When we think of menopause, most of us think of hot flushes, mood swings and generally just getting older! But what’s actually happening to our bodies beyond just ageing and more importantly, why does it actually happen? You will be pleased to know it’s not just our bodies way of getting back at us, there really is a purpose behind it all. It’s not so much a ‘pause’ as an ending to one phase and the beginning of the next.
During the reproductive years, a woman’s ovaries produce the female sex hormones progesterone and estrogens. These are produced in varying amounts throughout a woman’s monthly cycle to manage the process of ovulation and build up the lining of the uterus for any potential pregnancy. Your body will do this every cycle in preparation and if no pregnancy occurs, the lining sheds as menstruation. Every woman is born with a pre-defined number of egg cells and when this reserve has been depleted, the ovaries can no longer produce progesterone and estrogen in the same way. This doesn’t mean the body completely stops producing estrogen. It still makes small amounts in the adrenal glands just above the kidneys.
Menopause occurs on average at age 51, but of course, it can happen much earlier or later for some women. Menopause can also be medically induced by the removal of the ovaries.
Thankfully, reaching menopause is a transition and not something that happens overnight. Typically the time leading up to menopause (known as peri-menopause) takes place 1-2 years before menopause itself. These changes can feel very subtle or they can create a high-level of discomfort similar to that experienced by many women during official menopause.
Why Does it Have to Be This Way?
You might be wondering, why our bodies are designed this way and we couldn’t just go on forever producing and releasing eggs from our ovaries. Really, it’s our bodies way of protecting ourselves and it’s an important part of evolution. If we could have children at 90 years old we wouldn’t be able to care for them or raise them. In the same way, our eggs age with us and older eggs generally have a higher rate of chromosomal abnormalities. Menopause is natures way of protecting the next generation.
On top of this, the risks from childbirth increase as we age and so do the risks of developing breast or ovarian cancers. These cancers rely on estrogen and latch on to the hormone for growth, so the reduction of estrogens protects us from these diseases and more.
Struggling Through Menopause
Menopause is a natural process that every woman will go through, so it doesn’t seem fair that we should suffer through it. Sadly, a high percentage of women will struggle with multiple symptoms including the below:
- Night Sweats
- Hot Flushes
- Mood Swings
- Low Libido
- Vaginal Dryness
- Poor Skin Tone
- Hair Loss
- Bladder Infections
- Digestive Problems
This is not an extensive list, but these are the main areas of concern for most women.
We designed LaBalance Plus+ to combat up to 24 different symptoms of menopause (including the ones mentioned above).