menopause

The facts about licorice extracts for treating menopausal symptoms

Licorice roots have a flavorful history, having been used in ancient Egyptian teas and in traditional Chinese medicines, all the way to today as a flavoring agent and candy. And some women now take licorice extracts as supplements to treat menopausal symptoms. But scientists caution that licorice could pose a health risk by interacting with medications.
Women take licorice extracts as supplements to treat menopausal symptoms. But scientists caution that licorice could pose a health risk by interacting with medications.Licorice roots have a diverse and flavorful history, having been used in ancient Egyptian times as a tea and in traditional Chinese medicines, all the way to today as a flavoring agent and as an ingredient in some licorice candies. Some women now take licorice extracts as supplements to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. But scientists caution that the substance could pose a health risk by interacting with medications.

The researchers are presenting their results today at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

“Concerns about the risk of stroke and breast cancer associated with conventional hormone therapy are prompting women to seek alternatives,” Richard B. van Breemen, Ph.D., says. “Some take botanical dietary supplements, such as licorice, to treat menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.”

But just because a substance is sold as a supplement in a health food store doesn’t mean it is completely safe for all people to take. And on its own, even as a candy, licorice can be harmful in some cases. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that licorice not be eaten in large amounts during one sitting, and warns that excessive consumption can lead to irregular heart rhythm and muscle fatigue.

“Consuming too much licorice can be harmful, but in our lab, we wondered whether the small amounts in dietary supplements might also cause problems by interfering with drug metabolism or transportation,” says van Breemen, who is at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “The liver has enzymes that process medications, and if these enzymes are induced or inhibited, the drugs will either be processed too quickly or too slowly, respectively.” He points out that these changes could pose a significant safety risk to those who take a daily licorice dietary supplement along with other medication.

Van Breemen’s team analyzed how three types of licorice — two North American species, Glycyrrhiza uralensis and G. inflata, and a European species called G. glabra — affected liver enzymes involved in drug metabolism. They found that all three species inhibit several of these enzymes. Only G. uralensis and G. inflataextracts were found to induce some of these enzymes. Therefore, the researchers say that G. uralensis and G. inflata are more likely to interfere with drug metabolism when compared to G. glabra.

Consumers would have a difficult time using this information, however, because most supplements don’t list the species on their labels. But the researchers are using this knowledge to develop their own licorice therapy that would be safe and effective for women experiencing menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. They plan to start clinical trials on their G. glabra-based supplements next year.


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Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Read this article on Science Daily: American Chemical Society. “Licorice is a hot trend in hot flashes, but could interact with medications.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170821085705.htm.

BMI determines risk of heart disease in middle-aged women

A woman’s race and where on her body she packs on pounds at midlife could give her doctor valuable clues to her likelihood of having greater volumes of heart fat, a potential risk factor for heart disease, according to new research.

BMI determines risk of heart disease in middle-aged women

A woman’s race and where on her body she packs on pounds at midlife could give her doctor valuable clues to her likelihood of having greater volumes of heart fat, a potential risk factor for heart disease, according to new research led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The findings, published online today in the journal Menopause, show that black women who put on fat around their midsection during midlife are more likely to accumulate fat around their hearts, whereas white women’s risk of fatty hearts is higher when they add weight all over. The results echo the findings of a Pitt Public Health study three years ago in men.

BMI determines risk of heart disease in middle-aged women

“Excess fat around the heart, in both men and women, is an evolving risk factor for heart disease. But how can clinicians see it at a regular physical? They can’t without a special heart scan,” said senior author Samar El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. “This study, coupled with our previous study in men, gives doctors another tool to evaluate their patients and get a better sense of their heart disease risk. It also may lead to suggestions for lifestyle modifications to help patients lessen that risk.”

El Khoudary and her team evaluated clinical data, such as CT scans and blood pressure, on 524 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). The women were in varying stages of menopause, averaged 51 years old and were not on hormone replacement therapy.

The bottom line on BMI and heart disease

After accounting for the potential health effects of lifestyle and socioeconomic factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption and financial strain, the researchers determined that, not surprisingly, the more fat a women carries overall, the higher her risk for a fatty heart.

However, white women with higher body mass indexes, or BMI, which is a measure of overall body fat, had significantly more heart fat, as measured by a CT scan, than black women with the same BMI. BMI determines risk of heart disease in middle-aged women

For black women, the levels of heart fat were greater if they carried more fat in their midsection, as measured by a cross-sectional CT scan, compared with white women with the same volume of fat in their midsection.

El Khoudary’s team found that the heart fat black women with larger waistlines accumulate is closer to their hearts than the fat the white women with higher BMI’s accumulate. Fat close to the heart secretes inflammatory markers directly to the heart tissue and produces a greater detrimental effect as it expands.

