How Menopause Affects a Woman’s Hormone Levels

How Menopause Affects a Woman’s Hormone Levels

Menopause is the cessation of menstruation in women. It is a stage that naturally occurs in women 40 years old and above. At this stage, the gonadal hormone levels usually decline and the woman stops ovulating and menstruating.

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Women’s Menopause, Image credit: Clarissa Sanchez

There are various side-effects of this occurrence, which could make a woman’s aging process turn into a nightmare. This is because all of these hormones have specific functions in the body. The specific hormone levels that are affected during menopause are the following:

Estrogen

Estrogen is a steroid produced by the gonadal glands of women. It has 3 types: estrone, estriol and estradiol, with estradiol as the true ovarian hormone. Estrogen hormones are crucial in the development of the secondary sexual characteristics of women namely; breast and endometrium development; and menstrual regulation or ovum production.

This hormone declines naturally during aging when the glands secrete less and less of the hormone. The decreased concentration would also cause dryness, less elasticity of the vagina, and other unpleasant side effects.

Progesterone

Progesterone is another steroid hormone produced by the ovaries, which starts to decrease during perimenopause (pre-menopause stage) and continues to decreases during menopause. The ovaries naturally decrease their secretion of these hormones, when a woman reaches age 40 and above. The function of progesterone is to prepare the uterus for the ovum, or to induce menstruation.

It is also responsible in enhancing milk production or lactation during pregnancy. Aside from the ovaries, the adrenal glands and the placenta secrete some progesterone, as well.

Testosterone

Testosterone is present in women in low concentrations, but is present in men in high concentrations. Together with estrogen and progesterone, during menopause, testosterone is also decreased in secretion in the ovaries and adrenal glands.

Testosterone increases the libido of women, and the enjoyment of lovemaking. It is also involved in bone and muscle strengthening. In men, it has a major role because it is the primary male sex hormone responsible for the development of secondary male sexual characteristics.

The decreased concentration of these hormones in the body during menopause is a natural part of growing older. With low levels of these significant hormones, women could experience some side effects that could debilitate them.

Some of the effects that women could experience are: hot flashes, mood changes, bouts of depression, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Women, though, cannot escape from the menopausal stage, so the best that they can do is to know vital facts about it and manage the condition properly.

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