A Different Approach To Women’s Wellness: Healthspan, Hormones and More
We need to change our focus from lifespan to health span. From cardiovascular risk factors, osteoporosis, and breast cancer prevention, to fertility, mental health and hormone changes over a woman’s life span, we need to change our focus to thinking of it as “health span wellness”
How can we stay healthier longer?
What do the next 10, 20, or even 30 years look like for you in the future?
Despite the fact that women are over half the population worldwide, women’s health has been largely under-studied and underrepresented in medicine, which extends to the clinical setting.
The stats are interesting, just to list a few below:
Women die at higher rates than men from heart attacks and strokes
80% of autoimmune cases are women
Women are more than three times more likely to experience mental health issues
Women in menopause are more at risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and dementia
The amazing thing is that 70-90% of chronic conditions can be preventable through lifestyle changes!
Women require special attention, and prevention is the key. It is about addressing health disparities and creating opportunities to improve the lives and livelihoods of women, with positive effects that extend to society as a whole.
And that’s why supporting women’s health and wellness through the years is our top priority!
When Do Women Start Aging?
A question that is often asked by my patients in the clinic is “At what age do I start “aging”?
The body ages in different ways and at different rates depending on lifestyle and genetic predisposition. Have you ever thought about why a newborn sleeps so much? It’s because they are growing so rapidly. Whereas an elderly person begins to slow down, and needs breaks, naps, and more sleep… their body is slowing down.
If you think about lifespan, we technically start aging from the minute we are born. However, generally speaking, the most rapid aging process typically occurs during our twenties and thirties. This is the decade where a woman’s body is most likely to experience the greatest number of physical changes, due to their age, lifestyle, and other factors.
During our twenties and thirties, a woman’s body is going through a wide range of physical changes and growth. This is the time in a woman’s life when their bones, muscles, and organs are growing faster than at any other time in life. Many hormonal changes also occur including our metabolism, sex hormones, and even gut health.
Hormones across our lifespan have everything to do with skin, metabolism, insulin control, thyroid, cortisol, stress levels, and sleep just to list a few. This means we have a lot of work to do, to make sure we assess your health needs at the forefront to develop a plan to support a preventative approach to staying healthy versus treating symptoms.
Hormonal Changes As Women Age
Some of the more noticeable signs of aging in women are skin health and appearance, weight management, and energy. Let’s take a look at the hormones that impact these changes.
What hormone changes skin?
Skin noticeably starts to lose its elasticity and moisture in your early 30s and particularly the first 5 years of menopause, when skin loses over 30% of its collagen.
Estrogen helps to stimulate collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production which helps the skin to stay plump and firm. Progesterone stimulates the production of sebum or the oil glands in the skin. It can cause the skin to swell and compress the look of pores. Too much of it, however, can lead to oil build-up.
In addition to proper hormone balance, diet and lifestyle have a great impact on the appearance and health of our skin. Healthy fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are essential for building healthy cell membranes and maintaining the skin's moisture barrier. These fats also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation and redness in the skin. Good sources of healthy fats include fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Collagen is a protein that provides structure to the skin, helping it to stay firm and supple. As we age, our body's natural production of collagen decreases, leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, and a loss of elasticity. Consuming collagen-rich foods or taking collagen supplements can help support the skin's collagen production, leading to improved skin health and appearance.
Some studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may help improve skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkles. Check out our Ultimate Collagen contains a unique patent formulation of collagen peptides for optimal collagen production, bone strength, joint health and integrity, skin elasticity, and renewal.
What hormone is responsible for controlling weight?
One of the biggest contributors to weight gain as we age is insulin resistance, and unfortunately, 50% of our population is now insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells in the body become resistant to the effects of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar (or glucose) levels. Insulin resistance can occur when the body produces insulin but the cells don't respond to it properly, or when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to meet its needs.
Hormone imbalance from poor diet, lack of good sleep, high-stress lifestyle, and lack of exercise can all contribute to insulin resistance.
What hormone is responsible for metabolism?
Our metabolism is responsible for converting the food we eat into energy. When it noticeably slows down, we notice a dip in energy and often weight gain as well. Thyroid hormones play a critical role in regulating metabolism in the body. The thyroid gland produces two main hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones help to regulate the body's metabolic rate (the speed at which the body converts food into energy.)
Thyroid hormones work by increasing the basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy the body uses at rest. This means that when levels of thyroid hormones are high, the body burns more calories even when it's not active. Thyroid hormones also help to regulate body temperature, heart rate, and other vital functions. If thyroid hormone levels are too low, it can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism, which can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and a slower metabolism.
It’s critical for women to pay close attention to their hormones as we age, especially in pre and post-menopause.
Lifestyle Factors That Affect Women’s Health As They Age
Good digestion and gut health, movement, and sleep are essential for women to maintain their health as they age and these are some of the critical things we discuss with our patients at Innovative Wellness Inc.
Supporting good digestion and gut health
As women age, their digestive systems can become less efficient, leading to digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, and nutrient deficiencies. Good digestion and gut health can help to reduce these symptoms and ensure that the body is absorbing essential nutrients from food.
A healthy gut microbiome also plays a critical role in supporting the immune system and reducing inflammation, which can help to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. A diet full of nutrient dense foods, fiber, probiotic rich foods and proper hydration are key.
Movement is medicine
Regular physical activity is important for maintaining a healthy weight, improving cardiovascular health, and preventing chronic diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis. As women age, they may experience a loss of muscle mass, which can lead to a decrease in metabolism and an increased risk of falls and fractures.
Engaging in weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, or strength training can help to maintain muscle mass, bone density, and balance.
Adequate sleep is crucial
Sleep is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. As women age, especially around menopause, they may experience changes in sleep patterns, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to a range of health problems, including increased inflammation, impaired cognitive function, and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Getting enough restful sleep (at least 7 hours a night) is critical for restoring the body's energy levels, supporting the immune system, and reducing stress.
We Do Women’s Healthcare Differently
After almost 25 years of taking care of women’s hormone health over their lifespans, I realized that we need to start the conversation sooner. We need to start talking about taking care of your body, with an integrative approach, that helps prepare, prevent, and maintain a healthy lifestyle that is integrated into your everyday life routine.
We not only assess breast health and pelvic health (which normally is what is in a typical Well Woman exam) we are further looking at brain health, cardiovascular health, hormone health, weight wellness, and gut health because we are evaluating where you are in your lifespan, and what we need to support based on your personalized health needs.
Innovative Wellness Inc. is a cutting-edge company dedicated to improving the health and well-being of individuals through innovative, science-based solutions.
With a team of experts in the fields of health and wellness, IW offers a range of services that are designed to promote optimal physical and mental health, including:
Uro-Gynecology & Pelvic Health Services
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for Men & Women
Sexual Dysfunction Treatments for Men & Women
Sexual Health Coaching and Counseling
Vaginal and Pelvic Health Rejuvenation Therapies for Women
Women’s Annual Health Exams
Postpartum Wellness Services
Pelvic & Sexual Health Protocols for Men & Women with Cancer
Nutrition & Lifestyle Wellness Program
Here at Innovative Wellness Inc. we do healthcare differently to make a difference. If you have questions or are interested in a consultation, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Let's get the conversation started! Schedule your Well Woman Exam Today!