When entering menopause, lots of women are not aware of its common symptoms and therefore do not connect the dots from the body system to the next. One example would be the way how a cycle begins to change.
We all know that the menstrual cycle changes during puberty and as we enter the fertile years. But what most women do not know about are the changes that occur when menopause approaches.
One question often asked is “How many stages are there in menopause?” The simple answer is, there are four stages namely peri-menopause, pre-menopause, menopause and post-menopause.
So, let’s explore how the menopause cycle changes in relationship to ovulation and PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome).
Both progesterone and estrogen go through changes when entering menopause, which starts in the perimenopausal years. As time passes on, follicles get weaker and do not mature, unlike younger and vibrant follicles.
During this stage, hormones begin to wane and hormonal imbalance enters in to take control. But here is one of the most confusing parts: having low estrogen and being estrogen dominant sound like opposites but in reality, they are not.
Picture yourself in this situation. Imagine you are having a trip to the doctor’s office for a hormone test and he tells you, “You are not high in estrogen but actually low in estrogen.” And then you respond, “How then can I be estrogen dominant?”
You can be low in estrogen but at the same time, even LOWER in opposing progesterone. We are talking about proportions here.
So, suppose you only eat 120 calories a day. That’s, I guess, dangerously low-calorie intake for a single day. But what if 14 grams of that is fat that came from 1TB of 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.
As women enter the menopause stage, the ovarian function starts to diminish because of aging. Since estrogen is what causes the contraction of the uterus, low estrogen may cause spasms from not having enough “estrogen umph”. At the same time, unopposed estrogen keeps the uterus from relaxing after a contraction as well. This will lead to tense cramping, even if you do not have a history of menstrual cramps in the past.
Low estrogen levels may cause an endometrial lining build-up and this could continue to fill the uterine lining if unopposed by ovulation. If this continues at an abnormal rate, it will lead to endometrial hyperplasia, which may lead to cancer of the uterus in the long run. These all stem from estrogen that is unopposed by progesterone; from good quality ovulation or high estrogen in pre-menopause.
Another common scenario of a menstrual cycle entering menopause is where the follicular phase begins to lengthen while the luteal phase shortens. This is when the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) tries to stimulate weak follicles, where estrogen takes longer to peak and LH begins to surge. Weak ovulation follows and the luteal phase becomes shorter by time because of low progesterone which is produced from a lesser quality egg.
The longer the follicular phase, the more blood goes into the endometrium. The blood build-up comes from the release of estrogen from follicles since estrogen is responsible for the blood lining of the uterus.
When an egg is released, estrogen is then discharged into the bloodstream to do its job on the endometrium. Low progesterone interferes with the next cycle and the menstrual cycle spirals downward as time goes on. Some women experience it quickly, while there are somewhere it happens over a few years.
Let’s look at fertility stages to understand better:
- Early in youth and infertile years from 14 days follicular phase / 14 days luteal phase; even and balanced – around 28 days each month.
- First, as fertility begins to wane, the luteal phase may shorten to 10-12 days, making a small difference to the length of the cycle where pregnancy becomes less viable. Your cycle might be something like 15 / 10.
- Second, a longer follicular phase begins to emerge. At first, the cycle may seem to right themselves by becoming a little longer. What your body is actually doing is taking longer for estrogen to rise and signal the release of the egg. This means longer follicular and a shorter luteal phase which results in weaker ovulation, still – maybe 18 / 8-10. Your cycle looks around 26 days so it seems OK but the parts are uneven.
- Third, the whole cycle shortens to around a 20-24 day cycle where there is very little progesterone produced until one ovary stops producing a viable egg and the progesterone produced is negligible. This appears to be one long cycle of around 40 days because of the two unhealthy cycles combined.
- Lastly, cycles get longer either the ovaries producing good ovulation and FSH is working hard to stimulate follicles. However, they are not responsive to the chemical signals being sent. The FSH is getting very high at this point, and getting a menopause test is the only way to see if it’s there closed or complete. The cycles start to disappear and you are no longer entering menopause but fully engaged. Most experts will say that after one year without menses, menopause considered complete.
Various supplements and gadgets are available that are useful in these times especially when first signs of menopause seem to be a little scary for you. Some of them may even help greatly with menopausal symptoms while other tools may be able to detect estrogen changes. There’s also a best natural progesterone cream to offset hormonal imbalance such as estrogen dominance. Not to mention, supplements to help with lowered libido or hot flashes and migraines too. Here are a few suggestions:
- A Fertility Tracker is a great tool to check your estrogens’ rising and falling state and when you ovulate. You can also track whether your estrogen is rising more than once before ovulation actually happens.
- Fertile Balance Progesterone Cream is helpful for natural progesterone supplementation. If you suffer from PMS, cramping, spasms, excessive bleeding or other severe menstrual disorders, consider using Cycle Balance Plus. This page has a list of ingredients used in the product, 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 female libido booster supplements help in restoring libido by forming better follicles which boost hormones. It comes in capsule form.
- Best DHEA Hormone Cream is helpful when you’re near or passing menopause. It is the precursor to steroidal hormones – testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. (At the time of writing this article, I was 53 and loving it. It helps keep me calm and more “interested”. DHEA is used for pre and post-menopause. It’s like the Fertile Lady but only in cream form instead of a capsule.)
- Diet One Day or One Day Diet Wafers are great for women asking the question “How can I lose weight after menopause?” Diet One Day may help for quick weight loss when other diets don’t seem to work. Women in menopause seem to love these tasty and healthy snacks. You will find some testimonies at One Day Diet Wafers and recipes as well.
Other tips while entering menopause:
- Watch your saturated fat intake as it will deplete calcium because animal products are so acidic which blocks liver function.
- A detoxed liver is your best friend during menopause. Try a liver cleanse as a regular part of your daily routine most especially when nearing menopause. Clearing the liver with lots of greens and detoxifying foods every often is very helpful to prevent menopause. Maintenance NOW is your best defense for THEN.
What are your other fears when entering menopause? If you have more questions, please feel free to contact us. You can also visit Beyond Fertility Shop to see more progesterone cream and fertility gadget options.