Tag Archives: menopause

Could Estrogen Help Depression?

Every once in a while, you may feel a bit gloomy, disappointed, or stressed. However, depression is much more than just having a bad day. Depression is a serious mood disorder that can make simple tasks such as eating, working, and sleeping much more sad, anxiety, depression, menopause, mental healthdifficult. A recent study has found that low estrogen levels in some women may be linked to depression.

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), depression occurs when you have several of the following symptoms for more than two weeks.

  • persistent sad mood
  • hopelessness
  • loss of interest in things that were once enjoyable
  • decreased energy
  • trouble focusing or making decisions
  • appetite or weight changes
  • thoughts of taking one’s own life
  • aches or pains with no clear cause

Also, a person may be at higher risk for depression if they have a family history of the condition. Major life changes or chronic health problems may also increase their risk. Most recently, a study in Menopause showed that a lack of estrogen exposure may put women at higher risk for depression.

The study looked at 1300 women and their level of estradiol exposure related to their depression risk. It was found that those with higher levels of estradiol exposure from the onset of menstruation to menopause had lower levels of depression.  Also, those women who had longer term use of birth control had a lower risk of the condition.  It is important to know that the number of pregnancies and use of breastfeeding did not impact these results.

There is no cause and effect of low estrogen and depression, but these study results are still important.  This is because those with earlier menopause, more frequent hot flashes, and less frequent periods all were at higher risk for depression.  Hormone changes are likely to blame for this. During such times during and after menopause, women are at much higher risk for depression than others.

Therefore, if you feel you may be dealing with depression, there are many resources for help.  There is no one treatment that will help everyone. First of all, let your doctor know if you are feeling depressed. Your doctor may be able to provide medicines that may make dealing with your depression easier to deal with. Also, they could test your hormone levels and provide hormone supplements that may reduce symptoms. Other resources for depression are listed below.

  • Talk therapy with a licensed health care provider can help you talk about your feelings. Such counseling can help you manage your stress better and cope with life issues in a healthy way.
  • Being more active through walking, running, gardening, or other exercises. The fresh air from nature and the “feel good” hormones released during exercise can help improve mood.
  • Spending time with other people such as family, friends, or support groups can improve your mood. Talking with others that care about you and your health can help you see that you are not alone in dealing with life’s issues.
  • Setting realistic goals for yourself can make life easier to deal with. Taking small steps towards your goals can make life seem less overwhelming. You should celebrate each small victory and don’t be afraid to ask others for help along the way.
  • Ask your doctor about trying certain supplements such as Estrosa by Vitasciences.  Estrosa contains compounds such as Black Cohosh that have been found to help relieve the hot flashes, weight gain, bloating, and mood swings related to menopause. For both women and men, Elevia by Vitasciences helps boost serotonin levels which can improve mood and calm the mind.

Also, foundations such as Hope for Depression provide valuable resources to help those depression, foundationwith depression learn more about the condition. Also,  this foundation helps support research efforts to find better treatments for those with depression.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Medline Plus (July 21, 2017) “Estrogen May Influence Women’s Depression Risk” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167353.html

National Institute of Mental Health (October 2016) “Depression” https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

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Could Obesity Increase Your Risk For Hot Flashes?

As you get older, it can be harder to lose weight due to loss of lean muscle mass. In women, aging can also bring menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, anxiety, dry skin, mood swings, as well as weight gain.  Recent research shows that there may be a link to being obese and having intense hot flashes.

A study in the journal Menopause looked at 750 Brazilian women between 45 and 60 years old. Obese women had more intense hot flashes that impacted daily living and work performance than those non-obese women. It is suggested that body fat acts as insulation, which traps heat in the body.

Joint pain, muscle pain, and urinary issues can also greatly impact obese women. This can be due to the extra pressure that excess body fat has on the bones, muscles, and organs. It is suggested that maintaining a healthy body weight can help improve quality of life in women as they age. Losing weight and staying within a healthy range is not easy. However, follow these tips to help get to menopause, hot flashes, obesityand keep a healthy weight for life.

  • Consume a healthy balanced diet by limiting processed and convenience foods. Processed and convenience foods contain more sugar, fat, and sodium than their whole food counterparts. Instead, focus more on consuming lean proteins, fiber-rich fruits and veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Stay active most days of the week.  Exercise such as walking, gardening, dancing, biking, or stair-climbing can all benefit health. At least 30 minutes of exercise for most days of the week can help heart health and weight management.
  • See a doctor on a regular basis. When you are overweight, going to the doctor can be a scary thing. The doctor’s office may be a place where such people have been told to lose weight without getting to voice other health concerns.  However, it is still very important to visit a healthcare provider at least once a year. Early detection of health problems can prevent chronic disease.  Visit the doctor more often if you already have chronic health issues such as heart disease or diabetes.
  • Have vitamin levels checked. Recent research is finding there may be a link between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of overweight or obesity in children. Also, a 2013 study found a link between vitamin B12 deficiency and being overweight or obese. This research shows the importance of checking for vitamin levels to prevent health issues.  Therefore, ask your doctor to have these extra labs checked each year.
  • Have thyroid and hormone levels checked. Thyroid disorders and hormone imbalances can cause weight gain and make it hard to manage weight.  Medication can help with treatment of such conditions if diagnosed. Therefore, ask your doctor to test for your levels if weight gain is difficult even with diet and exercise.
  • Take supplements such as Estrosa by Vita Sciences.  This supplement contains natural black cohosh and the antioxidant resveratrol. Estrosa can help reduce hot flashes, bloating, weight gain and mood swings.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Abraham, S.B, et al (January 2013) “Cortisol, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome: A cross-sectional study of obese subjects and review of the literature” Obesity, 21(1):  E105-E117.

American Thyroid Association (accessed June 3, 2017) “Thyroid and Weight” https://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-and-weight/

Baltaci, D., et al. (August 2013). “Association of vitamin B12 with obesity, overweight, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, and body fat composition; primary care-based study.” Medicinski glasnik, 10(2):203-10.

Mayo Clinic. (April 21, 2016). “Menopause weight gain: Stop the middle age spread” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/basics/symptoms/con-20019726

MedlinePlus (May 31, 2017) Obese Women May Have More Intense Hot Flashes” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166108.html

Wakayo, T., et al. (April 2016) “Vitamin D Deficiency is Associated with Overweight and/or Obesity among Schoolchildren in Central Ethiopia: A Cross-Sectional Study” Nutrients, 8(4): 190.

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