Menopausal and postmenopausal women are common with vaginal atrophy symptoms - thin vaginal walls (the layer surrounding urogenital tract), vaginal dryness, dyspareunia, itching, or burning sensation, due to effects of dropped estrogen levels which is produced by ovaries. This may also affect those entering perimenopause period but it's uncommon.
Since the body has no more ability to produce estrogen in menopausal and postmenopausal women, it will now depend on what left on the body or based on synthesizing process of foods that probably have human-like estrogen or known as phytoestrogen.
In addition to menopausal symptoms as other impacts of dropped estrogen levels, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings that may lower the quality of life, including the risk of progressive development of osteoporosis (especially among postmenopausal women), the atrophic vagina itself may also exacerbate the condition of vaginal walls and the tissue making the tightness and elasticity of vaginal walls significantly declined, as well as painful sex that cause in poor sex drive even though the desire of sex still persists. As side benefits anyway, no more monthly painful menstruation.
The Relationship Between Estrogen and Vaginal Atrophy
Estrogen plays a key role in regenerating new skin cells in the vaginal walls and stimulate the gland and the tissue on the vagina to secrete the fluid to keep it moist and better pH. This is a reason why menopausal and postmenopausal women are highly susceptible with atrophic symptoms if they can't maintain their estrogen levels.
The Relationship Between Estrogen and Loose Vagina
Estrogen also plays a role to stimulate the production of fibers called collagen and elastin which is also needed by the vaginal tissue to keep it tight and elastic, including the fiber on the mass of vaginal muscles or pelvic floor muscles to keep it strong with involuntary contraction. This is another reason why menopausal and postmenopausal women are also highly susceptible with loose vaginal walls and weakened pelvic floor muscles contraction.
Other general effects of declined estrogen levels including cardiovascular health as it can improve lipid (fat) metabolism, skin health, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis risk, and some other risks.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the only way to overcome atrophic vagina, while weakened weakened pelvic muscle contraction can be treated either with HRT or Kegel exercises. The problem is common HRT medications available today may also come with potential medical risks, especially in long term administration. The serious medical risks including the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and cardiovascular events.
The risk of cancers and cardiovascular events initially found by a well systematic study conducted by the Women's Health Institute (WHI) and furthermore confirmed by other studies from the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the Endocrine Society. "The WHI has saved thousand of lives by debunking convention wisdom and allowing millions of women and their doctors to make key health decision based on scientific evidence", said Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, a director from Healthcare Research and Quality of HHS.(ref)
Therefore, most health experts recommend the use of HRT only for a short-term therapy and it should be passed by diagnoses of your gynecologist or physician whether the benefits may outweigh the risk based on your current health status.
Contrary to those synthetic hormone used in HRT drugs, estrogen-like derived from botanical sources showed more safe in a long-term therapy and effective, too.
A study published in the Environment Health Perspective in 2008 from the Columbia University concluded that phytoestrogen has showed fighting breast cancer through certain mechanisms that is still poorly to be understood. The study author, Sarah M. Mense, says phytoestrogen may have a chemoprotective role against breast cancer by various mechanisms, such as "estrogen-metabolizing enzymes, apoptosis properties, cell differentiation, cell cycle, proliferation, the inflammatory response and various cell signaling pathways." In other words, phytoestrogen may also detect carcinogenic cells or identify cancer cells and fight them, and having estrogenic activities like human estrogen.
The effect of chemoprotective also revealed by a study conducted by multi-institution (the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and few others) that shows phytoestrogen can lower the risk of ovarian cancer. They say, "this study provided some suggestion that phytoestrogen consumption may decrease ovarian cancer risk..." (BMC Womens Health 2011;11(40)).
Overall, phytoestrogens are safe for long-term use. The question is, what botanical sources with a very strong activity of estrogenic?
There are many botanical sources with phytoestrogens content such as broccoli, fennel, licorice root, beans, barley, carrots, and some others. However, the profile of phytoestrogen itself varies from one botanical source to others. There are now at least 1000 types of phytoestrogens have been identified by researchers with 3 major classes (isoflavones, coumesins, and lignans). Of these major classes, isoflavones are considered the highest profile with strong estrogenic activities. Each botanical sources have different mineral components forming these isoflavones.
In short, the most potent herbs with strong profile of phytoestrogens and also common to be used in clinical trials for rejuvenation analysis are Oak Gall, Witch Hazel, Pueraria Mirifica, Black Cohosh, Fenugreek, Curcuma Comosa, and Red Clover. The rejuvenating properties including stimulate regeneration process of skin cells, increase the production of collagen and elastin in the tissue, increase the fibers forming the muscle, as well as activate secretion functioning of the tissue and glands. These rejuvenating properties are certainly useful for menopausal and postmenopausal women in case they want to overcome vaginal atrophy such as vaginal dryness and other related symptoms, declined tightness and elasticity of vaginal walls, and weakened pelvic muscle contraction. You can learn more detail about those potent herbs in their pages above or the combination of these herbs on this page.
By using those potent herbs, you might experience faster results compared with medicinal foods since you can get the most strong profile of phytoestrogens as well as abundant content. You can even get some of those potent herbs in one concentrate such as offered by this recommended formula. They use Oak Gall and Witch Hazel extracts as main active ingredients. The best part of these herbs is, you're not only getting their aggressive isoflavones content for effectively rejuvenating your vaginal organs and functions, but also other phytochemical content that can constrict your vaginal walls and lips instantly, and increased blood flow to your genital organs to accelerate fluid secretion and heighten sex drive. This phytochemical content is known as Tannins and it's available only from these herbs. That being said, if you want to eliminate vaginal atrophy from underlying causes as well as tightening and rejuvenating your genital organs, those formula is your best safe alternative way compared to dietary intervention and HRT drugs. You can read more detail about those herbs in their pages.
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