Menopause Symptom Research
Research into menopause is producing new and interesting findings every day and while we still have a long way to go. Access to new information is giving us greater insight into how we can preserve our health during the menopausal transition. This includes research into menopausal symptoms that many women may have experienced unknowingly.
April 30, 2021 Update
Menopause and Stress Research
Chronic stress has been shown to negatively affect overall health in various ways. Stress’s impact on menopausal women’s health and symptoms is no exception. Stress reduction plays a critical role in regulating stress hormone levels in menopausal and postmenopausal women. This study looks at the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and psychoeducation on the reduction of menopausal symptom severity caused by stress. It looks at how certain stress coping mechanisms may help lower the impact of stress on menopausal symptoms like vasomotor symptoms, mood swings, and so on.
The relationships between stress and fatigue in menopausal women may provide insight into how stressors affect metabolism, neurological functions, and overall energy. Stress-induced fatigue can often be intensified by menopausal symptoms. This study looks at the contributing factors of stress in women’s daily lives among different age cohorts. It looks at the differences between women with different employment statuses, familiar responsibilities, and more to understand the complexity behind individual stressors that may contribute to overall worsened menopausal symptoms.
Estradiol is the strongest form of natural estrogen produced in the body. As women undergo perimenopause into menopause, estradiol fluctuations impact levels of other hormones, including stress hormones. These hormonal changes can make women more sensitive to stressors and susceptible to worsening menopausal symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes, and depressive symptoms. This study attempts to understand the correlation between estradiol fluctuations and the rise in stress hormone sensitivity in women.
Psychological health encompasses a variety of mental health concerns. It includes things like emotional health, ability to implement coping mechanisms, mood-stabilization, and even certain cognitive functions (i.e. concentration and memory). This study looks at the impact of menopausal symptoms on psychological health and pre-existing psychological health problems in mid-life women.
Stressors have an impact on psychological health and overall menopausal health in women as they undergo perimenopause and menopause. Having strong social supports are seen as a valuable asset in helping reduce the impact of stress on the brain and body. This study looks at the impacts of stress on women’s menopausal symptoms and overall quality of life compared between women with strong support ecosystems versus women without strong support ecosystems, among other variables.
April 22, 2021 Update
Menopause and Respiratory Health Research
Respiratory health can change quite drastically as women age, but the effects of menopause and the loss of the sex hormones may be one of the biggest contributing factors to these respiratory changes. Changes to hormone levels have an impact on the body’s natural immune system, making it more difficult for the body to control its inflammatory response. Additionally, changes to estrogen and progesterone levels can impact the circulation of blood, making it more difficult to maintain proper blood flow. These changes subsequently impact the health of the lungs and can make it more difficult for women of menopausal and postmenopausal ages to maintain their respiratory health. This study looks at the impact of menopause on accelerated lung function decline.
Obstructions in the lungs can be caused by a variety of factors. Oftentimes structural alterations like cysts and tumors appear in lung tissues, especially in people with a long habit of smoking. For menopausal and postmenopausal women the risk of these obstructions can increase. This study looks at the effects of menopause on overall lung functions as well as the effects of menopausal hormone therapy use on the potential increased risk of certain lung cancers.
Lung cancer affects just as many women as men in the U.S., and the relationship between menopausal status and the risk of lung cancer in women may exist. This study looks at the risk of lung cancer among women of different ages across different stages of menopause, particularly premenopausal women and postmenopausal women. It looks at the effects of smoking and second-hand smoke on the immune functions of women of these different age groups to determine which group may be at higher risk of developing lung cancer.
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory condition that causes the airways to become narrow, tissues begin to swell, and produce extra mucus along the walls of the airways. All of these make it more difficult for people to take in a breath. People with asthma often have difficulties with exercise or general high-intensity physical activities. This study looks at the potential impact of sex hormones on bronchial asthma and overall lung functions, especially as women undergo menopause.
Pulmonary function tests are tests that measure how well the lungs are working. These tests measure lung capacity, volume, and rates of flow. The changes made to the sex hormones during the menopausal transition seem to effect the function of the lungs to some degree. This study looks at the potential effects of sex hormones on pulmonary functions like lung capacity and rates of airflow in premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
April 15, 2021 Update
Surgically Induced Menopause Research
Women who undergo surgically-induced menopause are often at higher risk of developing serious conditions and suffering intense menopausal symptoms as the transition into menopause is completely taken away. Surgeries like bilateral oophorectomies and hysterectomies cause women to go immediately into menopause as the body is no longer able to produce estrogen. Without the gradual transition into natural menopause, the rapid changes to women’s bodies can make it more difficult for them to manage weight, hot flashes, brain health, bone health, and heart health. This study looks at the effects of surgically-induced menopause on young women and the potential treatment methods.
Surgical menopause is associated with more immediate presentations of menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, and more. What are the effects of surgically-induced menopause on cognitive functions and overall brain health? Changes to cognitive functions occur after the complete depletion of estrogen. Memory is one of the more heavily affected areas of cognitive function in women after they go through menopause. This study looks at the association between surgical menopause and the risk of dementia.
Postmenopausal osteoporosis is one of the most common conditions among women over the age of 60. Osteoporosis is a bone condition that affects the bone mineral density of the skeletal system, making bones become more porous, brittle, and susceptible to fractures. Women with osteoporosis have more issues with mobility later on in life and supporting bone health becomes more difficult as women age. This study looks at the impact of early menopause on osteoporosis severity vs natural menopause.
