Thursday, April 30, 2009

Menopause Depression

Women who are approaching the menopausal stage are at a higher risk for depression, and two current studies show strong evidence that hormonal changes may be at least partially to blame. Both studies followed women through menopausal transition called perimenopause. Women in the studies did not have history of depression but their risk of developing indicators of depression significantly increased during these years.

Depression is a disease that due to biological factors such as hormones in the brain, particularly serotonin, that regulate the mood. There are times that levels of serotonin may drop causing fluctuations in mood and severe episodes of depression. People who suffer from depression experience intense feelings of hopelessness, melancholy, and sadness for lingering periods of time, which is at least two weeks. This disease can lead to range of symptoms and can have terrible effects on a person?s life including isolation, physical ailments, and even suicide.

Menopause can set off feelings of sadness and episodes of depression in some women. It is said that anywhere between eight percent and fifteen percent of menopausal women experience some for of depression. Menopause depression causes are still on debate and has had theories and assumptions of why so many menopausal women experience mood disorders.

One theory of menopause depression is that the stress of menopause symptoms leads to depression. Some women find it hard to manage on their own symptoms of menopause as they already have to deal with work, family, finances, and friends, let alone the big physical change, causing the onset of depression.

Another theory on menopause depression connects the illness with irregular levels of hormones in the body. All through the menopausal stage, levels of progesterone, estrogen, and androgen are continuously changing. These hormones are believed to be associated with the mood centers in the brain. As hormones drop, mainly estrogen, a woman experience periods of sadness and hopelessness. A number of women experience severe drop in mood which results to depression.

Women in the stage of menopause have an increased risk of developing menopause depression if they have a history of mood disorders. Those who have been depressed before, particularly during their twenty?s, are more probable to see the depression reoccur. Those who have gone through surgical menopause are also at a higher risk of menopause depression. Surgery cause a significant drop in estrogen levels in addition to increased anxiety and symptoms. Women smokers, or have young children, or under a lot of stress, are more prone to develop some form of depression during this time.

Seeking help immediately when experiencing menopause depression is very much advised, there will be a number of alternatives available to help reduce the symptoms and assist in letting women get enjoyment out of life again. Menopause depression diagnosed is the first step to begin living a happy life after menopause.

Milos Pesic is a successful webmaster and owner of popular and comprehensive Overcome Depression blog. For more articles and resources on Depression related topics, visit his blog at:



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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Menopause - Heart Disease and HRT

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, but because men have higher rates of heart disease it has long been assumed that estrogen is what creates that difference. Heart disease is more prevalent in post-menopausal women than pre-menopausal women, so this has also helped fuel the myth that estrogen has something to do with heart problems. Actually it is probably just due to the fact that post-menopausal women are older.

There has been a clear relationship established between amounts of natural estrogen and breast cancer, osteoporosis and endometrial cancer. The longer you have natural estrogen in you because of early menstruation, drinking alcohol, or certain medications the greater the risk of breast cancer and the lower risk of osteoporosis. However, no clear relationship has been established between natural estrogen and heart disease.

So what does put a woman at risk for heart disease? A family history of heart disease. Levels of lipids, the most common one is known as cholesterol, are also a factor. High levels of an amino acid called Homocysteine have also been shown to increase risk. (Good news is that can be lowered with vitamin B and folic acid.) High levels of C Reactive Protein produced during periods of inflammation increases heart disease risk and this protein is also increased by estrogen. Other factors that increase the risk for heart disease include personality type, diabetes, smoking, being overweight, having high blood pressure and having blood that clots easily.

In terms of Estrogen therapy and heart disease, this means that even though studies have shown that HRT reduces the risk of heart disease in women, the studies have been more observational in nature. Because the studies are observational they really have not yet answered the question if the issue is that estrogen lowers the instance of heart disease or if the instance of heart disease is lower because women who are healthy tend to be on estrogen in the first place. None of the studies done so far have been random controlled blind studies. All the women were of higher social and economic status, highly educated, thinner, non-smokers and also were more likely to have had a hysterectomy. They were more likely to have insurance coverage, therefore more likely to go to a doctor regularly and have had preventive healthcare, lowering their risk of heart disease anyway.

All in all, the evidence showing that HRT can lower the risk of heart disease is circumstantial and considering the recent studies showing links to Breast Cancer and HRT, it would seem that whatever unproven benefit of HRT does not outweigh the risk of taking it. And the American Heart Association recommends the same thing - women with heart disease should not be given HRT to prevent further occurrence and women already on HRT that have heart disease should only continue to take it if the have an additional reason to take it besides heart disease.

There are additional ways to prevent heart disease besides HRT than you can do, like lifestyle changes and drugs that can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure so if the only reason you are considering HRT is for heart disease, it's probably best to pursue those other options first.

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Menopause


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Monday, April 13, 2009

Which Menopause Supplements Are Best? Discover an Array of Natural Herbs for Menopause Relief

Picking the right menopause supplements has become an important issue for many women beginning and transitioning through this stage of life.

Natural herbs for menopause are seeing a sharp rise in demand as the numerous risks associated with Hormone Replacement Therapy have become well known, such as an alarming increased risk of breast cancer.

