Estrogen Deficiencies – Combat Menopause with Plants

July 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Conscious Living, Hanna Kroeger, Hanna Remedies, Healthy Living, Herbs for

Woman suffering from fatigueExperiencing the symptoms of estrogen deficiency and want a natural way to find balance? We’ve got you covered. Menopause is often referred to as “the big change” and that’s for a BIG reason. Hot flashes, night sweats, depression, insomnia, decreased libido and fatigue are only a sampling of the common complaints from women who are entering menopause. These symptoms are greatly due to the fact that there is a hormonal imbalance in the body, namely estrogen. Menopausal difficulties are a reality that women have been aware of for centuries! In ancient China, menopausal women would drink the urine of pregnant women to treat their symptoms as the concentration of estrogen in the urine was so high. Thank goodness we have moved on from this ancient practice and now know there are easier (and perhaps more appetizing) ways to treat hormonal imbalances.

Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Cognitive impairment (difficulties with focus, memory and concentration)
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Urinary frequency and urgency
  • Decreased libido
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue

Women’s bodies need estrogen in order to function properly and, as the list above reveals, an imbalance can bring on a myriad of complaints. Receptors for estrogen are located in the brain, heart and vaginal tissues and when the hormone (estrogen) is not there to interact with the receptors, the body cannot function properly and symptoms of estrogen deficiency are seen. Vaginal dryness, hot flashes and night sweats get most of the attention as symptoms of menopause but there are important issues like lack of focus, concentration, memory, poor sleep quality, and decreased energy and mood. While hot flashes can be annoying and cause suffering, choosing to only temporarily relieve the symptoms (like standing in front of your freezer) means the other issues are being ignored.

You wouldn’t put a bandage on your head if you had a headache so why treat the symptoms of estrogen deficiency by opening a window, turning the air conditioning temperature down or taking a cold shower?

Conventional medicine will indicate that antidepressants are the answer to thwarting the issue of brain and mood health, this is not the answer for everyone. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs for short, are often prescribed to women who are undergoing changes in estrogen levels and want to address their struggle with these sometimes frightening issues. Prozac is an example of an SSRI and while those types of medications may soothe the symptoms of depression, mood swings, sleep issues, hot flashes or night sweats, they are not what the body needs. These medications are a weak substitute for the real thing and the real thing is estrogen. 

Because research dollars (generally provided by pharmaceutical companies) are spent on synthetic drugs that can be manufactured for a profit and patented there are more bells and whistles touting their benefits than natural choices like bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormones are generally extracted from plants and are biochemically identical to the hormones our bodies make. Pharmaceutical companies cannot patent a plant and make a big profit so the research surrounding these materials is not as extensive as synthetics. However, the research we do have shows that these natural materials are much safer and better tolerated than synthetics and can address the symptoms of menopause because they are what the body needs.

Why would you take an antidepressant when what your body actually needs is estrogen? Well, simply put… maybe because that’s what you have been told.

Hormonal health is about balance and during perimenopause (the stage the body is experiencing before going into menopause) as well as menopause, the balance of hormones in the body is lacking. So, what can you do to balance out your levels of estrogen and ease the transition, lessen the symptoms of menopause and get your body back on track? HRT to the rescue!

What is HRT? Hormone Replacement Therapy is a treatment for women who use estrogen, progesterone and occasionally androgen hormones to augment the decline of naturally produced hormones, especially during menopause. This type of therapy is used to help women with the effects of menopause and reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. Synthetic medications that first became available in the 1940’s led to a considerable increase of endometrial cancer, a higher incidence of breast tenderness, water retention, high blood pressure and gallbladder disease. Recent studies indicate a significantly increased risk for breast cancer and uterine cancers by as much as 20 to 30 percent are present for women who choose synthetic HRT and  The American Heart Association has changed its position and is now recommending that HRT not be used for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. Synthetic estrogen increases the susceptibility of the blood to thicken and clot, which is the leading cause of heart attacks. This can be especially threatening to those suffering from heart disease.

accent_hannashandsBecause of diet within Asian and Mediterranean cultures, women there suffer from the effects of menopause less than their peers in Western cultures and tend to have fewer health complications with heart disease and hormone related issues. These two groups of women ingest a concentration of isoflavones because of their soy-rich or legume-rich diets, respectively. Isoflavones are a type of antioxidant that regulate the breakdown and excretion of sex hormones in the body and contain a plant-derived hormonally active compound that relates in structure to estrogen called phytoestrogens. Your body can utilize phytoestrogens, if needed, and can beneficially alter hormone metabolism without the side effects associated with synthetic estrogen.

