaps the best ways to mediate and control estrogen dominance and hormone imbalances is to become dominant yourself. Establish new wellness habits. Is it a gamble? Everything has side effects. It depends on who and what you want to bet. Living is an activity and, with awareness, you can control your hormone balances to help get rid of the symptoms derived from possible hormone imbalances.

Of men women and menopause

Living means coping with a constancy of changes. There are many life changes that people face. Women and men, transitioning from youth, cope with aging. For women, it is known as menopause. Menopause is a radical biochemical change that signals the conclusion of the reproductive years. Men and women lose muscle and gain fat. Menopause is a central issue as baby boomers from post World War II age within a population that is living longer. Menopause or change of life offers many things to consider. Everyone, one day, will encounter menopause.

The aging process has been a dilemma for thousands of years. As more people live longer than average, those changes are examined and studied. Women go about major hormonal changes at around age 50. This period is called menopause. Recently, male menopause came to light, particularly as a marked reduction in testosterone. As we age, hormone production seems to shift to low gears. Lean muscles give way to fat, stiffness, and atrophy. Bones and joints express the pains of wear and tear. Cognitive changes are observed. While youth had many challenges, aging beyond 50 can exhibit an entire new set of adversities that seem beyond challenge. Living well beyond age 70’s may be very rough as indiscretions of youth start creeping up and showing themselves.

I am reminded of a little known tale by the Grimm Brothers, from the 19th century, about the Duration of Life:

When God created the world and was about to determine the duration of life for all the creatures, the donkey came and asked, “Lord, how long am I to live?”

“Thirty years,” answered God. “Is that all right with you?”

“Oh, Lord,” replied the donkey, “that is a long time. Think of my tiresome existence carrying heavy loads from morning until night, dragging bags of grain to the mill so that others might eat bread, only to be cheered along and refreshed with kicks and blows! Spare me part of this long time.”

So God had mercy and gave him eighteen years. The donkey went away satisfied, and the dog made his appearance.

“How long do you want to live?” said God to him. “Thirty years was too much for the donkey, but you will be satisfied with that long.”

“Lord,” answered the dog. “Is that your will? Just think how much I have to run. My feet will not hold out so long. And what can I do but growl and run from one corner to another after I have lost my voice for barking and my teeth for biting?”

God saw that he was right, and he took away twelve years. Then came the monkey.

“Surely you would like to live thirty years,” said the Lord to him. “You do not need to work like the donkey and the dog, and are always having fun.”

“Oh, Lord,” he answered, “so it appears, but it is different. When it rains porridge, I don’t have a spoon. I am always supposed to be playing funny tricks and making faces so people will laugh, but when they give me an apple and I bite into it, it is always sour. How often is sorrow hidden behind a joke. I cannot put up with all that for thirty years!”

God had mercy and gave him ten years. Finally man made his appearance. Cheerful, healthy, and refreshed, he asked God to determine the duration of his life.

“You shall live thirty years,” spoke the Lord. “Is that enough for you?”

“What a short time!” cried the man. “When I have built a house and a fire is burning on my own hearth, when I have planted trees that blossom and bear fruit, and am just beginning to enjoy life, then I am to die. Oh, Lord, extend my time.”

“I will add the donkey’s eighteen years,” said God.

“That is not enough,” replied the man.

“You shall also have the dog’s twelve years.”

“Still too little.”

“Well, then,” said God, “I will give you the monkey’s ten years as well, but you shall receive no more.”

The man went away, but he was not satisfied.

Thus man lives seventy years. The first thirty are his human years, and they quickly disappear. Here he is healthy and happy; he works with pleasure, and enjoys his existence. The donkey’s eighteen years follow. Here one burden after the other is laid on him; he carries the grain that feeds others, and his faithful service is rewarded with kicks and blows. Then come the dog’s twelve years, and he lies in the corner growling, no longer having teeth with which to bite. And when this time is past, the monkey’s ten years conclude. Now man is weak headed and foolish; he does silly things and becomes a laughingstock for children.

