Specific probiotics for postmenopausal women
Estrogen depletion in menopause/postmenopause may negatively contribute to several health areas such as musculoskeletal, metabolic, immune, and vaginal health. As the number of postmenopausal women is increasing due to higher life expectancy, health issues affected by low estrogen are becoming more prevalent and important public health targets. Probiotics as nutritional supplements could provide health benefits to postmenopausal women by modulating microbiota composition and function as well as the immune system. This review aims to summarize available data on the role of specific probiotics in diverse range of health outcomes affected by estrogen depletion in postmenopausal women. We first describe physiological changes in menopause/postmenopause and then focus on reviewing specific probiotics that could benefit the health of postmenopausal women.
Menopause is characterized by declining function of the ovaries resulting in termination of reproductive period and in diminishing amounts of ovarian hormones, especially 17β-estradiol (E2).
A Western woman reaches the menopausal age on average at 51, with racial and ethnic variability. As life expectancy of females exceeds 80 years in most of the West, women easily live 1/3 of their lives in estrogen deficiency. Menopausal transition lasts approximately 4.5 years (1) and is associated with hormonal fluctuations causing discomfort, with symptoms varying from mild to severe those being e.g. vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes/night sweats), insomnia, changes in mood/behavioral patterns, decreased metabolic rate, weight gain and vaginal dryness(2). Since hormonal balance changes permanently from that of premenopausal years, the discomfort may continue beyond the transition, thus, significantly affecting women’s quality of life. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in various forms is targeted to relieve the symptoms of E2 depletion. However, there are concerns related to HRT, which has been shown to increase the risk for breast cancer, blood clots a ...