More women have died of heart disease than men every year for about 40 years. While heart disease affects both men and women, women seem to have a much higher risk of developing multiple heart conditions or more serious heart conditions and less are commonly treated for them. This is because women can often present different symptoms for heart disease than men. For women who undergo surgical menopause, the effects of the sudden transition into menopause may impact cardiovascular health even further. This study looks at the effects of estrogen loss in surgical menopause and natural menopause and their effects on the functions of the heart, particularly the risk of coronary artery disease.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common illnesses among women of menopausal and postmenopausal ages. This is due to the changes in sex hormone levels and their effects on the circulation of blood and health of blood vessels. Blood pressure is heavily affected during the menopausal transition, with rises in blood pressure being the most common changes to cardiovascular health. This study looks at the risks of high blood pressure and related arterial health problems in women who undergo surgical menopause vs women who undergo natural menopause.
April 8, 2021 Update
Menopause and Nervous System Health Research
The nervous system is responsible for signaling between nerve cells to regulate multiple functions like mobility, thought, concentration, memory, and more. When the nervous system begins to deteriorate, these functions are disrupted and can even disappear depending on the severity of the damage. Estrogen’s impact on nervous system functions may present a challenge to the health of menopausal and postmenopausal women. This study looks at the effects of the menstrual cycle during the menopausal transition on autonomic nervous system functions in women with and without sleep disorders, primarily insomnia. The results observed were an increased irregularity in sleep patterns and higher percentage of damage done to the autonomic nervous system in women with menopausal transition insomnia.
Central nervous system neurotransmitters regulate various functions like moods, reward, and motivation. When the body cannot effectively produce and release these neurotransmitters it becomes more difficult for the central nervous system to maintain stable moods, release neurochemicals that help reinforce reward after task completion, and maintain energy required for self-motivation. This study looks at the potential impact of estrogen and estrogenic compounds on central nervous system neurotransmission functions, and the implications hormonal imbalances may have on mental disorders (like mood disorders).
Women of postmenopausal ages experience more issues with nervous system health and general functions. These changes can cause limited mobility, issues with memory, and more. Nerve conduction is the rate at which electrical impulses pass from nerve cell to nerve cell throughout the body. Measuring nerve conduction velocity (NCV) can help identify damage done to the nervous system. This study looks at the changes to NCV in postmenopausal women as and the effects of complete estrogenic decline on the health of nervous system functions.
The nervous system, like many other bodily systems, are regulated by the brain. As women age and undergo menopause, the changes made in sex hormone levels affect the brain’s health. Brain aging impacts everything from DNA repair of cells and neuroprotective capabilities that keep brain cells free of illnesses. This study looks at estrogen’s impact on the brain’s ability to maintain the health of its various cells and how menopause impacts the immune response in the brain.
Mitochondria play a variety of essential roles in cellular regulation. Without mitochondria, cells cannot regulate energy to maintain cellular functions and eventually die. During the perimenopausal stage, the fluctuations and eventual decline in estrogen levels affect the health of mitochondrial membranes. This increases the risk of oxidative stress in cells that can lead to severe cell damage and cell death. This is especially risky for the health of brain cells, as essential brain functions like memory begin to decline, leading to Alzheimer’s and other related conditions. This study looks at the effects of estrogen on mitochondrial health and the potential solutions to help maintain cellular activity in brain cells.
April 2, 2021 Update
Menopause and Alcohol Consumption Research
Research into the effects of high-volume alcohol consumption on various metabolic processes have observed a strong correlation between alcohol and overall health in menopausal and postmenopausal women. Increases in alcohol consumption in women’s lifestyles are influenced by various factors including stress, familial obligations, interpersonal relationships, and financial instability. This study looks at the level of alcohol consumption across women in different stages of their reproductive lives and how that changes in women entering menopause versus women exiting menopause.
Beer is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in the American diet. Although beer tends to be a lower alcohol percentage, it can still have an impact on women’s health as they transition through menopause. The risk of alcohol-related liver disease increases as women undergo menopause and many women have difficulty maintaining weight, especially if they consume high quantities of beer which is calorie dense. This study, however, looks at the effects of beer polyphenols on vasomotor symptoms in women in menopause.
The increased risk of certain cancers has been observed in individuals who participate in high-quantity alcohol consumption. This risk has been observed particularly in women as they transition through menopause. The changes made to the sex hormones during the menopausal transition may be additionally impacted by alcohol consumption. This study looks at the effects of alcohol on estrogen metabolites and if these metabolites are significantly changed to the point where menopause symptoms become more severe.
The risk of breast cancer increases as women age. While there are many factors that contribute to this increased risk, alcohol consumption is one of the lesser understood factors. Alcohol’s effects on the body, especially estrogen metabolites in women as they progress through menopause, may have an impact on the rate at which estrogen proliferation occurs (which often leads to the creation of masses in breast tissues). This overview looks at the effects of alcohol consumption on breast tissue alterations in women across different age groups.
Sexual health in menopause encompasses a wide variety of factors like psychological factors, physical health (i.e. vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy), and interpersonal factors between menopausal women and their sexual partners. This study looks at the effects of high-volume alcohol consumption on sexual functions in postmenopausal women. It looks specifically into the physical and psychological symptoms of decreased sexual functions that can occur in postmenopausal women.
March 26, 2021 Update
Early Menopause/Premature Menopause Research
Early menopause is the onset of menopause before the age of 45, usually between the ages of 41 and 45. Premature menopause is the onset of menopause before the age of 40, usually between the ages of 35 and 40 (sometimes even younger depending on the circumstances). While there are many factors that can affect the onset of menopause, this study looks at the impact of nutrition and diet on the risk of early menopause in women of different backgrounds, particularly between women living in the United States and women living in Korea. This study shows that certain nutritional and dietary habits contributed to the rise in the number of early menopause cases.
Early menopause, also referred to as primary ovarian insufficiency or premature ovarian failure, affects up to 200,000 women every year in the United States. Early menopause is marked by the complete loss of estrogen before the age of 45. Early menopause is associated with an increased risk of various medical concerns like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Early menopause is also associated with an increased risk of early death. This study looks at the various causes and contributing factors of early menopause and how they can impact overall health and the risk of developing certain health problems.
