INCREASED HEALTH RISKS AND TRENDS IN TREATMENTS
BY ANNETTE BROOKS
Did you know that October is World Menopause Month? It was created to bring more awareness about health conditions and chronic diseases that may occur due to menopause.
In fact, the theme for World Menopause Day 2023 is cardiovascular disease. In addition to heart disease and stroke, menopause can increase your risk of diabetes, dementia, cancer, osteoporosis, and fractures, to name a few. And with a decline in certain hormones, body aches and pains usually increase. In addition to changes in menstruation and, ultimately, the cessation of menstruation, menopause symptoms include hot and cold flashes, low libido, weight gain, brain fog, low energy, night sweats, sleep disturbances, dry skin, mood changes, and vaginal dryness.
FIGHTING MENOPAUSE WITH HORMONES
All of this sounds bleak, but thanks to modern medicine, you can take steps to minimize symptoms and stave off health issues and chronic diseases that may arise.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Progress continues to be made with two general kinds of HRT designed to replace lost or low hormones and help restore hormonal balance. Conventional HRT uses “synthetic” hormones. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) uses processed hormones derived from plants. Each method can be effective but discuss options with your physician to help determine which may be the optimal treatment for you.
Conventional HRT involves prescription medications in the form of pills, creams, and patches. They include Cenestin (conjugated estrogens), Estinyl (estrogen and progestin combination), Estrace (estradiol), Menest (esterified estrogens), Premarin (conjugated estrogens), and Femtrace (estradiol). Vagifem, which targets menopausal changes in and around the vagina, is administered via estradiol vaginal inserts. Ask your doctor to compare options and explain which ones may be right for you.
Bioidentical HRT: Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the most commonly used bioidentical hormones. Although BHRT products are available over the counter, always work with a healthcare provider who will oversee treatment versus making DIY changes to your endocrine system balance. BHRT providers typically perform bloodwork to determine which hormones are depleted and then create a treatment plan with customized bioidentical hormone doses. BHRT is administered via pills, patches, creams, gels, injections, and implanted long-release pellets.
NEWER PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS
Science is moving forward on treatments, including new prescription medications. We’ve outlined two of them below.
Veozah (fezolinetant) is a hormone- free oral medication for treating moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms (VMS) — hot flashes and night sweats due to menopause. FDA-cleared in 2023, it works by blocking NKB (Neurokinin B), a neuropeptide that triggers VMS. Visit Veozah.com for more information.
Bijuva is touted as the “first and only FDA-approved combination of bioidentical estradiol and progesterone in a single daily oral capsule.” In clinical studies, women taking Bijuva experienced significant relief in one month. Visit Bijuva.com for more information.
EMBR WAVE WEARABLE TECH
This device, which looks like a sleek round wristwatch with a cover, is a patented technology that delivers hot and cold flash relief on demand at the touch of a button. According to Embre Wave, its “precisely engineered patterns of temperature sensations bring fast, full-body menopause symptom relief by cooling or warming the sensitive skin of your inner wrist,” which triggers a natural mind-body response. VisitEmbrLabs.com for more information.
Menopause and Supplements
A natural inclination these days is to look for dietary supplements for much-needed relief. A few of the most popular menopause supplements are listed below.
Soy – Research suggests that eating soy products or taking soy supplements might relieve menopausal symptoms because it contains a high concentration of isoflavones, a type of plant estrogen (phytoestrogen) that is similar in function to, but weaker, than human estrogen.
Black Cohosh – A member of the buttercup family, this herb contains phytochemicals that can improve menopause symptoms, particularly hot flashes.
Red Clover – Contains chemicals called phytoestrogens that are similar to the hormone estrogen, which may increase estradiol levels in menopausal women and improve quality of life.
Moringa Leaf – Moringa leaves, which are high in certain vitamins and bioflavonoids, have been shown to modulate several menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings, loss of libido, and night sweats.
Please keep in mind that while natural, plant-based supplements sound great, some supplements may be harmful if not taken as directed or if you have an underlying condition. Always talk with your medical doctor before you start taking any new supplements.