Choosing To Live A Healthier Life

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Choosing To Live A Healthier Life

A few years ago, I realized that I needed to get healthy for my kids. I weighed around three hundred pounds, and it was really difficult for me to get around comfortably. I was even having problems with things like sleeping and driving, which is why I shifted my focus to a healthier lifestyle. I started eating right and exercising daily, and I quickly realized that my life was improving day after day. One day, after losing about a hundred pounds, I realized that I could run faster than I had ever been able to before. This blog is all about choosing to live a healthier life and doing it with style.

Beat Breast Cancer Early? How Can You Battle Menopause Symptoms?

If you're in your twenties, thirties, or forties, you may assume that menopause is still decades away. Unfortunately, an early diagnosis of breast cancer can change that -- and after you've undergone radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone treatment, you could find yourself dealing with hot flashes, night sweats, and irregular periods just as if you'd hit menopause in your fifties or sixties. Unfortunately, for those who have undergone breast cancer treatment, some types of hormone replacement designed for menopausal women can be unsafe -- even products available over the counter. Read on to learn more about your best (and safest) menopause treatment options after you've survived your battle with breast cancer. 

What menopause treatments and therapies should you avoid if you've had breast cancer? 

Most menopause symptoms are caused by the hormonal swings associated with the permanent cessation of a woman's menstrual periods. As you age, your body produces less estrogen and progesterone -- the hormones that keep your reproductive cycle functioning smoothly. When these hormones wane, they can cause disruptions in nearly every system of the body, from hot flashes and night sweats to constipation to bone loss. Many women manage these symptoms by taking estrogen supplements, helping restore hormonal balance and keeping these symptoms at bay for as long as the supplements are continued.

Unfortunately, because estrogen has been shown to accelerate the growth of breast cancer, taking these supplements can be harmful for those who have already had at least one bout with cancer. In addition, those with particularly aggressive forms of breast cancer may already be on medication to suppress your body's estrogen production and prevent your cancer from recurring. As a result, you'll want to avoid any estrogen-based hormonal supplements, even those that promise synthetic estrogen rather than that derived from animal sources. Utilizing estrogen replacement drugs after cancer will, at best, counteract the effect of the medications you're already taking, and, at worst, lead to cancer regrowth.

What are your best treatment options for the symptoms of menopause?

Fortunately, although estrogen-based hormone replacement therapy (HRT) isn't an option, there are still a number of medications and supplements you can take to help manage your menopause symptoms, as well as some lifestyle changes that can minimize their impact on your daily life. 

If your primary menopause symptom is hot flashes and you already struggle with borderline blood pressure, blood pressure medication may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of your hot flashes by reducing the pressure with which blood is forced to your skin. You may also want to take calcium or Vitamin D supplements to help maintain your bone density and avoid osteoporosis. 

If your blood pressure is normal, you may want to visit your doctor to request a mild antidepressant -- specifically, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Even if you're not depressed, an SSRI can help reduce your hot flashes, mood swings, and other hormonal changes without increasing your risk of a cancer recurrence. You may be able to wean yourself off the SSRI after you begin to notice improvement in your symptoms, or opt to continue your medication regimen until your hormones have calmed down from cancer treatment. 

For more sensitive or personal problems, like vaginal dryness and a decrease in sex drive, over-the-counter lubricants can often help. In many cases, your sex drive may return on its own after you've completely healed from radiation, chemo, or a mastectomy. If this doesn't happen, talk to your doctor about a low-dose testosterone supplement instead. This may be able to quickly restore your sex drive without feeding the estrogen receptors present in breast cancer cells.