Personality, ideology, and general changes of life has been bring up a unique, new marriage/divorce statistic that may be rising with increased age spans. We have heard of the 7-year itch and many marital breakups during the first 10 years. Now a 25-year itch is emerging. In 1990, only 1 in 10 divorces were people 50 and older. In 2013 it’s 1 in 4. The rate has elevated from 10% to 25%. The change seems so radical that Catholicism and other religions observe this as a challenge and redefinition to traditional, moral values.

New and evangelical Christian movements blame the proliferation of women’s rights in the 20th century as the cause of increasing divorce rates and moral degradation. Although it is only a splinter group, more new Christian couples delve through the biblical foundations to prove that God has defined roles for women. Men are required to discipline wives to the order of happiness. Outside these groups, more rational thinkers and scientists are exploring the symptoms, responses, and regulation of menopause, an its affects on marital cohesion.

Female menopause studies observe the cessation of certain hormones that were key t reproductive functioning. Male menopause is similar in that it is associated with reduced testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction. In men, the hormonal changes are thus far seen as gradual.

Thousands of years ago, Aristotle observed that menopause began at age 40 and the history of menopause brought many theories. Promises of longevity bring new focus perspectives to menopause. While dominantly a female issue, science and sociology are examining the gender crosslinks in new, progressive ways. Therapeutic changes evolve faster and, in relationships, prove consequential. In addition, how you cope and deal with menopause may give way to disease sensitivities that were generally unobserved.

In the U.S., the average age of onset for “natural” menopause is near 50. The first evidence is the cessation of the menstrual cycle. Around that time, many women indicate they feel hot flashes, surges of heat. Hot flashes occur when the blood vessels near the skin’s surface dilate to cool. This produces the red, flushed look to the face. A woman may also perspire to cool down the body. These surges of heat also may disturb normal sleep patterns and dream cycles, leading to daytime exhaustion and cognitive impairments. It has been studied that long-term memories are “filed” during dream cycles.

In addition, some women experience a rapid heart rate or chills. This rapid heat rate may be mistaken as a cardiovascular disease indicator. It may not be so. Heart rate may normalize post-menopause.

Frequent mood changes are often discussed. Mood changes have been observed in up to 23% of menopausal women, during and after. Additionally, symptoms of anxiety—tension, nervousness, panic, and worry are evident. The loss of sexual desire has been linked to periods of depression. It is often difficult to infer whether the depression is a cause or response. A woman’s loss of desire may contribute to her depression, yet she also may see her desire decline as an effect of depression.

Perhaps one of the mood effectors might be noticeable weight gain or softening of the contours. Menopause does not result in weight gain among women, however, hormonal adjustments are linked to a difference in fat distribution, which increases belly fat. Many see a growth in belly and rear fat leading to larger dress sizes. Menopause weight gain studies are seriously addressed by menopause research advocacy groups. This is something evident to women as well as men. Apart from slowing metabolic rates, one doctor writes his hypothesis that hormonal estrogen dominance plays a significant role for women and for men. Dr. Christiane Northrup, popular author and speaker, also cites that reduced progesterone levels engage an estrogen dominance that brings forth lists of symptoms.

Among fitness and nutritional experts and gurus, approximately 1.5 billion adults are overweight worldwide – 300 million of them are obese females. Most high levels are due to diet and inactivity.

In a body that is so complex, one can not belittle the changes in hormone levels in menopause and middle-age that attribute to less activity and body weight gains of 10% to 25%. Adrenaline or epinephrine is both a hormone and an important neurotransmitter, produced by the adrenal gland, and is associated with your body’s response to stress. Adrenal substances are part of that “get-up and go” process and glandular production declines with aging. The decline of adrenaline production and other key neurotransmitters may be associated with lower activity drives and weight gain values. Yet, fitness experts and health practitioners try to motivate people over 50 to exercise. Exerting exercise is positively linked to activating the adrenal gland to work harder.

In a woman’s menopause, three key hormones are shifting production – progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone – along with another called FSH. Hormones are naturally produced chemicals that play key roles in how your body functions and matures.

FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), a hormone produced in the anterior pituitary gland, increases, and estrogen levels decrease. An FSH test should be added to your normal series of routine blood tests to indicate hormone and lipid changes. It is an important predictor of menopause.

