Hormones and Menopause
More Info on Menopause
Menopause can last anywhere from a few months to a few years and will occur most often from the ages of 45 - 55. During this time, you may have a period; other months you may not and during this time while you experience menstruation, it is still possible to fall pregnant.
Going through the menopause is often an emotional roller coaster ride with mood swings and plenty of ups and downs. During the menopause, there are many changes going on physically and all of these changes are being controlled by the body’s change chemicals: hormones. According to research, about 20% of women do not experience any negative side effects from their menopause, while about 80% of women do.
Changes of Life – Puberty and Menopause
Puberty is the time in a person’s life when a girl becomes physically prepared to be able to have children. Puberty itself comes from the Latin word ‘puber’ meaning adult. At puberty, a woman becomes sexually fertile and able to produce children.
Menopause is the reversal of puberty. It is a time when the egg-forming ovaries stop producing eggs. It is a time of change when a woman passes from being able to produce children to no longer being able to get pregnant.
Both puberty and menopause are physical processes brought about and controlled by substances in the body known as hormones. It is good to know something about hormones as they play a huge role in the change of life or menopause in women.
Hormones in Menopause
Hormones play a vital role in all the physical changes that our bodies go through. Underarm hair, facial hair, pubic hair, the development of breasts, menstruation and menopause are all processes that occur because of hormones. The word ‘hormone’ actually comes from a Greek word ‘hormn’ meaning to urge on. Hormones literally urge organs of the body into doing specific tasks.
Hormones act like the body's chemical messengers, starting processes and triggering responses all over the body. Hormones are produced in one part of the body, for example in a gland such as the pituitary gland (situated in the brain) and are sent to another part of the body where they produce their results.
For example the pituitary gland in females releases the Follicle Stimulating Hormone which activates the ovaries and assists in the production of eggs and the menstrual cycle. Hormones move around the body, usually travelling in the blood stream and they have specific functions on bodily processes.
During menopause, hormones play a vital role in reversing the reproductive process; a woman’s ovaries no longer produce eggs, the frequency of menstruation slows down and then stops which means that pregnancy can no longer take place.
Stress during Menopause
Just as hormones during puberty start the process called menstruation, so too, during menopause, hormones levels change again and are responsible for the emotional and physical changes women go through. As a result of many hormonal changes during menopause, stress levels can increase markely during this time.
Hormones affect our physical changes and also our moods and feelings. Many women during menopause will experience one or some or all of the following symptoms:
- An increase in irritability.
- Rapidly occurring changes in emotional states.
- A large range of emotional extremes from feeling great to feeling sad.
- Increased anxiety & stress levels.
- Lacking energy or get up and go.
- A decrease in patience.
Looking After One’s Health
Looking after one’s health is as important during menopause as it is during other times in one’s life. It is probably more important now so as to assist your body through the many changes that it is going through.
Regular Exercise & Balanced Diet
Gentle, regular exercise can be very beneficial such as taking a walk. Exercising increases the oxygen supply to the cells, which also speeds up the flow of waste products away from the cells. Regular exercise can help to tone the muscles and improve overall vitality levels.
A sensible dietary plan will benefit you greatly during the change of life. This should include plenty of high quality nutrients from all the major food groups: proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, fats and fibre. Drinking plenty of fresh water daily is also recommended.
Use of Herbs during Menopause
Each woman experiences different menopause symptoms and different extremes. Herbs can bring emotional and physical symptoms in this change of life when used wisely and as part of a healthy lifestyle and here is why.
Herbs are helpful to us at different times in our lives because they are natural and powerful. Herbs contain plant hormones or plant chemicals. The bacteria in our intestines convert the plant hormones into natural chemicals that our body can use easily and are a natural product. Taking herbs can assist the body through changes that take place and help the body heal itself, naturally.
When using herbal tinctures or extracts for a long period of time, herbalists often recommend that the herbal tincture is taken for 6 days out of 7. On the 7th day, do not take the herb but let the body rest.
If you are taking any prescribed medication, please consult with your professional health practitioner before you start taking a course of herbal remedies.