Cognitive functions become heavily affected by the menopause transition. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease and early onset dementia increases with the loss of sex hormones. Changes to memory, concentration, energy, and general focus can all be seen throughout each stage of menopause. This study looks at the effects of menopause on various cognitive functions in women of different types of menopause, natural menopause, premature and early menopause, and induced menopause (caused by surgery chemotherapy, or radiation).
Early menopause has been associated with an increased risk of many health concerns including cognitive impairments, heart disease, osteoporosis, immune system functions, and reproductive functions. There are many factors that can contribute to the onset of menopause prior to the median age (around 51). These can include lifestyle habits such as diet, nutrition, exercise, and general habits (i.e., alcohol consumption or smoking). This study looks at the effects of dietary proteins from vegetables and how they may help reduce the risk of early menopause in women.
Most cases of early menopause are induced forms of menopause, particularly surgically induced menopause. Surgically induced menopause is caused by the removal of the uterus or the ovaries. The surgical removal of the uterus is called a hysterectomy. The surgical removal of the ovaries is called a bilateral oophorectomy. This review looks at the impact of surgically induced menopause on a variety of health concerns, the development of certain conditions and diseases, and the general impact on the many bodily processes that are regulated by sex hormones.
March 18, 2021 Update
Menopause and Psychological Health Research
We know that the changes to sex hormones during the menopausal transition can have an impact on mood regulation and general emotions, but can menopause have a long-term negative impact on psychological health? This study measures the impact of menopause and menopausal symptoms on women’s mental health, in a sample size of over 4,500 subjects. It shows that the severity and frequency of menopausal symptoms do contribute to the quality of life, and that may have an impact on the psychological and mental health of women undergoing menopause.
Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. Depression is one of the leading causes of mental and physical illness and its impact on the quality of life in menopausal women is significant. This study looks at the effects of perimenopausal depression on quality of life, social relationships, and general functional capability (i.e. concentration, ability to maintain routines, etc.). The results show that there is a significant impact of perimenopausal/menopausal depression on all three of these areas and overall quality of life.
Social relationships and a healthy support ecosystem are essential to maintaining positive mental health. As women progress through menopause, these aspects of life may shift and change. These changes can exacerbate the intensity of certain menopausal symptoms like mood swings and even contribute to the increased risk of peri/menopausal depression. This study looks at the impact of different socio-cultural perceptions surrounding menopause, and their effects on menopausal depression in women.
Emotional menopause symptoms and mood changes are heavily affected by hormonal factors, genetic factors, and lifestyle factors. Depressive symptoms are some of the most common mood symptoms for women to experience as they progress through menopause. This study looks at the impact of depressive determinants like genetics, sex hormone changes, and environmental factors on the increase of depressive symptoms in middle aged women (age group of 40 to 60). The results found that the highest presentation of depressive symptoms occurred in women in menopause and the early postmenopausal stages.
Due to the high volume of midlife women experiencing depressive symptoms and other emotional symptoms of menopause, this study aims to identify coping mechanisms that women can implement to help improve and stabilize moods, as well as improve the quality of life for menopausal women overall. The most essential takeaways from this review are to improve diet, maintain regular physical activity, and incorporate phytoestrogens (estrogen-like compounds) to help maintain steady estrogen levels and reduce hormonal fluctuations that contribute to emotional symptom changes.
February 23, 2021 Update
Menopause and Pancreatic Health Research
Pancreatic fat content has been observed to increase as women age and undergo the menopausal transition. This has become a cause of concern among physicians and medical experts as higher fat content within the pancreas has been linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis. This study looks at the effects of changes to sex hormones in the deposition of fat cells and the increase of insulin resistance, which can also lead to the development of diabetes.
Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. This occurs when digestive enzymes start to consume the pancreas itself. Studies have shown that there is an increased risk of developing insulin resistance (insulin being produced in the pancreas) as women undergo the menopausal transition. Researchers have also noticed an increase in pancreatic fat content, which has led many to question whether or not hormone-related changes influence the development of pancreatitis. This study looks at the effects of estrogenic changes, whether through oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy for women in menopause, on the increased risk of pancreatitis.
Researchers have found an increase in the number of menopausal and postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes. This study looks at the effects of menopause on insulin resistance, blood glucose levels, insulin secretion, and overall pancreatic health among women treated with HRT and women who are not treated with HRT. Although some alternations were noticed to the body’s ability to secrete insulin, other risk factors were noticed among menopausal women using HRT as a treatment option.
More and more older women are becoming at risk of developing pancreatitis, and many may already be suffering from acute pancreatitis. This study takes a comprehensive look at all factors that may impact the development of pancreatitis in menopausal/postmenopausal women. These factors include things like healthcare quality and access, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, as well as lifestyle factors like alcohol consumption and smoking habits.
Studies have shown that there may be dietary patterns that can help lower the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, especially among older women. This study looks at the effects of a low-fat diet as a preventative method to help lower the risk of pancreatic cancer (and other pancreatic conditions). Although there was an observed lowered risk in women who adhered toa low-fat diet, more research must be conducted to take other factors into account (i.e. genetics, and other pre-existing conditions) to produce more conclusive findings.
February 8, 2021 Update
Menopause and Oral Health Research
Does the health of your mouth change due to menopause? Research tells us there may be a correlation between the two. This research study found that within this study group, around 10 percent of women 55 or older were missing teeth, and many had suffered this tooth loss and other oral related health concerns largely because of periodontitis. This study looks at the impact of the decrease in sex hormones on the health of teeth, gums, and oral microbiota in an effort to understand the effects of menopause on the development of periodontitis and other oral health concerns.
Studies have shown that there is a noticeable increase in tooth loss among postmenopausal women. It’s thought that the changes to sex hormone levels impact the health of oral microbiota and the strength of teeth. This study looks at the impact of postmenopausal related conditions on tooth loss, like osteoporosis, hypertension, as well as additional health concerns like diabetes, and nutrition deficiencies.
