Eggs. Did you know you were born with around 2 million eggs in your ovaries. By the time you reached puberty you had around 400,000 left and by 45 years old around 10,000 remain. Across a lifetime you’ll have ovulated around 400 times.
But why is this important? It’s because the ovaries and the tissue surrounding the eggs they contain create a potent form of the hormone oestrogen (there are 3 types!) which has massive effect on your mind and body.
Incidentally it’s one of many hormones that keep your body going. The word hormone is derived from the Greek word that describes them as the ‘impulse to do a thing’. When you look at it like that it sounds like a type of drug.
Oestrogen the best drug going
What does oestrogen do for you? It has over 400 functions and affects over 300 places in the mind and body. So when this incredible hormone dwindles it’s no surprise menopause can feel like it’s wreaking havoc with your life. Oestrogen doesn’t work alone, it’s not the only hormone that changes but it is has the most wide-reaching impact.
What happens when the oestrogen party is over?
When your eggs run out and your ovaries stop producing Class ‘A’ oestrogen the job falls to other organs in your body to generate a different, less potent type of oestrogen. And this is when the fun begins. This weaker version, Oestrone, is made in the adrenal glands and fatty tissues, post menopause.(7)
The lower levels of oestrogen account for a wide variety of menopausal issues. The ones most often talked about are; hot flushes; night sweats; lack of mental clarity; anxiety; depression; weight gain; insomnia; joint pain; osteoporosis; cardiovascular issues; lack of libido; vaginal dryness; thinning hair; facial hair; erratic periods; scanty or heavy periods.
It reads like the A-Z of all the things you don’t want to go through, so please remember everyone’s experience is different and there’s plenty you can do to support yourself.
Which other hormones affect menopause
It’d be easy to blame all the changes that happen on oestrogen, its effects are so far reaching. But there are other hormones involved.
Progesterone, also produced in the ovaries (before and after menopause) it’s also produced in the brain and peripheral nerves (which are…). It’s most likely to be low rather than high and can cause tension like issues both mentally and physically. Some of the signs that you’re progesterone is low include, hot flushes, restless legs, feeling stressed, anxiety, headaches, irritability, itchy skin, swollen boobs and water retention.
Progesterone is made from cholesterol, so eating healthy fats and oils is really critical during menopause.
Cortisol, is a stress hormone. It’s to help you fight or flee (alongside adrenaline) and raises your immune system to defend you against physical harm. If you’re stressed or going through an emotional time this stress response can cause all kinds of issues. Increasing weight, hair loss, moody, reflux, cry easily, skin issues, sleep struggles, unable to be calm or think straight, energy slumps, low sex drive and more.
Other hormones that may become out of kilter during peri and menopause include Insulin which is involved in removing sugar from the blood and storing it, so it has a hand in your energy levels and fat storage. High levels of insulin can increase high blood pressure, thicken the artery walls and increase water retention. It affects cortisol and can interfere with thyroid function.
Thryoid issues are common in peri and menopause, mostly caused by falling oestrogen. The thyroid is involved in metabolism, energy and heart rates. It’s influence extends to every cell in the body. Tip filter water. It needs a healthy liver, gut and hormone system to stay in balance. It’s a key player in weight gain – indicated if you’ve done everything with diet and exercise. Support by no alcohol, caffeine, grains, dairy & sugar
If you’d like to know more about how to take care of your hormonal jigsaw check out our blog post.
About Jo Darling MBAcC Lic Acu
Jo is a Brighton-based Acupuncturist with a Bachelor of Science degree in Acupuncture from the University of Greenwich. Her training includes western medicine pathology, physiology and anatomy. She is also a member of the British Acupuncture Council.
Jo is passionate about women’s health. She has helped 100’s of women live healthier, happier lives. She has spent over 10 years practicing acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, reflexology and Chinese herbs.
As well as fertility, pregnancy and natural menopause Jo specialises in the treatment of breast cancer patients particularly those thrown into early menopause by chemotherapy. This work inspired Menopoised.
For more information about her work visit her website.
We understand the challenges of menopause because we are menopausal. That’s why we created Menopoised. The Menopoised Menopause Magnet is a first of their kind, acupuncture inspired, safe, effective and side-effect free. Our products have been created to support a broad spectrum of issues, designed to help guide women through a positive menopause.
How Can Help You?
If you’re suffering with hot flushes and night sweats, we can help. When we trialled our heroine product, the Menopoised Menopause Magnet, over 80% of our participants experienced a reduction in the intensity and frequency of their hot flushes and night sweats within a week of use. Read about our research here.
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