When entering menopause many women are not aware of common symptoms and therefore do not connect the dots from my body system to the next. One example would be the way that a cycle begins to change.
We all know that the menstrual cycle changes during puberty and as we enter the fertile years but a good percentage of women do not know anything about the changes the occur when entering menopause. Let’s explore how the cycle changes in relationship to ovulation and PMS.
Both progesterone and estrogen go through changes when entering menopause but it really starts in peri-menopausal years. As time goes on follicles are weaker and don’t mature and develop as well as younger, vibrant follicles. Hormones begin to wane and hormonal imbalance takes the wheel.
Here is one of the most confusing parts: Having low estrogen and being estrogen dominant sound like opposites but are not.
Pause on that for a moment and think about that statement. Many women will run to their doctors for a hormone test and he will tell them “You are not high in estrogen, you are low.” “How can I be estrogen dominant?” you may wonder. You can be low in estrogen but even LOWER in opposing progesterone. We are talking about proportions. Let’s say you eat only 120 calories in a day. That would be a dangerously low caloric intake for the day right? But what if that was 14 grams of fat from 1 TB olive oil? Relatively speaking you would have a high fat diet right? It’s the same concept. The amounts in proportion to each other are what we are talking about.
Entering menopause means a diminishing ovarian function, with aging. Since estrogen is what causes the contraction of the uterus, low estrogen can causing spasms from not having enough “estrogen umph”. At the same time, unopposed estrogen keeps your uterus from relaxing after a contraction as well. This causes a tense kind of cramping, even if you do not have a history of menstrual cramps.
Even low estrogen will still cause a building up the endometrial lining and if unopposed by ovulation will continue to fill the uterine lining. When this continues at an abnormal rate, endometrial hyperplasia can be the result and cancer of the uterus a possible threat. These all stem from estrogen that is unopposed by progesterone; from a good quality ovulation or high estrogen in premenopause.
Another common scenario with the menstrual cycle while entering menopause is that the follicular phase will begin to lengthen as the luteal phase shortens. This is when FSH tries to stimulate weak follicles and it takes longer for estrogen to peak and LH to surge. A weak ovulation follows and the luteal phase becomes shorter and shorter from low progesterone; produced from a lesser quality egg. Longer follicular phase – more blood on the endometrium. The build up of blood comes from the release of estrogen from follicles; estrogen is responsible for the blood lining of the uterus. When an egg is released, estrogen is released into the bloodstream and does its job on the endometrium. The luteal phase is shorter and weaker. Low progesterone interferes with the next cycle and the menstrual cycles spirals downward as time goes on; sometimes quickly, while in others it happens over a few years.
Commonly, it may look like this:
- Early in youth and in fertile years from 14 days follicular phase / 14 days luteal phase; even and balanced – around 28 days each month.
- As fertility begins to wane the luteal phase may shorten to 10-12 days making a small difference to the length of the cycle but pregnancy becomes less viable. Your cycle might be something like 15 / 10.
- Next a longer follicular phase begins to emerge and at first cycles may seem to right themselves by becoming a little longer. What your body is actually doing taking longer for estrogen to rise and signal the release of the egg. This means longer follicular and a shorter luteal phases, and a weaker ovulation, still – maybe 18 / 8-10. Your cycle looks around 26 days so it seems OK but the parts are uneven.
- Next the whole cycle shortens to where there is very little progesterone and it shortens to around 20-24 day cycle, until one ovary may not produce a viable egg and the progesterone produced is negligible. This appears to be one long cycle of around 40 days because 2 unhealthy cycles have combined.
- Lastly, cycles are longer either ovary producing a good ovulation and FSH is working hard to stimulate follicles but they are not responsive to the chemical signals being sent. FSH is very high this point. (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) A test can easily reveal that menopause is either close or complete. Cycles disappear and you are no longer entering menopause but fully engaged.
There are supplements and gadgets that are useful in these times. Some will help with menopausal symptoms, another to detect estrogen changes at this time, natural progesterone cream to offset hormonal imbalance such as estrogen dominance and supplements to help with lowered libido or hot flashes and migraines.
Here are a few suggestions:
- A Fertility Tracker is a great tool at this time so you can SEE your estrogen rising and falling AND when you ovulate. You can also track whether your estrogen is rising more than once before ovulation actually happens.
- Cycle Balance Progesterone Cream is helpful for natural progesterone supplementation. If you suffer with PMS, cramping, spasms, excessive bleeding or other more severe menstrual disorders, consider Cycle Balance Plus. This page has the breakdown of the ingredients which show how well it supports these issues: Cycle Balance Plus Ingredients You can see how helpful they may be to your situation.
- Fertile Lady is helpful to restoring libido because it helps to form better follicles and therefore boosts hormones. It comes in capsule form.
- DHEA Creme is very helpful when nearing or passing menopause. It is the precursor to steroidal hormones – testosterone, progesterone and estrogen. (At the time of writing this article, I am 53 and love it. I helps to keep me calm and more “interested” DHEA is for pre and post menopause. Like the fertile lady but in cream form.
- Diet One Day or One Day Diet Wafers at – Great for quick weight loss when other diets don’t seem to work. Women in menopause seem to love these best. You will find some testimonies at http://www.onedaydietwafers.com and recipes as well.
Other tips while entering menopause:
- Watch your saturated fat as it will deplete calcium because animal products are so acidic and they blocks liver function.
- A detoxed liver is a best friend during menopause. Try a liver cleanse as a regular part of life, but especially when nearing menopause. Clearing the liver with lots of greens and detoxing every so often is very helpful to preventing menopause. Maintenance NOW is your best defense for THEN.
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