We’ve talked about how gut microbiota can change during the menopausal transition, but oral microbiota can change as well. Your mouth has several distinct populations of microbiota made of hundreds of different bacterial strains. These microbiota help maintain your mouth’s health, they secrete enzymes that help you break down foods and they continuously help defend your mouth against infections from foreign bacteria or viruses. So how do changes to estrogen levels affect the health of your mouth’s bacteria? This study looks at the signaling relationship between your microbiota, your estrogen levels, and your brain that’s responsible for maintaining your mouth’s health.
Lowering estrogen levels causes alternations to bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. This same bone density loss affects the strength of teeth. The structural changes made to teeth may also have an impact on the increase of oral diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis. This study looks at the effects of tooth loss on the population density of certain bacterial strains that make up oral microbiota. The results found were that around 77% of women with osteoporosis/osteopenia were also afflicted with periodontitis.
Could our saliva be altered during and after menopause? Research says yes! The rate at which saliva gets produced and glows, as well as the pH of saliva, may change as a result of the changes to sex hormone levels. This study looks at the salivary rate and pH of saliva in menstruating and postmenopausal women to gain a better understanding of the differences prior to and after menopause. The result shows the differences in normal salivation rates and hyposalivation between women of different age averages, pH imbalances, as well as effects on overall oral health (teeth, gums, tongue, etc.).
January 25, 2021 Update
Menopause and Joint Health Research
Osteoarthritis is caused by the decrease in cartilage that cushions the joints between different bones. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, especially in people over 50. Women of menopausal and postmenopausal ages are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis as a result of lowered bone mineral density that is seen to occur alongside the decrease of estrogens. This study looks at the potential to restore or heal these decreases in cartilage reduction and bone mineral density reduction.
Rheumatic diseases often fall under autoimmune and inflammatory disorders in which the body starts to attack cells in the joints, muscles, bones, and organs. Rheumatoid arthritis is a growing concern among women of menopausal age, as the decreases in estrogen can impact the reduction of bone density and cartilage tissues. This study aims to look at the impact of the menopausal transition on preexisting conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and the interactions it has with different treatment methods.
Physical activity can become more strenuous as women age and undergo menopause. The changes that occur in joints, cartilage, and bone density can all impact the range of motion, the potential for fractures, and the overall pain or discomfort that women experience in their daily lives. This study looks a the potential modifying capabilities of certain treatment methods to measure their impact on physical activity patterns and joint pain symptoms.
Degenerative arthritis conditions like KOA, result from the deterioration of cartilage and the underlying bones. Conditions like KOA is especially common among women in comparison to men. This study looked at the possible correlations between reproductive sex hormones and the rate of degeneration of cartilage and bones in KOA and similar conditions. This study looks at the effects of oral contraceptives, HRT, and other hormonal medicines/treatments on KOA to determine if they increased the risk factors of KOA development.
Studies have shown that there is a possible correlation between the use of hormone replacement therapy (or other hormone-related products like contraceptives) and an increased risk in the development of osteoarthritis and other related conditions. Researchers have turned to look at the effects of herbal and other alternative treatments to help with these conditions. This study looks a the effect of herbal extracts on osteoarthritis and their effects on inflammation in the joints.
December 10, 2020 Update
Menopause and Brain Health Research
Sex hormones have an impact on virtually every system in the body. Estrogen receptors can be found everywhere in the female body, and the brain is one of the most heavily affected by estrogen levels. Memory lapses, a decreased ability to concentrate, and changes to mood regulation can all be seen during the different stages of menopause. Understanding the relationship between estrogen and cognitive mechanisms like brain metabolism and neuroprotective processes is crucial to identifying the impact of estrogen on things like memory, mood, and concentration. This study looks at the changes to certain cognitive processes between perimenopausal and menopausal women.
Brain connectivity is used to describe the patterns and processes of information sharing between different parts of the brain and nervous system. Lowered brain connectivity and cognitive impairment (like memory disorders) can occur simultaneously, but not always. For women, the danger of impaired cognitive function and altered brain connectivity is centralized more around memory disorders, diseases like Alzheimer’s, and early-onset dementia. This study is designed to measure the impact of low estrogen levels in postmenopausal women on cognitive functions, and determine how much cognitive impairment is a result of the change to the levels in sex hormones.
Roughly two-thirds of people living with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease are women. Women are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than men of similar ages. The increased risk of Alzheimer’s in women is correlated to the change in hormone levels that interact with crucial neurochemicals that keep the brain active and healthy. This research study looks at a 3-year transition period for women of menopausal age by measuring the changes to the brain through imaging technology and attempts to understand the impacts of the sex hormones on memory and other cognitive functions.
Researchers have studied the relationship between the sex hormones and brain health in an attempt to understand how the menopausal transition affects cognitive ability and overall brain health. Yet, the sex hormones alone may not be the only contributing factors to impacting brain health. There may be other neuroprotective factors that the sex hormones influence, like DNA repair. DNA repair is a series of processes in which a cell identifies and corrects damaged DNA molecules that encode for a genome (a series of genes). This study looks at the potential impact of the sex hormones on the DNA repair process in relation to the brain and neuroprotective ability.
The role of sex hormones, primarily estradiol, have an affect on brain health in a number of ways. Yes, sex hormones interact with other neurochemicals to help regulate certain cognitive functions like sleep and memory, but they also help regulate cardiovascular functions that can affect the brain just as significantly. Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), symptoms dealing with the regulation of blood flow, blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and so on, can also have an effect on brain health. This study looks at the relationship between the sex hormones and vasomotor functions to better understand overall brain health for women in the menopausal transition.
December 3, 2020 Update
Menopause and Metabolism Research
When we refer to metabolism, we’re talking about more than metabolizing fats and maintaining weight. Burning and storing fat is only one function of human metabolism. Another function of metabolism is to regulate cellular energy, which can have an impact on how fatigued or alert we feel when our bodies are at rest. This research study looks at the different types of metabolic disorders that can arise or be affected by the menopausal transition for women across different age groups.
Metabolic Syndrome, more commonly referred to as insulin resistance, often coincides with specific cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and so on. Many things can influence the development of metabolic syndrome, but the most prevalent are sedentary lifestyles coupled with changes in how the body stores and distributes fact, particularly in women undergoing the menopausal transition. This study looks at the impact of the change in sex hormones and the increase in weight gain, the increased risk of metabolic syndrome, and new weight distribution patterns in menopausal women.
Sleep deprivation impacts more than just energy, alertness, and mental clarity. It impacts the health of the immune system, the brain’s ability to store and retrieve memory, and even impacts metabolic activity. Immunometabolism becomes more difficult to regulate and maintain as women undergo the menopausal transition. Insomnia is a common menopausal symptom that women can experience, and women who suffer from chronic insomnia in their menopausal years are at a higher risk of developing illnesses and suffering from metabolic syndrome (i.e. diabetes and cardiovascular diseases). This study looks at the relationship between sleep and immunometabolism, more specifically how it impacts weight gain and weight distribution for women in menopause.
Changes to the body’s metabolism in women can develop increasingly depending on the stage of menopause a woman is in. Metabolic syndrome and related metabolic conditions can present themselves as early as perimenopause, depending on a variety of factors including genetics, family medical history, diet, lifestyle, and so on. However, the presentation of increase metabolic syndrome and other conditions more commonly appear in postmenopausal women. This study aims to look at the progression of metabolic syndrome across women in different stages of the menopausal transition.
Menopause’s impact on weight gain and weight distribution can cause a variety of issues for women as they progress through the transition. Fat starts to become regularly distributed in the abdominal cavity, surrounding the vital organs. This can cause a variety of health problems and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity. This review looks at the pathophysiology of weight management in menopausal women and the impact of certain lifestyle changes, among others, to help women better manage weight gain and weight distribution as they go through the different stages of menopause.
November 19, 2020 Update
Menopause and Muscle Health Research
As women go through the menopausal transition, the changes to the sex hormones cause the body to lose muscle mass and decrease the production of muscle tissue cells. There are estrogen receptors throughout the female body, and the changes to estrogen levels can make it difficult for estrogen molecules to bind to estrogen receptors. This study looks at the impacts of the menopausal transition and status of physical activity on the loss of lean muscle mass in women of varying ages.
Estrogen impacts both the muscular system and the skeletal system. The changes to estrogen impact how these systems operate together. Bones begin to lose density, muscle mass begins to decrease, and changes to the ligaments and tendons are marked by the drop in estrogen. Because of these changes, women are at higher risk of suffering from injuries and overall musculoskeletal performance. This research study looks at the relationship between estrogen and the musculoskeletal issues that arise, particularly where everyday responses are concerned and how those changes increase the risk of certain types of injuries.
The protein structures of both the muscular and the skeletal system are heavily affected by changes in the sex hormones during the menopausal transition. Estrogen receptors regulate the production and synthesis of proteins that are created in these two systems. When estrogen fluctuates or depletes, the production of these proteins becomes disrupted. This study looks at the effects of estrogenic regulation on the muscles and the skeleton in premenopausal and postmenopausal women to determine the primary differences in women of those respective age groups.
Indications of improved blood glucose levels and insulin rates in the body can be measured by taking samples from skeletal muscle samples. This research study looks at the impacts of specific estrogen receptors and their effects on glucose disposal rates within the body when estradiol, a certain type of estrogen, is introduced to the body in early postmenopausal women and women later into their postmenopausal stage.
The introduction of hormones, synthetic or bio-identical, has been used to help treat menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms in women for many years. The effects of these hormones can help improve the regulation of certain functions, more specifically in postmenopausal women. This research study looks at the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on muscle mass in postmenopausal women, with the intent to understand if significant enough improvements are made to the structure of proteins that help improve muscle mass.
November 11, 2020 Update
Menopause and Breast Health Research
Estrogen’s impact on breast development is significant in both its benefits and its risks. Estrogen helps promote the development of breast tissues as girls go through puberty, and progesterone helps inhibit the overgrowth of breast tissues, which prevents breast cancer. During pregnancy, the drop in estrogen and progesterone causes the breasts to create and store milk more effectively. Then, after nursing, the levels of estrogen and progesterone start to increase again. However, during menopause, those hormone levels can fluctuate, and make estrogen levels higher than progesterone levels. This imbalance of hormones can increase the risk of breast cancer. This research study examines the impact of estrogen on the mammary glands and its correlation to the risk of breast cancer.
The imbalance between sex hormones is one of the major contributing factors to the increased risk of breast cancer in menopausal and postmenopausal women. Lowering the risk and preventing the development of breast cancer in older women, starts during their younger years. Many preventative methods include limiting alcohol consumption, avoid smoking, and being physically active, but what other methods may be beneficial? This research study takes a look at the possible relationship between the properties of coffee and its impact on breast tissues.
Mastalgia is a condition in which pain arises in the breast tissues. It can affect both men and women. Mastalgia is one of the most common breast symptoms in women. In fact, it can present itself in 70% of women for a considerable portion of their lifetimes. A more specific form of mastalgia, cystic mastalgia, is more closely related to the menstrual cycle in women. Cystic mastalgia is more often produced by the increase of sex hormone levels during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. This study takes a look at the factors affecting mastalgia, especially cystic mastalgia in women ages 45-55 and how they may impact the risk of breast cancer.
