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Menopause & Lyme Disease

Women who have had or have Lyme Disease often have a difficult time during Menopause.  They may experience a “flare” in their symptoms due to the declining levels of estradiol and progesterone primarily, but also thyroid hormone, cortisol, DHEA, pregnenolone, testosterone, and growth hormone.  Weight gain around the midsection is common for women in perimenopause and menopausal states and can become even more of a problem when Lyme Disease is present due to metabolic dysequilibrium.

The bacteria that causes Lyme Disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, as well as coinfections such as Babesia, Bartonella, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Q Fever, Ehrlichia, etc… initiate the activation of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, and TNF alpha.  This creates an internal condition of “endotoxemia”, in which the neuroimmune excitotoxicity causes the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to “behave” irregularly, affecting hormonal signaling to tissues.  During a women’s time of hormonal transition, these factors can contribute to exacerbations in fatigue, brain fog, poor memory, insomnia, mood lability, inability to multitask, headaches, increased joint pain, digestive issues, increased allergies, and a host of other symptoms that were not previously present, or were present to a lesser extent.

Symptoms of Progesterone Deficiency (P4) which declines more quickly than estrogen levels and contributes to an even greater hormonal imbalance:

  • Abdominal Bloating
  • Depression
  • Emotional
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Mood Swings
  • Water Retention
  • Weight Gain

Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency (usually Estradiol – E2):

  • Anxiety
  • Brain Fog
  • Breasts lose their shape and elongate
  • Dizziness
  • Dry Skin
  • Flushing
  • Frequent urination and frequent urinary infections
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Night Sweats
  • Restless sleep
  • Vaginal Dryness

Risks associated with Estrogen deficiency:

  • Depression
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Heart attack and cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic Disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vaginal infections

Symptoms of metabolic imbalance in menopause:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Anxiety
  • Bloating
  • Food cravings (alcohol, caffeine, sugar)
  • Headaches
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty handling stress
  • Difficulty with sleep

Dr. Marra is particularly aware of these difficulties that women experience during this time of declining hormones and will help them regain hormonal balance which results in a better sense of well-being and general overall health.  She uses only bioidentical hormones coupled with botanicals and vitamins if needed and generally has great success in returning patients to optimal health.  Additionally, Dr. Marra treats underlying metabolic issues that result from chronic infection, which also contribute to symptom flares during perimenopause and menopause.  Having experienced all this herself, she brings not only professional experience, but personal experience as well.

Menopause can be a joyous time, as a woman enters a new phase of life, but imbalanced hormones can disrupt that joy.

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