Menopause Mechanics: 1. Introduction

men-mech-intro.png

"A study says owning a dog makes you 10 years younger. My first thought was to rescue two more, but I don’t want to go through menopause again.”
- Joan Rivers


At least 30 symptoms have been associated with the menopause, ranging from the well known such as hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety and depression, to the less common such as allergies, tinnitus and itchy skin. The default position is that all of these are caused by a decrease in the level of oestrogen and that replacing oestrogen should be the primary therapy in resolving these health issues - whether by HRT or bio-identical HRT, or plant oestrogens such as soya and flaxseed. 

Oestrogen replacement always struck me as an odd way to tackle symptoms - after all, oestrogen going down is our natural state of being which has evolved over millions of years. It seems inconceivable - at least to me - that nature has designed a system whereby women outlive their reproductive capacity for decades (and outlive men) while at the same time have to try and survive the fall out of low oestrogen. Our bodies are ridding themselves of this hormone, which means that there must be something else going on and with most symptoms it has little to do with oestrogen as the primary factor causative factor. So:

 

  • Why do some women sail through the menopause, and others have such problems?

  • What does oestrogen actually do in the body?

  • What are the mechanisms that are meant to compensate for the loss oestrogen, and why are the not working in some women?

 

Menopausal symptoms can be divided in to 3 categories, depending on where they originate:

1. Symptoms that originate in the brain: 

  • Hot flushes

  • Chills

  • Night sweats

  • Sleep problems

  • Mood changes

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Feelings of dread

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Memory lapses

  • Headaches

 

2. Symptoms that originate in the body:

  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism

  • Bone thinning

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Thinning hair and dry skin

  • Loss of libido/ increased libido

  • Increase in allergies

  • Breast pain

  • Aching joints and muscle problems

  • Itchy, crawly skin

  • Fatigue

 

3. Symptoms that originate in the reproductive organs:

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Incontinence

  • Increased urinary tract infections

  • Vaginal infections

 

Menopause is not just associated with symptoms, but also with conditions:

  • Hypothyroidism - low thyroid function

  • Osteoporosis

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Breast cancer

  • Reproductive cancers

  • Dementia

  • Alzheimers

 

It all sounds frightening and horrific, but it doesn't need to be once you get a clear picture of the mechanics of the menopause - why the symptoms are occurring and what can be done to alleviate them. In the next article I focus on what's happening in the menopausal brain.

I hope you find this article useful, I will be updating it as new information comes to light.

Keep well,

Sandra

 

PS. Don’t forget: this article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should never not be relied upon for specific medical advice. Every woman experiences the menopause differently and if you would like specific advice, I recommend that you get in touch and join the Modern Menopause Program which will be personalised to your specific symptoms: a thorough assessment of your health will provide vital insights and allow me to create the perfect health plan for you.