As women age the risk of developing certain cancers, like breast cancer, increases. The menopausal transition can cause a variety of effects on women’s overall health, their risk of developing breast cancer, and even their recovery from breast cancer treatments like operations and chemo-therapy. This research study takes a look at the impact of different menopausal stages on symptoms of women prior to and after breast cancer surgery.
Researchers have been looking into the potential relationship between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and breast cancer risk. Hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of breast cancer based on a variety of contributing factors including, individual genetics, family medical history, HRT dosage, individual hormonal makeup, and menopause status. This research study aims to determine the amount of increased risk of breast cancer is presented in patients depending on all of these factors.
November 5, 2020 Update
Menopause and Digestive Health Research
Certain conditions involving inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract are somewhat common in perimenopausal, menopausal, and even postmenopausal women. Inflammatory conditions of this kind can often lead to increased issues with indigestion, heartburn, ulcers, and other complications. One of the possible contributing factors to this increase in gastrointestinal inflammation is oral contraceptives. Oral forms of estrogen have been shown to modify intestinal permeability, which is a critical process in the body and often an indicator of the development of inflammatory bowel disease. This research study aims to look at the impact of oral contraceptives and menopausal hormone therapy on the development of inflammatory bowel disease and what future preventative methods or alternative hormone treatment methods could help lower this risk.
Metabolic health and related conditions like type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases are directly impacted by the depletion of estrogen during the menopausal transition. Estrogen’s impact on metabolism extends far beyond regulating stored fats. It also impacts metabolic energy, fatigue, and blood glucose levels. This research study looks at the impact of dietary changes to help improve metabolic regulation, particularly in managing abnormal lipid metabolism in postmenopausal women.
As women go through the menopausal transition, the changes to sex hormones causes intestinal (gut) permeability to increase. Intestinal permeability is a condition in which the lining of the gut wall loses its structural integrity, which allows more material to pass through the intestines and into the bloodstream. Now, this may seem like a good thing if those materials are strictly nutrients. However, poor gut health with increased gut permeability can actually increase the amount of bad bacteria and other toxins to pass through your intestines and into your bloodstream. This research study looks at the relationship between increased gut permeability, increased inflammatory conditions (particularly in the bowels), and decreased bone density in women undergoing the menopausal transition.
Microscopic colitis is a condition in which the large intestine (particularly the colon) undergoes an increase of inflammation, and it noticeably affects postmenopausal women. While it seems to affect postmenopausal women especially, the relationship between sex hormones and microscopic colitis is not entirely understood. This research study looks at data collected from nearly 230,000 participants to better understand the relationship between hormones and hormone use (HRT) and the development of microscopic colitis.
Studies have shown that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), on average, is more common in women than men. One of the most common gastrointestinal conditions is IBS, and understanding the relationship between sex-gender differences and their effects on the development of IBS is becoming an increasingly important health issue. Not only do sex-gender differences have an impact on the development of conditions like IBS, but they also have an impact on treatment methods. This research study takes a close look at sex-gender differences and how those differences affect the risk of IBS and IBS treatment methods.
October 29, 2020 Update
Menopause and Skin Health Research
Estrogen impacts the skin in a number of ways. Estrogen helps promote the production of collagen, a necessary protein that gives skin its structure. When estrogen decreases during the menopausal transition, collagen cannot be produced as effectively and are often produced at a weaker structural level. This can cause a number of changes to the skin, like an increase in skin dryness, more wrinkles, and loose skin. This research study looks at the effects of phytoestrogens to help promote collagen production, improve skin’s water retention, and lower oxidative stress that skin undergoes from things like UV rays.
Maintaining skin’s health during menopause starts in the gut. Skin needs certain nutrients in order to maintain its structure and immune response. These nutrients include things like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin E, and several forms of Vitamin B. However, the gut has difficulty extracting these nutrients from food as we age. Feeding our gut bacteria additional food sources can help slow down digestion and better extract nutrients to deliver to the skin. This research study looks at the impact of the phytoestrogen, genistein, on the dietary management of nutrient extraction that can help improve skin’s health.
Lowered levels of estrogen result in a lowered bonding rate of estrogen receptors that regulate a variety of functions. Estrogen receptors within the skin help regulate the production of collagen and maintain the skin’s immune response, helping it to avoid oxidative stress. This research study looks at the possible applications of topical therapies, specifically designed to help replace and/or improve the estrogen deficiencies within the skin and help improve bonding rates to estrogen receptors.
Dry skin and wrinkles aren’t the only changes your skin can experience during the menopausal transition. Menopausal acne is a common problem that women face. As your estrogen levels decrease, your body increases the amount of sebum secreted from your skin. Sebum is the oily substance that your skin naturally secretes. It helps your skin retain its moisture. So when estrogen decreases, your body starts to produce more sebum. This increases the amount of oil that buildup in your pores and can attract other bacteria to buildup, causing acne. This research study aims to look at the different challenges in menopausal acne and potential solutions that could help maintain regular skin health.
Melatonin, traditionally associated as a sleep-inducing chemical, also possesses beneficial properties that help the skin. Melatonin helps activate the synthesis of antioxidant enzymes, enzymes that help lower oxidative stress, and maintain the skin’s immune response. This research study looks at the exact relationship between melatonin and the skin, as well as what future treatments using melatonin could do to help protect the skin from more serious conditions.
October 15, 2020 Update
Menopause and Insomnia Research
Chronic postmenopausal insomnia is one of the leading contributing factors to cognitive-behavioral conditions, especially memory-loss conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic insomnia among postmenopausal women is quite common, and the increase of poor sleep quality in women of this age group can have serious health consequences. This study measures the impact of several different treatment methods on sleep quality and insomnia in postmenopausal women.
Adequate sleep and sleep regulation impacts the health of every system in the body, especially the immune system. Insomnia and other sleep deprivation disorders are one of the most significant contributing factors to the development of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and poor immune health. Insomnia can affect women of premenopausal ages and have long-lasting effects on their overall health. This study aims to measure the impact of insomnia on women’s health, especially immunity, through all stages of menopause.
