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TMH Living Well: How hormones affect women through the years

The Memorial Hospital

Wellness for Women Through the Years – Talk Series

Join Dr. Eileen Joyce, OB-GYN, in a series of discussions on women’s health throughout May 2016. No charge, no reservation needed. All talks start at 5:30 p.m. and are held at the Colorado Northwestern Community College library, 2801 W. Ninth St.

May 11

Hormonal Changes Throughout Life

May 18

What to Expect with Menopause

May 25

Solutions to Infertility

As women, we all know that hormones affect our moods, comfort, sleep and fertility through the years. From our first menstrual period to our last, hormones play a major role in our lives.

Wellness for Women Through the Years – Talk Series

Join Dr. Eileen Joyce, OB-GYN, in a series of discussions on women’s health throughout May 2016. No charge, no reservation needed. All talks start at 5:30 p.m. and are held at the Colorado Northwestern Community College library, 2801 W. Ninth St.

May 11

Hormonal Changes Throughout Life

May 18

What to Expect with Menopause

May 25

Solutions to Infertility

Female hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone, serve different purposes throughout the month. Estrogen gradually rises during the first half of a woman’s cycle, building up the uterine lining then dropping before menstruation. Progesterone increases in the second half and also drops before menstruation. Progesterone is the main cause for annoying premenstrual symptoms including bloating, acne, irregular moods and breast tenderness.

“Women who are regular often have fewer premenstrual symptoms,” said Dr. Eileen Joyce, OBGYN, with The Memorial Hospital. Joyce is leading a series of talks on women’s health during the month of May, with the first on hormones.

Hormones in the teen years

When girls get their first period, typically around age 12 or 13, it may start with a bang. It’s important to talk with your pre-teen daughter early about what to expect.

“Many girls experience symptoms including cramping and breast tenderness before their first period and they feel scared that something is wrong. Girls are getting their periods earlier and earlier — as young as age 9 — so explaining what to expect early on saves worry,” Joyce said.

Hormones in processed meats and dairy products are the suspected culprit for periods coming early. Switching to hormone-free milk products and meat can help girls stay on their natural timeline for the start of menstruation.

Some teens experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or polycystic ovary syndrome. Both cause uncomfortable symptoms. Teens who are overweight are more prone to polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes excess hair growth, obesity, acne and irregular periods.

“The cause isn’t well understood, but I have seen it more in recent years especially in teens who are overweight,” Joyce said.

When appropriate, Joyce treats both conditions with birth control pills to help regulate menstrual periods thereby decreasing symptoms. Lifestyle changes including weight loss and diet changes can also help.

Hormones in adult women

Mid-life can be a calmer time for women in regards to hormone-related symptoms. After women have children their hormones decrease. That is, until the start of menopause.

“The average age of menopause is 51 but symptoms can start much earlier,” Joyce said.

Menopause means the end of menstrual periods. With that, the body stops producing estrogen and progesterone. You’ve completed menopause once your periods have stopped for a full year.

Women experience symptoms of “the change” for months or years before it occurs. The Mayo Clinic lists common symptoms as hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, mood changes, weight gain, thinning hair, breast fullness and vaginal dryness.

“An underactive thyroid can mimic symptoms of menopause and PMS, so if you feel excessively tired, have irregular and heavy periods, see a doctor for an endocrine work up,” Joyce said.

If symptoms caused by hormones are affecting your daily life, it’s a good idea to talk with your gynecologist. Dr. Joyce welcomes the public to join her for a Wellness for Women series of open discussions about women’s health during the month of May. See thememorialhospital.comthememorialhospital.com for details. for details.

thememorialhospital.com for details.

This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig – improving the quality of life for the communities we serve.This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig – improving the quality of life for the communities we serve.This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig – improving the quality of life for the communities we serve.


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