In this article we will discuss menopause and what happens at this stage of a woman’s life.
Conventional medicine have the ‘perfect’ solution, to put back what has diminished since the ovaries officially go into retirement at age 52 or thereabouts, that’s of course you still have them and conventional medicine has not removed them along with your uterus.
Please be advised...All your body parts that you started with should be in place when you finally ‘kick the bucket’, even if some specialist advises you to remove an organ because they can’t fix it.
Even if something has become cancerous, don’t panic, cancer is a normal expression in the body when imbalance or age changes occur, and if you have read my articles on Cancer you will know that cancer occurs every time during pregnancy in every woman on the planet, because cancer is the trophoblast and the trophoblast is cancer.
IN ANY EVENT THIS IS NOT AN EXCUSE TO TAKE ANYTHING OUT.
Natural methods and proteolytic enzymes can treat it..before you agree to anything with your oncologist please read my articles on Cancer.
So here we go again around the loop of foolishness and ignorance where Hormone replacement therapy will replace your diminishing estrogen, although this is true, you can actually become estrogen dominant at menopause..READ ON and find out why….
Estrogen and Progesterone Production
The ovaries are the female equivalent to the testes or gonads in the male.
The Ovaries have a dual purpose, to produce the ova or follicle egg cells and also they are an endocrine gland since they secrete both estrogen and progesterone hormones which are crucial for reproductive development.
They are the size of a large grape and are located on opposite sides of the pelvic wall, either side of the uterus attached to the fallopian tubes by fimbria tissue.
The estrogen secreted comes in 3 flavors Estradiol, Estrone and Estriol. The ovaries also secrete a hormone Relaxin (to loosen the pelvis in preparation for labor) prior to birth and Inhibin which signals the pituitary to cease FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone).
Once puberty is reached in a young lady, the ovaries begin to release a single egg each month (typically a female baby is born with around 45,000 eggs) called Ovulation.
This is under the control of the Hypothalamus that instructs the pituitary gland to release FSH and Luteinizing (used to trigger ovulation and development of the Corpus Luteum) hormones which are required for reproduction and menstrual cycle regulation.
The corpus luteum is an essential (for pregnancy) temporary endocrine gland that develops in the ovaries as the egg migrates down the fallopian tube, and is responsible for Progesterone secretion.
Progesterone secretion is needed to thicken the uterine lining in preparation for pregnancy.
If pregnancy does not transpire the corpus luteum decays within 10 days.
During Menopause the ovaries begin to go into retirement and Estrogen production drops significantly compared to a woman’s fertile years, but progesterone production also drops and generally more so than Estrogen, so the woman becomes Estrogen dominant.
The symptoms of estrogen dominance include Breast tenderness, Irritability, Depression, Chocolate Cravings, Weepy emotional state, Weight gain in the hips and stomach, Low libido, Fibroids, Cancer, and Endometriosis. ( Internal cells that make up the layer of tissue inside the uterus, the Endometrium, that begin to grow outside of the Uterus).
There is also an antagonist relationship between Progesterone and Estrogen.
To maintain Homeostatic balance the Adrenal glands are a back up system to the Ovaries, so during menopause, in terms of hormone production the adrenal glands make the same hormones the ovaries did before they retired.
However, if you become stressed, for any number of reasons, experiencing body changes, any of which could be as listed below under Possible Menopausal symptoms, or you have visited your physician who may possibly put the fear of God in you and say “if you don’t take this, you will get that”..whatever.
You might be really lucky and your physician will say “ It’s probably the time to think about changing your diet and add some great natural foods that will help your body achieve homeostasis, and one of the best therapies that will only cost you time but with marvelous benefits is EXERCISE which will stimulate your functional machinery and RELAX you”.
So the body will become stressed normally, once the ovaries cease to produce estrogen and progesterone, which will activate the adrenals to take up the slack, and in its response to the perceived stress the adrenals will produce Cortisol, the body’s main anti-inflammatory substance, but cortisol needs progesterone for its production so it will reduce the progesterone level even more thus leading to Estrogen dominance.
In terms of biological decision making, the body considers stress management much more important than hormone depletion.
If you are stressed within menopause your body will get out of balance and as cortisol production increases while progesterone levels decrease, estrogen levels increase especially if you are overweight.
Our adipose fat cells produce estrogen and I am sorry ladies the further away you are from your normal healthy weight (leaning toward obesity*) the more estrogen you will produce.
Unfortunately there is enough scientific evidence out there providing causal associations between the overproduction of estrogen and endometrial and breast cancers.
The same situation occurs in men when prostate cancer is fueled by Estradiol.
Another factor is that estrogen also makes fat so as I have said before..
WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG YOUR BODY WORKS FOR YOU, BUT WHEN YOU GET OLDER YOU HAVE TO WORK FOR YOUR BODY.
* Thanks to pharmaceutically driven conventional medicine ‘healthy body standards/levels like blood pressure,cholesterol, Obesity etc are a moving target to them because they are profit driven and they have a voracious appetite to sell more of their drugs.
Be aware, the health standards committee changed the definition of obesity in 2013 instantly converting 78 million people and 12 million children to obese individuals
Menopause: a Natural Progression in Every Woman’s Life
First of all let me say that menopause is a natural circumstance in a woman’s life and the symptoms I appreciate are far from comfortable, but then taking a synthetic drug might be just as bad if not far worse.