The first thing to note when purchasing menopause supplements is to make sure the company producing them uses what are known as standarized extracts. These tend to be made with not only the highest quality herbs, but it's also a process that ensures you are getting the same amount of ingredients from one capsule to the next.

This is a major problem for many non standarized supplements, which is why you may have read in the media that many supplements do not even contain what's stated on the label -- sometimes it's a lot higher, and sometimes it's a lot lower. You don't want either in a supplement you take, since too much can trigger side effects, and too little will give you no results.

Among the most popular natural herbs for menopause include:

  • black cohosh
  • wild yam
  • dong quai
  • red clover
  • Chasteberry

Many experts believe black cohosh's effectiveness comes from its ability to decrease the levels of a hormone that is produced by the body in high levels during menopause.

The increase of this hormone, which is called luteinizing hormone, is believed to be responsible for numerous unpleasant effects associated with menopause, such as hot flashes.

Red clover extract, although not as widely known as black cohosh, may help mitigate the symptoms of menopause because it contains isoflavones....which are similar to estrogens (the female hormone). Interestingly, the effect seems to differ based on what stage of menopause women are in.

In pre-menopausal women with normal endogenous estrogen levels, isoflavones may have an anti-estrogen effect. In post-menopausal women with low endogenous estrogens, isoflavones are likely to act as weak estrogens.

Chasteberry is used a great deal in Europe in menopause supplements because it contains estrogen- and progesterone-like compounds as well. It may also have a function in regulating luteinizing hormone as black cohosh does.

Dong quai is another of the natural herbs for menopause. Although it has been used for centuries, its effectiveness is less proven than black cohosh. It has a history of use in Native American culture and is believe to have mild estrogenic effects.

Wild Yam is touted as a natural alternative for estrogen replacement therapy. Studies have shown that it may help postmenopausal vaginal dryness and premenstrual syndrome.

When choosing menopause supplements, you need not choose a formula with all of these ingredients, but it should definitely contain some of them, and especially black cohosh.

And, all of the herbs for menopause in the formula should be of standardized extracts.

Katie Smith is an editor of the informative Visit us to learn about our recommended product containing natural herbs for menopause.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Truth on Menopause and Weight Gain

One of the major causes of weight gain in women is the changes in their hormone levels and sedentarism. Studies show that about 90 percent of menopausal women experience weight gain between the ages 35 to 55. This is not surprising because weight gain comes with the territory of aging and menopausal.

Medical experts say that menopause occurs when a woman?s ovaries has stopped producing estrogen which is responsible for ovulation and menstruation. Today, more and more women who are experiencing menopause go through weight gain due to hormonal changes brought about by aging. Experts explain that with aging, the muscles in the body start to decrease in bulk along with the slowing of metabolism. This slowing down of metabolism along with decrease in bulk of the body?s muscles contributes to weight gain. Aside from weight gain, menopause also leads to loss of sexual appetite or loss of libido, vaginal atrophy, and growth or loss of hair in the head and face. With all these demoralizing truths, it is common that women who are experiencing menopause lose self-confidence and esteem. But, it shouldn?t stay that way. With the help of science and modern researches, weight gain during menopausal years can be solved.


Weight gain during menopause is as common as aging. Usually, women sometimes gain about 10 to15 pounds starting from their abdomen, to the hips, thighs, and rear. Studies show that weight gain on women usually starts during their pre-menopausal years and will continue to pile up as they grow older. For those who have experienced early menopausal due to major operation or surgery, they are expected to gain weight faster compared to those who haven?t.

Because of the changes in their weight or size, many women are starting to dread the thought of menopausal. It is recommended to exerciseregularly and eat to one's appetite. Experts say that women should be more aware when they are entering the stage of menopausal so they can prepare for it. Physicians say that women should expect that as they enter the early stages of menopause, they would have difficulty maintaining their weight because of the fluctuation in their hormones. Because of these natural hormonal changes?that include estrogen, testosterone, and androgen levels?a man?s or woman?s appetite, metabolism, and fat storage are greatly affected.


Before sulking into a pit of depression, a woman must know the reasons behind it so she can make the necessary adjustments.

1. Hormone deficiency and lack of female hormones that slows down metabolism. Lack of estrogen leads to excessive weight gain because it alters certain functions of the body and greatly influences fat distribution in the body. You must understand estrogen and fat distribution very well.

2. Slow metabolism due to aging. As people grow older, their metabolism starts to slow down. One effective way of reducing energy intake, women who are experiencing menopause are recommended to have a balanced diet composed of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

3. Lack of exercise or physical activity. As women enter their menopausal stage, they become more sedentary in almost everything that they do. This inactive lifestyle leads them to weight gain because they are not getting enough physical exercise they should get. If muscle pains are giving a woman a hard time to do such simple and regular exercises, she can try taking in vitamin and mineral supplement to boost her energy levels that contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, chromium and selenium.

4. The use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can also be a big factor in gaining weight. Although HRT is known to help give back lost female hormones, this treatment can also add up on the weight she already has because it works. HRT has also been subject to serious warnings in their use recently.

5. Weight gain can also be traced in increased food intake due to emotional problems like depression. Emotional eating or overeating due to frustration over weight gain is also a big factor that contributes to excessive weight gain. Talking to friends and satying active are powerful ways to fight back.

Dr Nathalie Fiset is a family doctor and a certified hypnotherapist. For more information go to: or

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