Three types of hormones in a women’s body are affected during menopause. These hormones are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
A decrease of estrogen by the ovaries leads to a women’s midlife change — menopause. During perimenopause, which is the period of time leading up to menopause, estrogen levels will fluctuate. A lowering of hormone levels can cause menopausal symptoms.
For example, a decrease in estrogen can cause vaginal dryness. The lack of estrogen may also indirectly result in a decrease in your libido, cause night sweats, and hot flashes.
Other symptoms of low estrogen include headaches, palpitations, bone loss, fatigue and insomnia. Levels of estrogen can become very low during menopause.
However, a fluctuation of levels of estrogen can cause breast tenderness, bloating, and heavy menstrual bleeding during perimenopause.
If you are between the ages of 40 and 55 and are having menopausal symptoms, you can obtain a free menopause symptom tracker here.
This tracker will allow you to write down your symptoms, the date, and how much the symptoms bother you. You can also write down things you tried to improve your symptoms. On your next doctor’s visit, you can bring the chart and discuss possible ways to manage your symptoms.
During the change, you will also have a decrease in progesterone and testosterone.
A decrease in progesterone production causes your menstrual cycle to become irregular. For example, during perimenopause a lack of progesterone may cause heavier periods, lighter periods, and possibly irregular periods.
Testosterone, which is known as the male hormone, is important to a woman’s sex drive, but it also helps maintain muscle and bone mass. In addition, testosterone helps produce a woman’s estrogen.
After the age of 20, testosterone levels begin to decrease and at menopause, testosterone levels are at half the peak.
Currently, there is not a large amount of research to confirm what exactly happens with the fluctuation of hormones during menopause. Ellen W. Freeman, PhD, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center stated in the Huffington Post, "We certainly know more than we did a decade ago, but there's a lot to uncover."
if you are experiencing any symptoms, you should talk with your doctor. Your medical practitioner can discuss hormone therapy, as well as prescribe antidepressants, or joint paint cream.
It is important to inform your doctor or medical practitioner of any supplement that you are taking, or thinking of taking, as they may mix negatively with other prescription medications.
Pan, Joann. "Menopause Symptoms: Women Report Strange Sensations Beyond The Common Signs." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 11 July 2013. Web. 27 May 2015.
The North American Menopause Society. "Change in Hormone Levels." 27 May 2015.
"Menopause." Womenshealth.gov. Web. 29 May 2015
Reviewed June 1, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith