Functional Medicine & Wellness

Studies Regarding Hormones And Women’s Health

There are many studies that have been done in the past (and continue to be done today) in order to better understand the benefits of women’s health in relation to hormones. At Omnia Health, we are committed to continuously educating ourselves. We understand that the approaches and available resources for achieving optimal health is a constant work in progress. 

One of the great things about functional medicine is the way in which it integrates traditional Western Medicine with the newest and best evidence-based data. This allows our experienced team to create a systematic approach that incorporates lifestyle factors (nutrition, exercise, stress management, etc.) in an individualized plan.

Speaking of evidence-based data, there are some very important studies that focus on hormones and the ways in which they impact a woman’s overall wellbeing. 

The Women’s Brain Initiative 

The Weill Cornell Women’s Brain Initiative is committed to understanding how sex differences affect brain aging and associated risk. Estrogen and the brain is in regards to what’s referred to as the ‘menopause transition.”  While menopause is typically associated with reproductive senescence, it is the dysregulation of brain estrogen-regulated systems that produces the key neurological symptoms of menopause such as: 

  • Hot Flashes
  • Disturbed Sleep
  • Depression
  • Memory Decline

 

The brain fog that SO many women talk about experiencing during menopause is a TRIGGER of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. If Alzheimer’s runs in your family or you have a greater genetic risk like ApoE 4, menopause can accelerate these negative effects. Understanding this and taking action with hormone replacement is important. In this case, having the ability to be proactive and implement preventative care rather than treating the symptoms after they appear is a huge gamechanger. 

Our brain imaging studies implicate the menopause transition as an early initiating risk factor for Alzheimer’s in women. 

Source: Women’s Brain Initiative

 

As women approach midlife, there seems to be a critical window of opportunity to detect signs of early Alzheimer’s and more important, to intercede with strategies (improving estrogen levels) that reduce or prevent the symptoms from escalating. 

Nurses’ Health Study 

The impact of exogenous estrogen use on cardiovascular disease risk has been a topic of debate for decades and this study is an oldie but goodie. A total of 48,470 healthy postmenopausal nurses aged 30-63 years in the Nurses’ Health Study were followed for 10 years to compare the incidence of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality among women taking exogenous estrogen and those not on hormone replacement therapy. 

Results showed that Healthy postmenopausal nurses aged 30-53 years on estrogen therapy had a 44% reduced risk of major coronary disease compared to women not on estrogen. An important observation to note is the increased cardiac benefit was found if hormone therapy began within 10 years of when menopause began in overall healthy women. As in many things in life, the timing matters. 

The Danish Osteoporosis Prevention Study 

This large study of women’s hormone therapy which followed its participants for up to 16 years. They reported the results in 2012 stating the that “After 10 years of randomized treatment, women receiving hormone replacement therapy early after menopause had a significantly reduced risk of mortality, heart failure, or myocardial infarction, without any apparent increase in risk of cancer, venous thromboembolism, or stroke.”

These benefits were confirmed in 2020, when a long-term follow-up of the women from the original Women’s Health Initiative study found that women who took estrogen-only (CEE, or conjugated equine estrogen) had lower rates of breast cancer than women who did not.

Looking for more proof? 

Recently, NIH scientists Seo Baik and Clement McDonald examined the records of 1.5 million women collected from the Medicare database. They found that the use of estrogen-only led to a 21% reduction in the risk of death, and a similar reduction in the risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer. As opposed to combination therapy using both estrogen and progestin, which led to an increased risk of breast cancer.

Despite the hasty, fear mongering announcements made in 2002 regarding the Women’s Health Initiative study, the idea that hormone therapy causes breast cancer is NOT true. In fact the vast majority of evidence points to the many significant health benefits of hormone therapy for women including, but not limited to, a reduced risk of breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease.  

Knowledge Is Power

When it comes to your health, you want to have as much power as possible. So, in addition to reading our blog posts and the resources provided within it, setting up a consultation with Omnia would be a wise choice.

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