Progesterone plays a role in maintaining pregnancy and is produced in the ovaries.As you grow older and enter perimenopause (the menopause transition phase, which can last six years or more and ends one year after your final menstrual period), your hormone levels fluctuate and decrease, causing irregular ovulation and menstruation, as well as bothersome symptoms like hot flashes.

Estrogen is another hormone associated with the reproductive cycle. Estrogen also plays a role in bone formation, blood clotting and other body functions. The hormone also affects the brain, and studies also show that chronically low estrogen levels are linked with reduced mood. Men produce estrogen as well, but at lower levels than women. In men, estrogen is thought to affect sperm count.

Testosterone is usually associated with males but females also have it. Excess female testosterone levels are attributed to smaller breast sizes and body hair. Its role in menopause may be caused by the testosterone receptors becoming less receptive, while the amount of free testosterone in the body decreases. The decrease is due to an increase in a blood protein that binds with the hormone, rendering it useless. A gradual fall in the testosterone levels (from 30 to 40 percent) is common in men between the ages of 48 and 70. As testosterone levels drop, men may experience a loss in muscle strength and function, increase in body fat, decrease in body density and a decrease in sexual function and drive. Subsequently, as female testosterone levels are reduced, there is loss of muscle strength and increases in body fat and size.

Hormones are chemicals that the body responds with. Your hot flashes, mood swings, lack of motivation, and increases in fat correspond with reduced hormone levels during the normal aging process. As the over-50 crowd aims to lead active, productive lives for several more decades, hormone replacement therapy has gained significant popularity. Yet, whenever you intervene in coverting the body’s balance, there are going to be detrimental effects. Such therapies have been reported to trigger heart and cancer problems. Sometimes trying to fix one thing may result in having to deal with side effects. Chemicals and chemical formulations for hormone and neurotransmitter re-balancing offer more questions than answers.

Yet some hormone replacement therapies have been shown as effective helpers in hip replacements and other bone surgeries. Research is emerging that may help attack possible cancers that may have been associated with synthetic hormone replacements. Adversely, certain hormone replacement therapy formulations may contribute to increased heart attack and stroke incidences. Dietary combinations with certain hormone replacements may lead to possible tumor growths.

Part of the formation of side effects may arise from how the replacement was given, either by pill or by topical cream. Part of the causes may have been patient errors through overdosing to get faster results. A new method uses medicinal patches to provide a steady, slow, graduated stream. A hormone replacement therapy patch is being touted as a possible method to help control side effects.

Despite the risks associated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), an overwhelming number of women are attracted to its benefits. When you’re suffering from fatigue, headaches, hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, loss of sleep, and skin dryness, the possibility of relief seems sensible. HRT helps suppress the loss of sexual desire and reawakens passionate feelings. This may be one of the causes of the 25-year itch syndrome and rising divorce rates over the past twenty years. Single or joint psychotherapy may help. HRT does treat menopause but users must make certain that they see their doctor for tests, at least three times per year, to help avoid the emergence of life-threatening illnesses. HRT is not to be taken lightly. Be under the care of a physician you trust.

A change of life, menopause may be disheartening. The cessation of what many call the monthly curse brings consequences that many prefer to ignore. It’s attitude that helps you ride the tide and surf through the transition. Age 70 no longer means death. It’s closer to age 90. That’s many more productive and enjoyable years to go after you turn 50. It’s all about how you adapt to circumstances. AARP is one of the organizations that help along the way.

Aging and menopause may seem like drags. Most complementary therapies are promoting exercise and diet to help wear the (so called) normal symptoms of aging. In a way, it makes sense that mental and physical stimulation, together, help coax your body to produce hormones that are beneficial to overall health and wellness over the years. While Hormone Replacement Therapy may seem like the easiest alternatives to achieving happiness, the consequence is monitoring physiochemical responses through frequent blood tests that may or may not be covered by health insurance policies. We see more people living well and productively to ages of over 100. At ages of 50 or over, your lives may, instead of being reborn, be happily revised for future happiness.

When it comes to dealing and coping with menopause, it’s being healthy, happy, and positive that helps chart a better course ahead. Live long, love, and prosper.