Your Hormones during Menopause
Menopause is one of the multiple times in a woman’s life where her hormones will be going through significant changes and fluctuations. It is these fluctuations that will cause the unpleasant symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, insomnia, and stress. So, what exactly are your hormones doing during menopause?
Up to a decade before menopause, the ovaries will begin making less oestrogen. This will happen gradually at first, and this time is called perimenopause. In the final one to two years of perimenopause, oestrogen production will drop dramatically. It is at this time that most women will experience symptoms of menopause. A low level of oestrogen can lead to hot flushes, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, bone loss, vaginal dryness and night sweats.
During perimenopause, the production of progesterone slows gradually until it completely stops. Progesterone is used in the body to help line the uterus in preparation for an egg, therefore when eggs are not being produced, there is no need for the hormone any more. A lack of progesterone can lead to irregular and heavy periods during perimenopause.
A woman’s testosterone levels will peak in her twenties, and decline gradually from there. Testosterone levels at the time of menopause are usually around half of what they are at the peak. A woman’s ovaries will continue to produce testosterone throughout her life, even after production of progesterone stops. Unfortunately, the effects of lowered testosterone levels in women are currently unknown, however it has been suggested that it can lead to a decline in bone density and muscle mass.