For women who wish to address the symptoms of estrogen deficiency without placing a strain on the rest of their body, there is an answer and its as simple as the hormones produced in plants! The bioidentical hormones we were talking about can not only ease your body through the symptoms but also help to rid them altogether. Best news yet, you’ve got options!

Black cohosh is a popular herb for women and a respected source of phytoestrogens. This herb has traditionally been used by native Americans and early settlers for easing child birth and menstrual irregularities. Since the 1940’s, studies have attributed estrogen-like activities to black cohosh. By the 1950’s, physicians in Germany adopted black cohosh as an alternative to synthetic hormones, which were showing unwanted side effects. Many studies dating back to this time indicate the usefulness and safety of black cohosh in the treatment of premenopausal and menopausal symptoms including a decrease in the severity and duration of hot flashes; an improvement of depressive moods and sleep disturbance, sweating, headache, vertigo, palpitations, tinnitus, and a reduction of nervousness and irritability.

Researchers in Germany found black cohosh to have an effect on pituitary hormone levels, considerably and selectively decreasing luteinizing hormone. A surge in the release of luteinizing hormone has been linked to hot flashes. German studies over the decades continue to find black cohosh as having safe and effective results as a suitable treatment of choice in menopausal symptoms.

Red Clover Tea - image credit: www.poundoftea.com -Red clover contains more isoflavones and phytoestrogens than soy, with biochanin A, daidzein, formononetin, and genistein being the most active. Red clover’s isoflavone content may help improve heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and relaxing the smooth muscle lining of the arteries thus increasing arterial flexibility. Red clover’s phytoestrogens can be a wonderful benefit during menopause to help smooth the transition by offering phytoestrogens when needed and helping avert issues caused by a decline in estrogen levels. Research suggests that red clover may increase bone mass and decrease the incidence and severity of hot flashes during menopause.

Hanna, understanding the needs of the-ever changing woman, created Female Balance to ease mood swings, hormonal imbalance and the complaints associated with menopause. Like so many other Hanna Kroeger original products, Female Balance was ahead of its time as she blended contains black cohosh root, anise seed, yellow dock root, and ginger root to create a formula that maintains the delicate balance of the body. The blend of herbs in this formula have been used for centuries by herbalists as well as by modern day physicians for women’s hormonal conditions.

As reported above, both science and traditional folk herbalism herald black cohosh as one of the great female herbs for supporting healthy menstrual and menopausal transitions. Thanks to research, physicians and herbalists in Germany now prescribe this herb to regulate the female reproductive cycle. Anise has a folklore reputation for relieving spasms that often accompany menstruation, harmonizing digestion, and supporting healthy elimination. Traditional herbalism credits black cohosh, anise, yellow dock, and ginger with providing nourishment, reinvigorating the body, and having benefits for the liver. Herbalists believe the liver regulates blood flow and hormone levels during the varying phases of the monthly cycle and during menopause.

iStock_000003828769SmallWhile menopause and the “big change” cannot be avoided, it can be eased and it is possible to do so without the unwanted side effects of synthetic estrogen. Women’s bodies need estrogen and there shouldn’t be any risk associated with introducing the hormone into your system. Choose wisely and choose naturally. Your body may have slowed the production of estrogen and the estrogen receptors in your brain, heart and vaginal tissues may begin to signal a warning cry that there is a need but that doesn’t mean you need to answer the call with an antidepressant and a synthetic hormone that will cause more harm than good. Within our Women’s Health Section of our online store we have several natural products that we believe in to help you with a variety of complaints and issues associated with menopause. Take a look at these products and see that there’s more out there than what the doctor orders and learn more from this post, Herbs for Menopause.

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