New study finds women who go into early menopause or don’t use HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) could have a higher stroke risk.
Women don’t always get the short end of the stick—well, unless you consider that they couldn’t open their own bank accounts until the late 1960s or that they have a disproportionately higher risk of dying of a stroke compared to men.
But if this weren’t already discouraging enough, a new study published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology found that women who don’t use HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) or go into early menopause could have a higher risk of having a stroke.
What’s the big deal about hormones? What are the symptoms and risks of hormone imbalance? Is there a way for a woman to prevent going into menopause sooner than she should? And what can you do if you suspect your hormones are out of harmony? Let’s dive in.
Why Are Hormones Important?
Contrary to popular belief, hormones do far more than dictate how moody you might be during a specific phase of your cycle. In fact, hormones—or our body’s little chemical messengers—affect just about every function in the body and play a critical role in everything from blood sugar regulation to blood pressure, reproductive health, libido, metabolism, and even our sleep.
In a perfect world, our hormones exist and collaborate synergistically to keep everything in our minds and bodies functioning the way they were designed to. Our hormones, which govern our hunger, how sleepy we feel in the evening, and how we react to stress, all work diligently day in and day out to optimize our physical and mental health. When they fall out of perfect harmony—well, as your hot flashes, unexplained weight gain, and irritability can attest—all hell can break loose.
Do You Have a Hormone Imbalance?
Statistics show that an alarming 80 percent of women suffer from hormone imbalance, which happens when you have too much or too little of one or more hormones. One of the most common hormone imbalances is estrogen dominance, which is where your body produces more estrogen in comparison to progesterone, its calming, stress-relieving counterpart. What’s worse, many are unaware that they are even experiencing hormone imbalances and just suffer in silence. The good news is, relief is available and you can even take action on your own to alleviate common hormone issues. Some of the most commonly reported hormone imbalance symptoms are:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Skin issues such as acne, eczema, or unexplained rashes
- Dry or coarse skin and hair
- Insulin resistance or diabetes
- Thyroid issues and/or a slow metabolism
- Unexplained weight gain or an inability to lose weight
- Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders
- Digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhea, or constipation
- Frequent urination and extreme thirst
- Low or nonexistent libido and/or vaginal dryness
- Hair loss or excessive body hair
- Fibrocystic breasts
In many cases, hormone imbalances can lead to autoimmune disorders and even increase your risk of developing certain cancers.
Can Women Prevent Early Menopause?
In light of this study, you may be wondering if you can delay the onset of menopause or at least avoid going into it earlier than you should. Unfortunately, other dangerous risks abound for women who experience menopause early, such as an increased risk of overall mortality, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, neurological and psychological diseases, and more.
According to research, whether or not you go through menopause early is beyond your control. In fact, smoking cigarettes is the only lifestyle factor that you have control over that can cause early menopause. Family history, certain medical interventions such as chemotherapy or a previous hysterectomy, and some health conditions all play a part.
But science is never settled, and a growing body of evidence suggests that HRT (hormone replacement therapy) can help restore harmony to your hormones and ward off the big M, at least for a little while. This is good news, especially if you miss doing your favorite dance move at happy hour without being bed-ridden the following day (or two).
How Hormone Replacement Therapy Can Bring Back the Perfect Balance
HRT, which replenishes the hormones you are not producing enough of or may have lost, can alleviate the pesky symptoms of menopause (which are not dissimilar to symptoms of hormone imbalance) and significantly reduces your risk of health conditions caused by early menopause, such as osteoporosis. People experience many pleasant and overarching benefits from HRT, including:
- Looking and feeling younger
- Preventing bone fractures and osteoporosis
- Lowering your risk of some cancers
- Relieving common menopause symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, joint pain, and skin issues
- Improved mood, mental clarity, and overall sense of well-being
- Better, more sustained energy levels
- Lowered risk of developing diabetes and other chronic conditions
Become Your Best Self and Prioritize Your Hormone Health
If you’ve tried everything and aren’t experiencing the desired results, maybe it’s not you—maybe it’s your hormones. When you need someone who understands what you are going through – you need a place that feels like home. Our concierge practice is just that—a safe, supportive place you can call home and receive real-time expert support—in person or virtually—for all of your health goals and challenges.
If improved moods, more restful, restorative sleep, higher energy levels, and regaining your libido feel out of reach no matter what you’ve done, our Hormone Replacement Therapies may be perfect for you. Contact us today for a consultation where our team of providers will formulate an individualized treatment plan to help you feel and look your best—from the inside out. Feeling like yourself again and living your best life starts here and now.