Estrogen’s impact on the body goes beyond the regulation of the sex organs and the blood vessels. Estrogen helps regulate the production and release of sleep-inducing neurotransmitters like melatonin and serotonin. During the menopausal transition, the decrease of estrogen also decreases the production of these necessary sleep hormones, leading to the development of sleep deprivation disorders like insomnia. This study measures the effects of estrogen depletion on melatonin production and the subsequent impact on cellular activity within the brain, particularly where memory and motor functions are concerned.
Hot flashes are one of the greatest contributing factors to sleep deprivation conditions. Women who experience hot flashes during the night report more discomfort when falling asleep and more difficulty staying asleep, as changes to body temperature and profuse sweating make sleeping environments uncomfortable. Menopause’s impact on body temperature regulation can often result in the increase of hot flashes over the course of the menopausal transition. This study looks at the effects of both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment methods on hot flashes and vasomotor functions as means to improve sleep quality.
Hot flashes are one of the greatest causes of insomnia and sleep deprivation in menopausal and postmenopausal women. The decrease in vasomotor functions has led to an increased risk of poor sleep quality and poor cognitive function. Treatment methods for insomnia during the menopausal transition encompass a variety of tactics, everything from cognitive-behavioral adjustments to natural supplements. This study measures the impact of Angus Castus, magnolia extracts, soy isoflavones, and specific lactobacilli strains on vasomotor functions as a way to treat hot flashes and improve sleep quality.
Menopause and Immune Health Research
The menopausal transition has a significant impact on the body as a whole due to the changes it makes to the body’s immune system. Estrogen helps regulate the immune system’s response to all potential threats bacteria, viruses, and even degenerative conditions. Estrogen’s impact on brain function extends beyond directing brain activity, it also helps regulate the brain’s immunity and resistance to illness. This study looks at the impact of estrogen in age-associated neurodegenerative diseases in both perimenopause and postmenopausal women.
Estrogen’s impact on the body’s immune response is so significant, that many researchers have looked into finding ways to mimic the hormone’s many regulatory functions. While synthetic hormones have been uses as a primary alternative, for years, researchers have been looking into the effectiveness of natural compounds like phytoestrogens as a menopausal treatment alternative. This study looks into the effects of phytoestrogens derived from plants on the immune system’s inflammatory response.
The immune response differs between men and women, and this is due, in part, to the differences in sex hormones. The body depends on interactions between hormones to help maintain various functions like sleep, mood, digestion, and even cellular activity. This study looks at the comparative differences of the sex hormones’ impact on the development and activity of immune cells, primarily T-cells in relation to the immune health of other areas of the body, like the brain and the gut microbiome.
Cytokines are proteins responsible for facilitating signals sent from cell to cell. These proteins are vital to the immune system, as they regulate the signals sent between immune-fighting cells, like T-cells, and other cells (like tissue cells or platelets). Estrogen’s impact on the production of cytokines directly affects the immune system, specifically, it’s the ability to send signals to immune cells to help fight against infections. This study looks at the relationship between estrogen and cytokines specifically in the healing process of bone fractures.
It’s estimated that around 78 percent of people living with an autoimmune disorder are women. Autoimmune disorders are conditions in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells. Autoimmune conditions can leave women more vulnerable to degenerative diseases in menopause. This study focuses on finding a connection between women with autoimmune conditions and early menopause, menopause that occurs before the age of 45, and the impacts of both an autoimmune disease and menopause on the body’s inflammatory response and other immune system functions.
Menopause and Cardiovascular Health Research
Blood circulation and body temperature regulation are greatly impacted by menopause. Vasomotor function, the widening, and narrowing of the blood vessels are what cause menopausal hot flashes. Estrogen helps regulate the width of the blood vessels and as estrogen decreases, the blood vessels become wider or narrower in response to certain triggers like changes in outside temperature, caffeine consumption, alcohol consumption, and so on. This study measures the vasomotor response across different stages of menopause.
Coronary heart disease is one of the many cardiovascular diseases that women of menopausal and postmenopausal ages are at risk of developing. The presentation of certain menopausal symptoms could be an indicator of the development of cardiovascular diseases in women at different stages of the menopausal transition. This study aims to understand whether or not the presentation of certain menopausal symptoms are an indicator of coronary heart disease or have an impact on the development of additional heart conditions.
Estrogen helps regulate the function of blood vessels throughout the body. When estrogen decreases, it accelerates vascular aging, making blood vessels stiffen and causes cellular dysfunction in the endothelial cells (the cells that line the interior surface of the blood vessels). This increase in vascular dysfunction can impact other menopausal symptoms as well as increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. This study looks at the impact of menopause on vascular dysfunction and aging in relation to mental health issues like depression and overall quality of life.
Hypertension, or abnormally high blood pressure, affects many postmenopausal women. This is due to the loss of estrogen, as it helps regulate vasomotor functions (the widening and narrowing of blood vessels). Hypertension can be exacerbated by certain triggers like alcohol, caffeine, and especially, stress. This research study measures the effects of cardiovascular exercise training on hypertension in postmenopausal women.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most common endocrine disorders in women of reproductive ages, so how does menopause affect this condition, and more importantly what additional health concerns can arise from it? Cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease and hypertension could be significantly impacted by menopause in women with preexisting polycystic ovarian syndrome. This study looks at the impacts of menopause and blood pressure in postmenopausal women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
October 5, 2020 Update
Menopause Symptoms and Probiotics Research
Probiotics are bacterial strains that populate the gut capable of helping extract nutrients from food, balancing hormone production, and maintaining the health of multiple systems in the body. Research into the multiple effects of probiotics has sparked mainstream interest in its potential health benefits to boosting the immune system, aiding in weight maintenance, and alleviating menopausal symptoms. This study focuses on the effects of dietary prebiotic substances paired with probiotic strains on the human body, particularly concerning metabolism, immune response, and stimulation of cellular activity.