“We’ve now come to very similar conclusions that show excess abdominal fat is worse for both black men and women, and a higher BMI is worse for white men and women when it comes to their odds of having more fat around their hearts,” said El Khoudary, who noted that the current analysis could not assess changes over time. “There is something going on here that warrants further investigation to determine why it is happening and what tailored interventions doctors may prescribe to help their patients lower their risk.”


Story Source: Materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Read this article on ScienceDaily: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. “Risk of a fatty heart linked to race, type of weight gain in middle-aged women.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2017.


The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. Call for an appointment today: (707) 579-1102. Visit our website: www.womensobgynmed.com

Diet that includes vegetable protein may protect against early menopause

Eating more vegetable protein may protect against early menopause: Study shows modest but significant lower risk in older women, linking diet menopause.Results of a new study from epidemiologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggest that long-term diet that includes a high intake of vegetable protein from such foods as whole grains, soy and tofu, may protect women from early menopause and could prolong reproductive function. Diet menopause.

Consuming enriched pasta, dark bread and cold cereal were especially associated with lower risk, while they observed no similar relation to eating animal sources of protein.

“A better understanding of how dietary vegetable protein intake is associated with ovarian aging may identify ways for women to modify their risk of early onset menopause and associated health conditions,” write first author and then-graduate student Maegan Boutot, with her advisor, professor Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson. Details appear in the current early online edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Early menopause, the cessation of ovarian function before age 45, affects about 10 percent of women and is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and early cognitive decline, the authors note. Few studies have evaluated how protein intake is associated with menopause timing, they add, and to their knowledge this is the first to look specifically at early menopause.

Boutot, Bertone-Johnson and colleagues in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at UMass Amherst, with others, evaluated the relationship between diet and risk of early menopause among members of the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS2), an ongoing prospective study of 116,000 women aged 25-42 when they entered it in 1989.

Participants were asked to report how often they ate a single serving of 131 foods, beverages and supplements over the previous year, from “never or less than once a month” to “6+ per day.” They observed that women consuming approximately 6.5 percent of their daily calories as vegetable protein had a significant 16 percent lower risk of early menopause compared to women whose intake was approximately 4 percent of calories.

Diet Menopause

For a woman with a 2,000 calorie per day diet, the authors explain, this is equal to three to four servings of such foods as enriched pasta, breakfast cereal, tofu and nuts, or about 32.5 grams a day. They adjusted for age, smoking, body mass index and other possible confounding factors.

Boutot and Bertone-Johnson add, “Though relatively few women in our study consumed very high levels of vegetable protein and our power for analyses of more extreme intake levels was limited, women consuming 9 or more percent of their calories from vegetable protein had a hazard ratio of 0.41 (95 percent confidence interval = 0.19-0.88)” compared to those eating less than 4 percent.

Others on the study team were from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The study was supported by a grant from NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

For the NHS2, follow-up questionnaires have assessed nurses’ lifestyle behaviors and medical conditions every two years. Nearly 90 percent have continued to participate in followup. Diet was assessed five times over the 20-year study, allowing the researchers to capture within-person variation in changes in food and nutrient intake over times, Boutot explains. Participants in the study contributed more than 1 million person-years of follow-up, during which 2,041 women experienced early menopause.

Boutot and Bertone-Johnson suggest that more prospective studies of their findings are warranted, including studies that compare soy-based and non-soy vegetable proteins.

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Materials provided by University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. University of Massachusetts at Amherst. “Eating more vegetable protein may protect against early menopause: Study shows modest but significant lower risk.” Read this article on ScienceDaily:  ScienceDaily, 26 June 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170626093604.htm.


The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. Call for an appointment today: (707) 579-1102. Visit our website: www.womensobgynmed.com

Could hot flashes indicate risk of heart disease?

Study shows younger midlife women with hot flashes more likely to have poor vascular function

Hot flashes, one of the most common symptoms of menopause, have already been shown to interfere with a woman’s overall quality of life. A new study shows that, particularly for younger midlife women (age 40-53 years), frequent hot flashes may also signal emerging vascular dysfunction that can lead to heart disease. The study outcomes are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

The study involving 272 nonsmoking women aged 40 to 60 years is the first to test the relationship between physiologically assessed hot flashes and endothelial cell (the inner lining of the blood vessels) function. The effect of hot flashes on the ability of blood vessels to dilate was documented only in the younger fertile of women in the sample. There was no association observed in the older women (age 54-60 years), indicating that early occurring hot flashes may be those most relevant to heart disease risk. The associations were independent of other heart disease risk factors.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women. The results from the study, “Physiologically assessed hot flashes and endothelial function among midlife women,” may offer valuable information for healthcare providers working to assess the risk of heart disease in their menopausal patients. Hot flashes are reported by 70% of women, with approximately one-third of them describing them as frequent or severe. Newer data indicate that hot flashes often start earlier than previously thought — possibly during the late reproductive years — and persist for a decade or more. “Hot flashes are not just a nuisance. They have been linked to cardiovascular, bone, and brain health,” says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS. “In this study, physiologically measured hot flashes appear linked to cardiovascular changes occurring early during the menopause transition.”

