Menopause is a natural process that signals the end of a females’ capability to reproduce. This process will usually begin between the ages of 40 and 50 years old. At the same time that a women’s cycle ceases, so does the production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is important to remember that menopause is NOT a disease although the dominant medical view treats it as such. It reflects the normal hormonal changes that result in one’s ovaries ending their roles in ovulation. Menopause serves to create a new situation in which there is a reassignment of various endocrine gland functions, so the body must be ready!
Some women may not experience symptoms related to menopause. Others may experience any of the following: nervousness, hot flashes, chills, cold hands and feet, excitability, fatigue, apathy, mental depression, inability to concentrate, crying episodes, insomnia, palpitation, vertigo, headache, numbness, tingling, muscle pain, urinary tract infections, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Below are six tips to help support the endocrine and reproductive systems during menopause.
The endocrine system is made up of ductless glands that work together as a planning committee. This planning committee is responsible for both short-range (i.e. stress response and blood sugar control) and long-range (i.e. immune system activities, conception) goals. These glands are located at considerable differences from one another, and therefore communicate with each other by the release of hormones via the bloodstream. The effectiveness of the endocrine system, and ultimately your well- being during menopause relies on all the members within it.
Unlike hormones produced by the male endocrine system, there are major cyclic changes in the hormonal levels (mainly estrogen and progesterone) produced by the female endocrine system as a part of the menstrual cycle, so keep it healthy!
The secretion of these hormones is cyclical and is governed by complex factors including other hormones the body makes via the thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands. Meaning that the entire endocrine system is involved and requires nourishment in order more menses to occur with regularity and ease.
The ability to produce enough estrogen and progesterone helps to keep women healthy and happy.
Body Fat: As a woman goes through menopause, it is normal to gain between 10-15 lbs. One of the main reasons for this weight gain is the cessation of estrogen production by the ovaries. Fat cells, particularly those in the hips and thighs are responsible for producing much of the circulating estrogen in postmenopausal women. The stress society places on thinness and low-fat meals run counter to the natural functioning of the body. In fact, thin postmenopausal women are at a higher risk for osteoporosis than are those who kept their few extra pounds. Body fat percentage is an indication that the endocrine system in the women’s body is healthy.
Yes, Male Menopause is a Thing: It is not uncommon for men to also experience a decrease in the production of sex hormones, in particular, testosterone, as they get older. This process is called andropause. Symptoms of andropause include irritability, moodiness, depression, weight gain, and docility.
Sources: “Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary”, by Donald Venes MD., “Guyton and Hall’s Textbook of Medical Physiology”, by MDs Guyton & Hall, “The Endocrine System and Chakras”, The National Institute of Whole Health, “Wise Choices, Healthy Bodies: Diet for the Prevention of Women’s Diseases”‘ by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig PhD, “The Weston A. Price Foundation.”;