As women age, the risk of developing breast cancer increases. This is due to the fact that the body is exposed to estrogen for long periods of time. Estrogen is responsible for increasing breast tissue production during puberty and long into adulthood, especially during pregnancy. While estrogen levels do drop during menopause, estrogen levels still often remain higher than progesterone levels in the body. Progesterone helps counteract the effects of estrogen and inhibits the overgrowth of breast tissues. This imbalance increases the risk of breast cancer.
The following study measures the potential effects of probiotics in the treatment of breast cancer, and the preventative effects it may have in lowering the risk of developing breast cancer in menopausal and postmenopausal women.
Menopause’s effect on metabolism and insulin sensitivity changes dramatically. As women age and transition from the height of menopause to the postmenopausal stages, it becomes difficult for the body to regulate body fat storage and blood glucose levels. As a result, women are at an increased risk of developing conditions like type 2 diabetes, becoming obese, and suffering from high blood pressure. This study looks at the metabolic effects of probiotics and the potential impacts it may have on managing weight, preventing obesity, and lowering the risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes.
Women can experience a few dozen symptoms at any point in their menopausal journey. Menopausal symptoms don’t always present themselves in similar ways or at similar stages among women. Hot flashes, mood swings, changes to the skin, shifts in weight, allergies, lowered immune response, are just a few of the menopausal symptoms that women can experience. All of which can be impacted by the health of the microbiome. This study takes a closer look at the effects of certain probiotics strains on alleviating menopausal symptoms.
The first waves of menopausal symptoms begin in perimenopause, the stage when women still menstruate but begin to experience more erratic periods. Some of the most common symptoms that perimenopausal women experience are related to mood and mental health. Women in perimenopause may experience mood swings more frequently, increased irritability, anxiety, and depressive episodes. This study focuses on the use of co-supplementation of Vitamin D and probiotics to help impact mental health, hormone levels, and inflammatory responses in pre/perimenopausal women, particularly those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Menopause and Bone Health Research
As women go through the menopausal transition, bone density begins to decrease as a result of the lowering levels of estrogen in the body. Increasing the body’s ability to produce and form new bone tissue cells is essential to maintaining bone health. The use of supplementary sources of calcium has only been able to provide women a fraction of the materials needed to help maintain regular bone tissue growth. This study measures the effects of gut microbiota on the body’s natural metabolism and how that might influence the metabolism and production of bone tissues in menopausal women.
The primary form of estrogen that regulates the production of bone tissues is estradiol. As women transition into menopause, levels of estradiol decrease, making it more difficult for this form of estrogen to bind onto estrogen receptors that are responsible for calcium deposition and bone tissue production. Finding ways to stabilize that decline of estrogen or mimic the regulatory roles of estradiol are the key to slowing the rate of bone density loss in women and lowering the risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis. This study looks at the effects of isoflavones of similar structures to estradiol and how these isoflavones impact bone mineral density (BMD), in postmenopausal women.
Estrogen is critical to the development of bone tissues in women and men. However, as women go through the menopausal transition, the depletion of estrogen causes rapid changes to overall one density, causing women to lose bone density and increasing the risk of certain conditions like osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. This research study measures the effects of estrogen on bone resorption, or the loss of bone tissues, across women of different ethnicities and stages of menopause.
Calcium is one of the necessary compounds required to make bone tissues. As girls progress into puberty and then into adulthood, estrogen helps regulate the deposition of calcium into the bones. This fortifies bones by increasing bone density. However, during the menopausal transition, the decline of estrogen levels slows the rate of calcium deposition to the bones. This causes bones to become more porous and to lose density. This leaves women at higher risk of fracturing bones due to menopausal and postmenopausal osteoporosis. This research study measures the effectiveness of using calcium supplements to help aid in the increase of the production of bone tissues and finds that supplementary calcium alone, is not enough to lessen the risk of bone fractures.
Calcium Supplement Use Is Associated With Less Bone Mineral Density Loss, But Does Not Lessen the Risk of Bone Fracture Across the Menopause Transition: Data From the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation
Bone Mineral Density (BMD) decreases as women go through the menopausal transition. After menopause has ended, women of postmenopausal age are more likely to suffer from bone fractures, especially in areas like the hips, knees, and ankles. Helping slow the rate of bone density loss in women of mid-life ages is key to decreasing the chances of severe bone fractures. Previous methods including calcium supplements have been shown to be only somewhat effective in maintaining existing bone tissues, rather than helping the body to build more tissues. This study is designed to measure the effects of exercise training on the production of new bone tissues. Exercise training focused on muscle building can help encourage the growth of new bone tissues in postmenopausal women.
Women gradually begin to lose bone density to some degree starting around their mid-30s. This process is exacerbated in menopause due to the sharp decrease of estrogen. This process may be influenced by more than the body’s ability to bind estrogen onto estrogen receptors. This process may also be influenced, and perhaps compounded, by the “reprogramming” of monocytes. Monocytes are a large type of white blood cell that influence the body’s immune system adaptability. This study focuses on the influence of these monocytes and how they are “reprogrammed” in response to menopause’s effects on bone tissue formations and the increase of aggressive osteoclast activity.
Stay Updated on Menopause Research
More and more people are taking research into menopause and menopausal health with the seriousness it deserves. Research is constantly being updated to encompass more menopausal symptoms that may seem uncommon. Research is being specified to include other areas of health that are affected by menopause and we want to reflect the changing environment in a way that’s understandable to you.
MenoLabs will continue to write and updates posts like these based on the latest, verified, credible research from around the world so that you have the best information at your fingertips to refer to. Now you can better understand how you can improve and maintain your health.