YOPD Women’s Council: Menstruation, Menopause, Hormones, and Parkinson’s

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Receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis when you’re young is overwhelming enough. Being a woman with a Parkinson’s diagnosis adds an additional layer of complexities and challenges.

In this episode

In this panel discussion, our YOPD Women’s Council and special guest Dr. Karen Jaffe, MD, talked about the added challenges women living with Parkinson’s face as it relates to menstruation, menopause, and hormones.

To download the transcript, click here.
(Note: This isn’t a perfect transcript, but it’s close.)

Show Notes

  • Very little research has been done about the relationship between menopause and Parkinson’s, including the effects of common treatments such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Progesterone. There has been some indication that estrogen is helpful in treating Parkinson’s symptoms and is known to be helpful in treating menopausal symptoms, so if you are experiencing both, talk to your doctor about its possible use
  • Many of our panelists began experiencing Parkinson’s symptoms as they were going through menopause, so it was very difficult to know which symptoms were attributed to what. The panelists encourage women to focus on the symptoms, rather than the cause itself, and experiment with different treatments and doctors to find the right solution for you
  • When a woman’s estrogen levels begin to decrease, impacts affect the skin, the bones, the vagina, and the brain. Progesterone can be used used to balance out estrogen levels
  • Dating with Parkinson’s can be incredibly difficult. Remember that you are more than your Parkinson’s, and open communication and honesty are key to meaningful relationships
  • It is common for women to experience both physical and psychological issues relating to sex during menopause and as an aspect of living with Parkinson’s. Although it may be uncomfortable at times, be an advocate for yourself and discuss these issues with your doctor. Medical treatment along with open and honest conversation with your partner can help address these concerns
  • Women tend to be more likely to put the needs of their partner, children, or family above their own, and this can lead to the worsening of symptoms because of a lack of attention. Make time for self-care on a regular basis.  If you attend to your needs first, you will be better situated to attend to those of others
  • Our panelists encourage women to be open and honest about their Parkinson’s symptoms. Educating others about the prevalence of Parkinson’s and the common symptoms can help erase the stigma

Resources mentioned in the webinar

InMotion

Shaking With Laughter

Side Effects May Include

Modern Love Article

Sleeping With Your Gynecologist

Balancing Work and Parkinson’s: YOPD Council

European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA)

European Parkinson’s Disease Association: Women and Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s and Medication: YOPD Women

The Complexities of Hormonal Influences and Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Sexuality and Intimacy for People with Parkinson’s

Dating and Parkinson’s

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*The Third Season of the Parkinson’s Podcast is made possible through generous support in honor of Dr. Margaret Hilgartner.

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