The ZRT Laboratory Blog

The ZRT Blog is an extensive resource for patients and health care providers searching for health and hormone testing information. Here, you can read about ZRT’s cutting edge research, advances in testing, wellness advice, and health industry highlights.

Mood and Menopause – Going Through "The Change"

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Friday, 01 December

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Not quite menopause. Throwing blankets off at night, keeping awake. Fatigue and irritation punctuated throughout the day by heat dissipating from every pore, clouding thoughts, reinforcing forgetfulness. Hair falling out so stubbornly fast. Clothes choosing when to fit. Flooding periods coming sporadically, unexpectedly. They call it “the change of life” – but I feel like a different person altogether. What is happening?         

In perimenopause, the physiological landscape is subject to tremendous change with estradiol and progesterone at the heart of the transition. Progesterone levels fall quickly – no ovulation – no corpus luteum – no progesterone. Estradiol, on the other hand, does not give up so easily. Estradiol levels continue to rise and fall – reliable, steady, wave-like – a biological rollercoaster – approaching the halting rhythms of reproductive senescence. In the context of very low progesterone, these dramatic peaks and troughs in estradiol levels, give rise to systemic consequences and unrelenting symptoms of the menopausal transition. 

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Estrogen: The Link Between Microbiome, Menopause & Metabolic Health

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Saturday, 23 September

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The diversity of the microbiome has profound implications for metabolic health. The micro-organisms that we host in our gastrointestinal tract maintain our gut integrity, break down complex carbohydrates to improve energy extraction from food, produce vitamins and minerals, aid in digestion and absorption, ferment dietary fibers and protect us against pathogens. Maintaining a delicate balance in the diversity of the host-microbiome relationship is crucial for disease prevention and healthy aging. 

Studies on the microbiome are emerging as a new and exciting frontier of science. However, how the microbiome interacts with the endocrine system to modulate metabolic health is still one of the less explored avenues in microbiome research. This blog aims to shed light on the intertwined roles of gut microbiota and estrogen on metabolic health for women as they transition into menopause.

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Research Updates – Trials of HRT Started in Early Menopause

Posted by Margaret Groves on Friday, 15 September

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One of the primary objectives of the Women's Health Initiative was to see if postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) improved long-term risk of coronary heart disease, among other chronic diseases.

However, the combined estrogen/progestin (Prempro) arm was halted in 2002, citing that the participants’ risk of cardiovascular disease outweighed any potential benefit of HRT in the prevention of colorectal cancer and bone fracture [1]. The conjugated equine estrogen (CEE)-only arm was also halted in 2004 citing no improvement in heart disease risk but an increased incidence of stroke, and no benefit in terms of fractures, although there was a reduced breast cancer risk [2].

Yet the WHI investigators published a report this week [3] after a cumulative follow-up of 18 years finding that there was no overall increase in all-cause, cardiovascular, or cancer mortality as a result of either Prempro or CEE-only treatment during their participation in the trial.

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How to Address Low Libido in Peri-Menopausal Patients

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Friday, 24 February

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Providers routinely call ZRT for support in addressing low libido for their patients during the menopausal transition.

Busy lifestyles, everyday stress, not enough or poor quality sleep and many other factors can all contribute to putting sex at the bottom of the to-do list, well after laundry, scrubbing the floor, and taking the dog to the vet.

Low libido is a multidimensional issue that can have a little bit of everything infused into its mosaic. It's not uncommon that the symptom of low libido is accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and perhaps even mild depression. Helping patients with waning libido is attainable, and one just needs to know where to look. There are a number of factors that appear to be intimately linked to libido that can be divided into three broad categories – endocrine, lifestyle, and physical.

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