Paying Attention to Women’s Health

Posted on October 13, 2020

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a time when women are frequently reminded to get their mammograms. While any month is the perfect time to engage in preventative health measures to take care of one’s reproductive health, October is also a good time to do an overall assessment of how you’re faring, both physically and mentally. 

A woman’s health over her lifetime is marked by several specific stages that create major physiological, and even psychological, changes: menstruation, child-bearing; and menopause. During those stages, in particular, hormones can fluctuate wildly, often resulting in an imbalance that can show up as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which, in turn, could produce feelings of irritability, agitation, and anxiety. 

In addition to hormonal mood swings, body changes during menstruation and menopause can produce discomfort, and even pain, ranging from dysmenorrhea (painful periods including uterine cramping) to ‎vaginismus (pelvic spasms that can cause pain during sex). In turn, pain can produce even more anxiety and affect your mood.

Paying attention to your general health and wellbeing during all stages of life is important, but getting additional support during transitional times is a good idea.

Taking Care of Your Personal Wellness

Part of promoting and maintaining overall optimal health, regardless of gender, is to get sufficient and consistent restful sleep (1), eating healthy, balanced meals (2), and getting enough exercise or movement each day.(3) Hormone swings and pain can interfere with even the most basic aspects of personal health and wellbeing, such as interrupting sleep or making physical exercise uncomfortable and even painful.

Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) affects many of your body’s processes including mood, pain, sleep, appetite, reproduction, and even learning and memory. (4) CB1 receptors are a major part of your ECS and are found mostly within your central nervous system (5), CB1 receptors, however, have also been identified in ovaries (6) and the uterus (7). What happens in your reproductive organs could be affected by what’s happening with your ECS.

Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), both phytocannabinoids found in cannabis, can interact with your ECS in two relevant ways: 

Pain reduction. As an example, a study of patients with chronic pain and neuropathic pain found the use of marijuana or cannabinoid extracts produced positive and improved symptoms. (8) CBD has been found to reduce different kinds of pain and inflammation and THC has been found to have analgesic effects. (9)

Anxiety reduction. CBD has been found to have anxiolytic or “anti-anxiety” effects on humans. (10, 11) One study demonstrated both the calming effect of CBD with some sleep support benefits as well, with the anxiety-reducing effects sustaining through the duration of the study. (12) 

Addressing anxiety and pain, particularly related to female hormonal and body changes, can improve your overall comfort and calm. With more comfort and calm, the basic aspects of personal healthcare, sleep, nutrition, and fitness, are better supported, contributing to better health.

  1. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) 
  2. Eat Right - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) 
  3. Aim for a Healthy Weight - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) 
  4. Modulating the endocannabinoid system in human health and disease: successes and failures (The FEBS Journal) 
  5. Pharmacology of cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors (Pharmacology & Therapeutics)
  6. Localisation and Function of the Endocannabinoid System in the Human Ovary (PLOS One)
  7. Progesterone-dependent regulation of endometrial cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1-R) expression is disrupted in women with endometriosis and in isolated stromal cells exposed to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). (Fertility & Sterility) 
  8. Medical marijuana for treatment of chronic pain and other medical and psychiatric problems: A clinical review. (The Journal of the American Medical Association)
  9. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain (Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management) 
  10. Cannabidiol: from an inactive cannabinoid to a drug with wide spectrum of action (Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry) 
  11. Inverted U-Shaped Dose-Response Curve of the Anxiolytic Effect of Cannabidiol during Public Speaking in Real Life (Frontiers in Pharmacology)
  12. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series (The Permanente Journal) 
  13. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. (Current Drug Safety)


 

Posted to: Wellness & Lifestyle

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