Menopause and the Hormones it Affects

Menopause and hormonal imbalanceHormone levels during menopause are anything but level.

The imbalance and deficiencies that present themselves are responsible for a female’s ageing and all the associated symptoms – most of which cause discomfort.

  • Menopause is experienced by women typically by the time they reach the age of 50 years of age.
  • Most women experience menopause starting at 40 years old and may be delayed up to 60 years old in some very rare cases.  
  • The average age is 51.
  • Physical changes begin years before the final menstrual period.

PERIMENOPAUSE

This transition phase is called perimenopause and may last for 4 to 8 years. Many have found themselves reaching menopause much earlier, however, due to genetics, lifestyle choices, environmental influences, chronic stress. Regardless it starts off as “Perimenopause”, but ultimately it represents the decline of a woman’s sex hormones which leads to her reproductive shut down. Alongside, there are additional factors which make the experience of menopause so very “menacing”. If it weren’t’ enough to have one’s sex hormones in constant fluctuation, including the onslaught of symptoms affecting both home and work life. It is enough to wave the white flag of retreat.e

midlife crisis - menopausePhysical changes will start to occur however before the final menstrual period, which signifies menopause has concluded. This transition phase is called perimenopause. Perimenopause may last for 4 to 8 years and ultimately it represents the decline of a woman’s sex hormones which leads to her reproductive shut down.

Alongside, there are additional factors which make the experience of menopause so very “menacing”. If it weren’t’ enough to have one’s sex hormones in constant fluctuation, including the onslaught of symptoms affecting both home and work life. Other hormonal deficiencies come on board to worsen the midlife crisis, if you will.

At the onset of perimenopause moving onto menopause, some extremely important hormones have also taken a hike. What we relied upon our entire life for supporting functions of the body like cognition, motivation, energy regulation, muscle mass, body fat regulation, sleep regulation, mood regulation – many of these core hormones are no longer being secreted as they were before. The decline of these hormones dramatically worsens the health and wellbeing of the patient.  Many women report feeling hopeless, completely incapacitated and extremely fatigued. This is a terrible way to feel when you have children still at home to raise, a job to go to each day, in the support of one’s family.


SYMPTOMS OF PERIMENOPAUSE

  • Hair Thinning and Hair Loss
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Mental Confusion and Brain Fog
  • Hot flushes
  • Urinary Leakage
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Severe Depression
  • Dry Skin 
  • Loss of confidence
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Weight Gain
  • No Motivation 
  • Low to no libido
  • Decreased bone density
  • Agitation and Mood Swings
  • Aches and Pains 

Women need to be educated early on about what to expect so that they can prepare and prevent some of the hardships typical of this hormonal decline. Believe it or not, there is a way you can eliminate most of these painful experiences, and continue living an energetic, positive lifestyle post menopause.

A respect for the endocrine system is imperative in delaying or at least buffering menopausal symptoms. Women as early as 30 have the ability to take charge of their health, by getting their hormone levels checked regularly alongside making lifestyle modifications to prevent early onset menopause.


Low Progesterone Levels at Menopause

Progesterone has a relaxing mechanism which helps women in times of stress to buffer the adverse effects. Excessive stress blocks the cellular communication from progesterone and blocks its ability to provide this buffering. Without adequate progesterone, the body can then steal progesterone as a raw material. This, however, makes the body then create more cortisol which puts the stress response back in action.

The result of chronic stress = increased belly fat (visceral fat).

Menopause and Increased Visceral Fat

Progesterone is also a natural diuretic. Lowered levels of progesterone at menopause will result in more bloating than usual due to this deficiency.

More Information About Progesterone


Low Testosterone Levels at Menopause

Published in the journal Obesity is the findings from a study which shows bioavailable testosterone to be a reliable indicator regarding a women’s potential for storing visceral fat. Of the 359 women who were aged 42 to 60 and went through menopause, the research utilised compared the computed tomography scans and blood tests to ascertain correlations between belly fat and levels of testosterone and estradiol.


Oestrogen Deficiency at Menopause 

Oestrogen deficiency has been shown to promote metabolic dysfunction which predisposes a woman to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

  • Oestrogen levels are lower with physical activity
  • Oestrogen raises SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding G)
  • Oestrogen increases visceral lipolysis
  • Oestrogen receptors (Alpha) are greater in the abdominal region
  • Oestrogen upregulates alpha adrenergic receptors via oestrogen receptor alpha

Studies explain that insulin resistance can be related to SHBG levels and liver fat in midlife women. Therefore having decreased SHBG and increased liver fat may indicate an increased risk of metabolic disease which is seen in postmenopausal women.