 


 

Story Source:Materials provided by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Rebecca C. Thurston, Yuefang Chang, Emma Barinas-Mitchell, J. Richard Jennings, Roland von Känel, Doug P. Landsittel, Karen A. Matthews. Physiologically assessed hot flashes and endothelial function among midlife women. Menopause, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000857

 

Good news for mature women: weight loss is possible after menopause

Talk to a woman in menopause and you’re likely to hear complaints about hot flashes and an inability to lose weight, especially belly fat. A new study shows how regular exercise can help reduce weight and control bothersome symptoms such as hot flashes, even in women who previously led sedentary lifestyles. The study outcomes are being published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Decreased estrogen levels during the menopause transition often create an array of physical and mental health issues that detract from a woman’s overall quality of life. The article “Improvements in health-related qualify of life, cardio-metabolic health, and fitness in postmenopausal women after a supervised, multicomponent, adapted exercise program in a suited health promotion intervention: a multigroup study” reports on 234 Spanish postmenopausal women aged 45 to 64 years who had at least 12 months of sedentary behavior and engaged in a supervised 20-week exercise program for the study. After the intervention, the participants experienced positive changes in short- and long-term physical and mental health, including significant improvements in their cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. In addition, they achieved modest but significant reductions in their weight and body mass index, and their hot flashes were effectively managed. This is especially good news for women who are reluctant to use hormones to manage their menopause symptoms and are looking for safe but effective nonpharmacologic options without adverse effects.

“Growing evidence indicates that an active lifestyle with regular exercise enhances health, quality of life, and fitness in postmenopausal women,” says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director. “Documented results have shown fewer hot flashes and improved mood and that, overall, women are feeling better while their health risks decrease.


Story Source:Materials provided by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Read this article on ScienceDaily:

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). “Weight loss actually possible after menopause.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170215084052.htm>.

Women who enter menopause at or before age 40 more susceptible to bone fracture

If you’re in menopause before the age of 40, you have a higher fracture risk. That fact has already been proven by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) clinical trials. Now a new study evaluating the same WHI data further concludes that, even with calcium and vitamin D supplements, your risk of fracture is still higher. The study is being published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

For years, calcium and vitamin D have been touted for their abilities to increase bone mineral density. Hormone therapy is also recognized for its ability to help ward off osteoporosis. That’s what prompted this latest study to evaluate the effectiveness of calcium, vitamin D, and/or hormones in offsetting the higher fracture risks for women experiencing early menopause. Based on an evaluation of nearly 22,000 women included in the WHI trials, women aged younger than 40 years already in menopause had significantly higher risks for fracture than women who experienced menopause between the ages of 40 and 49 or after 50, regardless of treatment intervention.

Although the findings are disappointing for women experiencing an early onset of menopause, the study did open the door to a number of questions and possibilities. For example, women with early menopause are candidates for hormone therapy until at least the average age of menopause (52 years) to reduce the risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, and cognitive and mood changes. It is possible that earlier initiation of treatment for those with early menopause with calcium, vitamin D, or hormones; more appropriate dosing of young women, longer duration of treatment; or longer duration of follow-up could provide better bone protection and ultimately reduce fracture risk.

“This study highlights the need for healthcare providers to take into consideration a woman’s age at menopause onset when evaluating patients for fracture risk,” says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director. “Women at risk for bone loss need 1,200 mg of calcium per day, with adequate vitamin D, and encouraged to get as much as possible through diet due to concern that too much supplemental calcium may increase atherosclerotic plaque in women. Women with early menopause should discuss whether they are candidates for hormone therapy with their providers, appropriate amount of calcium, vitamin D and hormones.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


North American Menopause Society (NAMS). “Link between early menopause, higher risk of fracture, new study confirms.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161102155224.htm.

Who has better memory recall: men or women?

woman-thinkingIn the battle of the sexes, women have long claimed that they can remember things better and longer than men can. A new study proves that middle-aged women outperform age-matched men on all memory measures, although memory does decline as women enter postmenopause. The study is being published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Memory loss, unfortunately, is a well-documented consequence of the aging process. Epidemiological estimates suggest that approximately 75% of older adults report memory-related problems. Women report increased forgetfulness and “brain fog” during the menopause transition. In addition, women are disproportionately at risk for memory impairment and dementia compared with men. Despite these conditions working against them, middle-aged women still outscore their similarly aged male counterparts on all memory measures, according to the study.

