Ah, the Change, a happy time, an intolerable time. The outcome is based on the symptoms women experience. For some women it’s a walk in the park, for others, the worst time of their lives. Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age being 51.But menopause may occur as earlier as the 30s or 40s or may not occur until a woman reaches her 60s. The average age is about 51. There can be a familial tendency to end the cycle earlier or later in life. Years ago the change took between two years to three years, however with the constant bombardment of estrogen-like substances in our food, cosmetics and environment the average transition is now 8 – 10 years.
Menopause is defined as the cessation of a cycle for an entire year. As the body is shifting its hormonal output it can be a very easy transition or a bearish one. For the woman who is wired and tired, stressed to the max, having thyroid issues, blood sugar and weight issues, over medicated and with gastro-intestinal problems the transition will most likely be challenging.
As a woman goes into the change it puts an overwhelming strain on the hormone stimulating glands in the brain. The pituitary, the master gland of the body, gets its marching orders from the hypothalamus, to secrete its stimulating hormones to keep the system in a state of balance. When the target organs such as the ovaries, the thyroid and the adrenal glands don’t respond, the pituitary increases it production of stimulating hormones to no avail. During the transition time between Perimenopause and menopause the ovaries are shutting down, dismissing the stimulating hormones message. As this happens the adrenal glands need to step up to the plate to and kick up their production of the sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, not to mention keeping up with all of its normal hormone production. The adrenal glands produce cortisol and DHEA, plus other hormones. If the adrenal glands are fatigued and they can’t keep up with the demand on it, the woman is further agonized by the symptoms of menopause. With no reserves available the system crashes.
Estrogen dominance is a major culprit contributing to the many signs and symptoms of menopause. The dominance exists when there is too much estrogen relative to progesterone. Aside of the body’s natural estrogen production there can be exogenous exposure to estrogens from anti-aging creams, pesticides, herbicides, industrial chemicals and petrochemical residue found in plastics. The beef industry uses estrogen to fatten its cattle and to increase milk production. The poultry industry also uses estrogen increase egg yield and to grow pump chickens. When consumed these estrogens end up in our system, racking havoc on our hormonal balance.
Many women have tried to remedy the estrogen dominance by using progesterone cream. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Instead of trying to raise the progesterone levels, it would be advisable to lower the elevated estrogen levels instead. There can be a normal level of estrogen with a lower level of progesterone. How does one know if one hormone level is too high relative to another? The best way is to have salivary hormone testing done. This method of testing looks at the unbound, interactive circulating hormones. Once the imbalance is recognized measures can be taken to reestablish harmony within the endocrine system.
Instead of putting Band-Aids on one component of a tidal wave it is best to look at the entire picture of hormonal interactions. What is the hierarchy of the problem? Does the issue stem as a strictly hormonal imbalance, is it environmental, chemical, from the use of exogenous hormones? It’s a little more than just slathering on more hormones.