Hello everyone and welcome to our series on perimenopause and menopause. This is the first of 4 blog posts and in which I will outline the normal, healthy process of menopause. In our 2nd post we will talk about how the adrenals are supposed to function as women enter menopause and hormone replacement. The 3rd post will be about how inflammation can affect the transition to menopause, and our final post will look at how your brain function fits into the picture.
Let’s start out with the basics. Perimenopause is defined as the time in between having normal cycles and when she stops cycling for 12 consecutive months which puts you “officially” in menopause. This transition often starts in the late 40s or early 50s but does vary from woman to woman and family to family. Throughout a women’s life her pituitary gland instructs her ovaries to make estrogen and progesterone and testosterone in a cyclical manner correlating to her cycle. In menopause the ovaries decrease their hormone production and disassociate from their pituitary gland control. As this is happening cycles become irregular and less predictable and eventually stop completely.
I am going to pause for a moment a point out that this SHOULD pretty much be the end of the story. Do you know a woman who has gone smoothly into menopause with no real change in symptoms other than just she stopped having her cycles? Although it is a rarity in the U.S. these women do exist and this is the way it should be! However, for the vast majority of women in the U.S. this transition from cycling to not cycling is not as smooth but is accompanied by a host of symptoms including:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mood swings
- Urinary incontinence
- Bone loss
- Vaginal dryness
- Hair Loss and thinning
- Pain and inflammation
- Weight gain
- Decreased memory and cognitive function
So why is it that some women are lucky and do not experience these symptoms along with menopause? More importantly is there a way to eliminate these symptoms if I am having them!? The answer is yes! In our next article, we’ll outline different solutions to these symptoms including taking hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone why the adrenal glands can make a huge difference.