The cross-sectional study of 212 men and women aged 45 to 55 years assessed episodic memory, executive function, semantic processing, and estimated verbal intelligence through cognitive testing. Associative memory and episodic verbal memory were assessed using a Face-Name Associative Memory Exam and Selective Reminding Test.

In addition to comparing sex differences, the study also found that premenopausal and perimenopausal women outperformed postmenopausal women in a number of key memory areas. Declines in estradiol levels in postmenopausal women were specifically associated with lower rates of initial learning and retrieval of previously recalled information, while memory storage and consolidation were maintained.

“Brain fog and complaints of memory issues should be taken seriously,” says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director. “This study and others have shown that these complaints are associated with memory deficits.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dorene M. Rentz, Blair K. Weiss, Emily G. Jacobs, Sara Cherkerzian, Anne Klibanski, Anne Remington, Harlyn Aizley, Jill M. Goldstein. Sex differences in episodic memory in early midlife. Menopause, 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000771

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). “Who has the better memory, men or women?.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161109112447.htm.

Symptoms And Treatments of Menopause Explained

For women, the menopause typically starts between the ages of 45 and 55.

It can be extremely debilitating and can cause anything from hot flushes to depression to decreased sex drive – in fact one quarter of women over 40 say their sex life is non-existent thanks to menopause.

The symptoms can last between two and five years, which means it’s really important to seek out treatment if you’re finding the experience unbearable. To help you on your way, we spoke to Dr Helen Webberley from Oxford Online Pharmacy about what treatments are available. She also gave her verdict on whether hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is safe.

The end of a woman’s reproductive life is marked by a reduction in the function of the ovaries. When this finally stops, the menopause begins.

“Generally speaking, for a woman over the age of fifty, the menopause can be said to have taken place one year after the last period, or two years after the last period in the under fifties,” explains Dr Webberley.

Read the full story …

Menopause: an ever changing journey through life

OBGYN picPeople speak about menopause as if it is a fixed thing, but in reality it is anything but. Not only does each woman experience it differently both in terms of actual symptoms and their severity but over time those symptoms may lessen, worsen, or change into something entirely new.

The hormone rollercoaster

We all know that at menopause the levels of oestrogen and progesterone start to drop and something many women notice is that their periods can be closer together or get longer or heavier. This is really common and due to the way that your hormonal balance is starting to change. At this point, your progesterone levels will be falling faster than your oestrogen, so your oestrogen just keeps triggering a menstruation and a bleed, particularly if you are very oestrogen dominant.

Hormones don’t stand still, they respond to the internal stimulus from our ovaries, but also to the external stimulus of stress, medications and environmental factors. That is why however well you may be taking care of yourself, not all factors are able to be under your control and your body cleverly prioritises what is the main thing to deal with. Unfortunately it is your body that decides, not you, so if you are dealing with illness, stress or infection the body diverts its resources to dealing with those.

Read the full story here ….

Specialized Practitioners – helping women transition comfortably into post-menopausal states

Menopause does not have to be a strictly negative experience, and many post-menopausal women find that in addition to maintaining their sex drive they also feel that they become more intuitive and connected with their inner selves. Our physicians, midwives, and nurse practitioners carry specialty expertise in helping women transition comfortably into post-menopausal states. At your appointments, we encourage you to discuss your questions and concerns with your practitioner to help us find the best way to address your lifestyle expectations and to help you find relief from uncomfortable symptoms with the latest treatment options including hormone therapy.

Whole Body Health Approach

While we often think of our bodies and minds as separate components, it is important to take into account the complex interactions that take place within when addressing health concerns that arise in the menopausal life stage. Diet, exercise, stress levels, and general mental health are all factors that can play integral roles in your overall well-being, and we strive to help patients maintain awareness of these factors during their menopause years.
Individuals carry different beliefs and expectations for their futures, and it is important to share your long-term lifestyle goals with your physician so we can help you target your future goals today.

During your visit, topics discussed with your physician may include:

• Breast Care
• Bone health
• Dietary concerns
• Emotions
• Exercise
• Heart health
• Mental well-being
• Skin changes
• Sexual health
• Skin Dryness
• Weight
• Smoking, caffeine and alcohol use
• Stress management
• Symptom relief

The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group providers look forward to providing each patient with professional, compassionate care throughout the menopausal years with a practitioner that fits the patient’s personality and individual needs. Call for an appointment to day: (707) 579-1102.