Hormones play a huge role in our energy levels, mood, and overall health. With imbalances, they can cause symptoms like PMS, acne, fatigue, depression and anxiety, low libido, and weight gain. As we age, our natural hormone production begins to decline, and this leads to hormonal shifts as well that can cause symptoms like those we hear about in menopause – hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, decreased sex drive, difficulty concentrating, and trouble with memory. What is happening during this time period?
Let’s take a look at a couple of different hormones and see how they play a role in what many women experience during this transitional phase. During menopause, the ovaries begin to decrease production of estrogen and progesterone. Often, the ovaries may decrease their production of progesterone faster than estrogen, leading to a condition called estrogen dominance. Symptoms of estrogen dominance include breast swelling and tenderness, water retention and bloating, and feeling more irritable and emotional before periods. However, because the overall amount of estrogen being produced by the ovaries has decreased significantly, there can also be signs of estrogen deficiency. These symptoms include the typical hot flashes and night sweats, poor memory, incontinence, dry eyes, low libido, vaginal dryness, and eventual loss of bone density.
What else happens? As the ovaries begin shutting down their production of estrogen and progesterone, it is up to the adrenal glands to pick up the slack and produce these hormones. The adrenal glands need to do this on top of the other hormones they are already producing, which include testosterone, DHEA and cortisol. Because of this extra burden on top of our modern day stressors that are concurrently taxing our adrenal glands, the majority of hormones produced by the adrenal glands also decrease during menopause. This means there can be a deficiency in cortisol, DHEA, and testosterone as well. This leads to decreased resistance to stress, fatigue, an increase in colds/flus, skin issues, increased abdominal fat and loss of muscle tone, and decreased libido.
If you know someone that is struggling or you yourself are struggling with any of these symptoms, there most likely are hormonal imbalances occurring. Looking at symptoms along with comprehensive hormone testing will identify where the imbalances lie, and we can help relieve symptoms and bring optimal health back.
Through balancing and supporting our hormones as we age, women can transition gracefully through menopause as well as slowing down the aging process to live long, healthy lives.