Progesterone Side Effects
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may cause progesterone side effects which can be bothersome or life threatening. Recommended for women who have ceased having menstrual cycles, HRTs replace the hormones normally produced by the ovaries during childbearing years. After menopause, estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone are prescribed for mature females who have not had the uterus removed. During reproductive years, the combination of these two hormones enables the uterus to shed its endometrial lining in preparation for conception. However, if the egg is not fertilized, the lining is shed in the form of menstrual blood each month. In some cases, after menopause the endometrial lining continues to thicken and produce cells, which can cause cancer. Hormone replacement therapy is prescribed to help prevent endometrial cancer in older women who have not had a hysterectomy. HRTs are also prescribed to help control the discomfort of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and decreased libido. Research has also shown that women on hormone replacement therapy have a decreased risk of developing osteoporosis.
A woman's body goes through hormonal changes which mark the end of being able to have children. The absence of progesterone and estrogen dry the skin and reproductive organs cease to provide produce hormones that facilitate pregnancy. Most women celebrate the end of the menstrual cycle, fully aware that the cramping and other premenstrual symptoms will cease being a part of life. Many older females also look forward to spending more time with their spouses and enjoying an empty nest. Those in good health and spirits anticipate having time to travel, volunteer or devote time to charitable causes, or start a new home-based business. Aside from the joys of older womanhood, there are concerns about health issues, including progesterone side effects, which may impact an otherwise idyllic lifestyle. Menopausal symptoms, such as urinary incontinence, hot flashes, and sleeplessness, can be disconcerting; and many women find themselves in the doctor's office seeking relief. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
While HRTs benefit older women who have passed the stage of childbearing, progesterone side effects are a serious concern. Taking the hormone alone, in combination with estrogen, or in a synthetic version reportedly increases the risk of developing blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and breast cancer. Additionally, as part of long-term hormone replacement, side effects include spotting or regular uterine bleeding, similar to a monthly cycle; breast tenderness, mood swings, bloating, and headaches. Some women report feeling as though they are still going through puberty when their bodies ought to be "going through the change." An increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer are concerns that may make women question the validity of hormone replacement therapy versus natural remedies for alleviating menopausal discomfort.
Natural health advocates may suggest using herbs and vitamin supplements to help menopausal women offset the natural process of aging. Although not approved by the Federal Drug Administration, black cohosh, soy isoflavones, and plant-based estrogen may be as effective as HRTs with fewer progesterone side effects. A certified naturalist or herbalist may offer more information on which herbs and supplements are effective in treating dry skin, mood swings, and hot flashes. For women whose symptoms are mild, nutritionists recommend avoiding spicy or overly seasoned foods, which raise the body temperature; wearing loose clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton to keep cool; drinking mood-soothing teas; and using a vitamin E cream to alleviate vaginal dryness.
Due to progesterone side effects, some women should avoid taking hormone replacement drugs. Those who currently have or have had a history of breast or endometrial cancer, heart disease, fibroid tumors, or liver disease should refrain from taking HRTs. Females who also have experienced spotting or uterine bleeding, or have had a stroke are at high risk of progesterone side effects. High-risk menopausal women also include those who use tobacco. Doctors recommend that smokers enroll in a cessation program before beginning hormone replacement therapy. Cigarette smoke constricts the blood vessels and places individuals in increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and lung cancer.
In spite of reported progesterone side effects and the availability of natural remedies, aging women may still prefer not to experience the bothersome symptoms of menopause. Females may not be able to tolerate the intense, prickly heat of hot flashes or the discomfort of waking in the middle of the night drenched with perspiration. And hormonal changes which cause vaginal dryness and affect the libido may be problematic for married women that seek to enjoy a normal relationship with their spouses. The decision to take hormone replacement therapy is a personal one which involves consulting with knowledgeable gynecologists. Some physicians view HRTs as the sole solution to alleviate menopause and prevent osteoporosis; while others are more open to exploring other natural remedies.
Women of all ages may be able to become better informed about HRTs, progesterone side effects, and alternative treatments for menopause by browsing online resources. Medical websites offer invaluable information, including research findings, definitions and indications for certain hormones, and blogs which provide a platform for women to share experiences, suggestions and ideas for maintaining optimal health after childbearing years. Some doctors appreciate women who take charge of their health and want to collaborate with physicians to determine the best plan of care. Women that are currently taking hormone replacement drugs are advised not to discontinue treatment abruptly; but consult with the physician as to how to wean themselves from medicines, while protecting the body from osteoporosis or heart disease. Menopause does not have to be a disaster, but a time of renewal and regeneration for active older women who are beginning a new chapter in life.
Menopause Causing Weight LossMenopause causing weight gain is a fact that most women between the ages of thirty-five to fifty-five will have to deal with, though there is a debate surrounding the exact reasons that women tend the add pounds during the perimenopausal years. Any one woman who is within this age range can testify of the difficulties in maintaining her girlish figure or at least the challenges with losing those few pounds that seem to have come from nowhere. But, regardless of why it happens, the woman's body goes through major changes as the ovaries begin to make less estrogen and begin the process of deterioration, and one of the many results is weight gain. It is important to note that there is a small percentage of women who may experience menopause causing weight loss due to some of the side effects associated with the change of life, but for most women the opposite is true and these women are looking for answers that can help them not only look great, but feel good and energetic, as well.
There are many psychological and physical issues involved with the bodily changes that are happening during perimenopause. Menopause causing weight loss is rare, but there are women who have struggles with excessive bleeding, discomfort, and insomnia, the stress can lead to a loss of appetite or poor diet habits. But, most women in the age range of thirty-five to fifty-five will actually put on between ten and fifteen pounds, as their bodies begin the process of slowing estrogen production and making it from alternative sources. There are many debates surrounding the discussion of the exact reasons for menopause causing weight gain during this significant physical event, and women who seeking answers will find that being equipped with information may give them the motivation to keep their bodies in physical shape, but may also learn to live with a new, but fuller body.
Research involving women who are in the prime perimenopausal age group is showing that as the ovaries begin to decrease in their production of estrogen, fat cells begin to increase their levels of estrogen, though there will still be a significant loss in over-all production. This may be one reason that the body begins to lose muscle and increase in fat. Other reasons for menopause causing weight gain have been cited as thyroid changes, as metabolism decreases. When there are changes in the body's composition, the metabolism adjusts, so with less muscle, the body burns fewer calories. And, there does seem to be an increase in food intake as women settle into family routines, except for those who are under extreme stress and may experience menopause causing weight loss.
The changes happening with the body will change the shape of the body regardless of whether there is menopause causing weight loss, or the much more likely weight gain. As the woman's traditional pear-shape evolves into the classic apple shape, the woman will begin to notice less muscle tone in the abdominal area. Some doctors explain this menopause causing weight gain problem as a result of fat storage. The decreased amount of estrogen sends signals to the brain to store fat in alternative areas, decreasing storage in the hips and increasing storage in the tummy. The challenge that women face in trying to stay healthy and avoid the bulge in the middle is to decrease caloric intake, because the body no longer needs the same amount to function, and increase exercise, specifically programs that address the problem areas.
Keeping a good and healthy spiritual perspective will be important when adjusting to the new look that comes with growing older. The last chapter in the book of Proverbs is devoted to the description of a virtuous and beautiful woman. Although the passage never describes the physical beauty of the woman, we are told that she dresses in lovely clothing, is considered as dignified, and that she cares very deeply for her family and also for those who are less fortunate. It's wise to seek to obtain the virtues that God finds important, and not necessarily what billboards and magazines try to sell us. "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies." (Proverbs 31:10)
The best defense against menopause causing weight gain during perimenopause is to get involved with a health program. Eating right and eating less can go along way in maintaining a fit figure and a healthy body. Also, exercise is important to the body, as it tones muscles, keeps bones strong, and increases mental stimulations. Women who are experiencing some of the signs associated with the change of life will want to get help in addressing these symptoms and also begin to consider an over-all health plan that includes diet changes and an increase in activity levels. Speak with doctors before making in drastic changes and be sure to follow medical care instructions carefully.