About Peri-menopause and Menopause
Natural menopause occurs when the monthly cycle of ovulation comes to an end. This is because the ovarian supply of follicles and eggs declines sharply as a woman approaches menopause. During this time, called peri-menopause or pre-menopause, which can last anywhere from five to fifteen years, the brain continues to send out hormones trying to stimulate the development of ovarian follicles, and it is common for a woman's ovaries to respond erratically, so that her hormones fluctuate a great deal from month to month.
These fluctuations are responsible for many of the symptoms of peri-menopause. Eventually, though, the ovaries are no longer able to develop an egg for ovulation. Ovarian production of estrogen goes into a permanent decline, and progesterone is no longer produced. The lining of the uterus thins, since it isn't being stimulated by high estrogen levels each month, and monthly bleeding stops. Menopause has occurred.
Key Hormones for Women
The key female hormones are estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA. Although considered your “minor hormones” (the major ones being insulin, adrenalin and cortisol just to name a few), when an imbalance of any or all of them is present it can wreak major havoc on your life (as you may already know).
Here are just some of the benefits these youthful hormones provide:
Progesterone - First hormone to decline. Plays a major role in the female reproductive cycle and is also known as the "feel good hormone" because of its mood-enhancing and anti-depressant effects.
DHEA - Levels begin to drop in your thirties. DHEA is a precursor to testosterone...which means that the body metabolizes - or converts - DHEA to testosterone.
- Regulates other hormones
- Protects against heart disease
- Enhances immunity
- Acts as a glucose stabilizer
- Stress reducer
- Stabilizes weight
Testosterone - Produced by your ovaries and adrenal glands. Levels usually decline beginning in the 50's. Responsible for sexual desire
- Enhances libido
- Decreases heart disease risk
- Increases lean body mass
- Prevents osteoporosis
- Lowers total cholesterol and LDL
- Decreases insulin resistance
Estrogen - Found in the body as estradiol, estrone and estriol. Together with progesterone, it plays an important role in the female reproductive cycle and organ health.
Cortisol - Normalizes blood glucose levels, blood pressure, electrolytes. Acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Growth Hormones - Decreases body fat and increases lean muscle mass, reverses osteoporosis, helps with retention of intellect in aging, improves skin texture for a more youthful appearance.