Friday, March 7, 2008

Hormone imbalance causes Menopause Symptoms


The transition period in a woman's life when the ovaries stop producing eggs, menstrual activity decreases and eventually ceases, and the body decreases the production of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, is known as menopause. Known as the "change of life," menopause is the last stage of a gradual biological process. It begins about 3 to 5 years before the final menstrual period, and is also known as climacteric, or perimenopause. It is considered complete when a woman has been without periods for 1 year. On average, this occurs at about age 50, but like the beginning of menstruation in adolescence, timing varies from person to person. Surgical menopause occurs if the ovaries are removed or damaged - as in a radical hysterectomy or chemotherapy. In this case, menopause begins immediately, with no perimenopause. Temporary "stress menopause" occurs when women in their late 30s or older have no periods for long stretches of time. It can be caused by stress, chemotherapy, grief, illness, bulimia, anemia, or excessive exercise. With an average life span of 80 years, most women must live with the effects of menopause for a third of their lives.


Low estrogen levels are linked to some uncomfortable symptoms in many women with about 75% of women complaining of these symptoms during menopause. However, the severity and frequency of symptoms varies from woman to woman. Following is a list of symptoms experienced during menopause:

  • Achy joints?
  • Difficulty in concentrating?
  • Headaches?
  • Hot flashes?
  • Insomnia?
  • Early wakening?
  • Mood changes
  • Night sweats
  • Conditions commonly associated with PMS?
  • Changes in sexual desire?
  • Extreme sweating?
  • Frequent urination?
  • Vaginal dryness
(Hot flashes, mood swing, and vaginal dryness are the most noticeable symptoms).

Hot flashes

Hot flashes are sudden explosions or mild waves of upper body heat that last from 30 seconds to five minutes. Hot flashes appear to be a direct result of decreasing estrogen levels. In response to falling estrogen levels, your glands release higher amounts of other hormones that affect the brain's thermostat, causing body temperatures to fluctuate. They often start with a tingling sensation in the fingers. The tingling is followed by fast rises in skin temperature from the chest to the face and rapid heart palpitations. Profuse sweating and then cold shivering often follow this, as body temperature readjusts.

Women who have hot flashes generally weigh less than women who do not have hot flashes. Women who have had a hysterectomy are more likely to have hot flashes.?

Seventy-five percent of women have hot flashes during perimenopause. Fifty percent of women have one each day. Twenty percent have more than one a day. Ten percent have them up to five years after menopause. They are very uncommon after that.
Following events can sometimes trigger a hot flash:
  • Confining spaces
  • Hot, humid weather
  • Caffeine?
  • Alcohol?
  • Hot drinks?
  • Spicy foods?
  • Stressful or frightening events?

Author By Rosa parks

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