Menopause hormones are usually thought of as estrogen and progesterone. These are the main two types of hormones that impact menopause. Understanding what happens to the female body during menopause shouldn't be taken lightly.
Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the 3 types of steroid hormones produced by the ovaries (testes in men). As steroids, these hormones can enter freely into cells, their nuclei, and DNA programming.
Estrone/E1, estradiol/E2, and estriol/E3 are the 3 estrogens. Estradiol is the most potent and estriol is the most abundant.
Estrogens are produced in the highest amount in the first half of the menstrual cycle.
Estrogen dominance can occur from exposure to what are known as estrogen mimickers, chemicals introduced into the environment that mimic hormones.
Synthetic hormones replacement and birth-control-pills can cause further estrogen dominance. You may have heard of the synthetic hormone, Premarin, which is a form of estrogen that's made from horse estrogen.
Progesterone helps maintain pregnancy, affects insulin levels, slows down the transit of food through the intestines, and helps regulate blood pressure.
Progesterone binds to receptors on osteoblasts, which increases the rate of bone remodeling and formation.
Women who have had a hysterectomy and oophorectomy are given estrogens without progesterone, forcing their adrenal glands to pick up the slack and manufacture as much progesterone as possible. This can cause adrenal exhaustion and stress, leading to DHEA depletion and also possibly cortisone depletion as well.
Testosterone in women boosts libido and energy, helps maintain muscle mass, strengthens bone, and heightens response to sexual stimulation.
The parathyroid gland in the thyroid consists of four tiny structures embedded in the rear surface of the thyroid gland.
Estrogen, progesterone and other hormones impacting menopause
Menopause hormones are affected by other hormones. Therefore, if balance is thrown off, it can trigger a chain reaction in the body that affects the way in which a number of systems function. Synthetic hormones can throw off the the whole system because they don't work exactly like naturally produced hormones do. Synthetic hormones have an altered function that disrupts natural hormonal feedback loops.
Synthetic hormones can cause problems by remaining in the body too long or by not triggering the correct responses at their receptor sites. This can cause problems with communication between the adrenals, reproductive systems, and thyroid systems which results in hormone imbalance.
This is why bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has become popular for balancing hormone levels.
Diet and nutritional deficiency states, stress, and certain drug therapies can influence the balance of hormone levels.
Many factors cause hormone levels to fluctuate. Obesity, hypothyroidism, and insulin levels all can decrease androgen levels.
Pregnancy and hyperthyroidism increase estrogen levels.
When treating menopause symptoms, it's very important to achieve a balance among ovarian, adrenal, thyroid, and pituitary hormones by developing a baseline for against which future hormone testing can be measured.
Why test hormones?
Hormonal imbalances can cause certain symptoms or groups of symptoms that can't be fully addressed unless the specific hormones involved are measured.
Also, prescribing one hormone can often affect others which causes a sort of chain reaction. For example, estrogen can cause a need for more thyroid replacement in a person who is hypothyroid. Menopause hormones don't act in isolation and the levels of any one hormone can affect the levels of other hormones.
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