By Dr Candace Burch, ZRT Laboratory.
There are approximately 40-50 million menopausal women in the US today with about 3,500 to 5,000 more entering menopause every day.
An estimated two million women in menopause have been seeking more natural treatment solutions after a major study (WHI 2002) found greater risks of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer among hormone replacement therapy (HRT) users.
Menopause is not a disease but a natural process, resulting from diminishing hormones and the end of ovulation as women age. This is the ovaries’ final act: lacking eggs and female hormones, they can no longer perform their reproductive role.
Menopause plays out over time. In the years prior (peri-menopause), troublesome symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings, clue us in to the fact that we are entering a new phase of life.
WhenThe official start of menopause by the calendar is 12 consecutive months without a period – occurring on average around the age of 51. But it’s not uncommon to see symptoms much earlier.
Acute and/or prolonged stress, for example, can negatively impact ovarian function and can precipitate premature menopause in vulnerable women as early as their mid to late 30s. Women can wind up in "surgical menopause" through oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries), and can also be triggered by hysterectomy, radiation, or chemotherapy.
The ovaries are the main producers of the female sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone with a helping hand from the adrenals. The pituitary gland produces Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH) to control egg-ripening and ovulation. Measuring levels of these hormones can be useful in determining fertility and/or menopausal status.
With the approach of aging and the end of fertility, key performers in the hormonal symphony begin to play out of tune. The waning of ovarian hormone production leads to imbalances and the onset of symptoms that change the way we feel from the inside out.
From hot flashes that disrupt sleep, to mood, memory and libido issues, menopause is a challenge best met through maintaining the right balance of hormones. The knowledge that hormones work in tandem with a healthy mind and body are the keys to menopause relief. Once their reproductive role is over, the protective benefits of hormones governing bone, muscle, brain, and heart health become all the more important for optimal aging and disease prevention.
Hormone balance and the knowledge that hormones work in tandem with a healthy mind and body are the keys to menopause relief.
Original of this article was published on ZRT Laboratory Blog.