Let us look the first drug that was introduced in 1942 Premarin that was touted to be a menopause symptom reliever, now look at the risks of taking it:
- abnormal vaginal bleeding;
- a lump in your breast;
- confusion, problems with memory or concentration;
- heart attack symptoms – chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;
- liver problems – nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- signs of a stroke – sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance;
- signs of a blood clot in the lung – chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood; or
- signs of a blood clot in your leg – pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs.
Common Premarin side effects may include:
- breast pain or tenderness;
- swelling in your hands or feet;
- vaginal itching or discharge, changes in your menstrual periods, light vaginal bleeding or spotting;
- hair loss; or
- nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach cramps.
I am not a women so I really cannot appreciate the discomfort of:
Possible Menopausal Symptoms
- Hot Flashes/Night sweats
- Brittle nails
- Irregular periods
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Changes in odor
- Loss of libido
- Sleep disorder
- irregular heartbeat
- Vaginal dryness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Memory lapse
- panic disorder
- breast pain
- burning tongue
- electric shocks
- digestive problems
- gum problems
- itchy skin
- Tingling extremities
I suspect that not all women experience all 34 menopausal symptoms listed above but to compare these symptoms to the side effects of an estrogen drug I would put up with some discomfort then risk blood clots in the lung or heart attack symptoms.
Menopausal Treatment and Study Outcome
Despite all of the marketing and films made by drugmakers like the one made by Ayerst in 1972 containing much pseudoscience and promise of a new lease of life, the science behind such claims were very thin.
These early promotional films aimed to educate physicians about hormone treatment and playing on older women’s fears that she is changing for the worst and her quality of life will descend into Dante’s Inferno.
These films would include fear mongering and selling sickness from statements such as:
“The physical alterations that are associated with the menopause may induce emotional changes. When a woman develops hot flashes, sweats, wrinkles on her face, she is quite concerned that she is losing her youth that she may indeed be losing her husband.”
It was 1966 when Dr Robert Wilson a Manhattan cardiologist who, as it turned out, had strong financial ties to the hormone drug manufacturers authored a book ‘Feminine Forever’.
In the book women are referred to as ‘Castrates’ if they did not take hormones. What could be more insulting ?.
At the time, the FDA banned Wilson from certain research for unsubstantiated claims such as hormone treatment will give you back your youth,beauty and a good libido.
The book ‘Feminine Forever’ was actually funded, including several patient groups that were purported to be independent, by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (used to be called American Home Products that was founded in Pennsylvania in 1860 and was purchased by Pfizer in 2009).
Nevertheless, millions of postmenopausal women began taking Estrogen ‘Youth pills’.
Then in 1975 the New England journal of Medicine reported that all cases of Endometrial cancer occurring among residents of an affluent retirement community had casual links to conjugated estrogen use,
Then the same journal reported in 1989 an association of Breast cancer with Synthetic Estrogen Therapy.
In July 2002, the lid came off of Synthetic Estrogen Therapy, when The Women’s Health Initiative studies (WHI) conducted over a time period between 2002-2006.
The authors, that included the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute concluded that these studies that examined the effects of Estrogen and Progestin (drug name E+P Prempro) and Estrogen alone (drug name Premarin) increased the risks of Coronary Heart disease, Invasive breast cancer, Stroke and Venous Thromboembolism.
Although various people criticized, and questioned the validity of the studies ( let me guess..people that were funded by the manufacturers of the drugs), but there is no smoke without fire.
In summary the drugmakers started with Estrogen Replacement Therapy using Premarin, but they discovered it heightened the risk of contracting cancer.
Then Hormone replacement therapy was introduced and added Provera a synthetic Progesterone which also caused some nasty side effects and the risk of cancer.
They then tried Estradiol with added Progesterone and Estrogen with similar results, nasty side effects and cancer risk. Then they created Prempro, and as mentioned above during the WHI study, this drug was found to increase the risks of Coronary Heart disease,invasive breast cancer ,stroke and venous thromboembolism.
Estrogen – Estradiol, Estrone and Estriol.
Natural Estrogen comes in 3 flavors Estradiol, Estrone and Estriol.
Estradiol is the main Estrogen that drives the development of women, initiated at puberty it drives breast development, feminine body shape (widening of the hips), bones and joints development, fat distribution and vagina/vulva maturation.
It also acts as a growth hormone for tissues relating to the reproductive system, the lining of the vagina, cervical glands, the Endometrium (outer layer of the Uterus which thickens for pregnancy or sloughs off during the menstrual cycle).
Estradiol also has an effect on the human skeleton where Estradiol is part of the Osteoblast (the building of bone), but unaffecting the Osteoclast process (the tearing down of old bone).
During menopause, since Estrogen declines the osteoblast process declines leading to potential Osteoporosis in some women.
Estrone is less potent than Estradiol (approx 1/10) and is produced by belly fat cells and is the major Estrogenic form in menopausal women.
The body however can convert Estrone into Estradiol or vice versa.
Estriol is a waste byproduct of metabolized Estradiol which causes ‘morning sickness’.
In the imbalanced body this estrogenic waste product can block estrogen receptor sites from active estradiol, and elevated levels of its breakdown product, 16-hydroxyestrone, increase the risk of developing breast and cervical cancer.
After menopause Estrone becomes the predominant estrogen although the ovaries still produce a small amount of Estradiol and Testosterone which can be converted into estradiol.
The adrenals continue to produce Androstenedione which can be converted into estrone or estradiol by the adipose tissue, the muscles and skin cells.
Estrone is a known Carcinogen, and excessive Estradiol can increase the risk of Carcinogenesis.
Estriol also buffers Estradiol to keep it within acceptable levels, since Estriol is Anti-carcinogenic.
As you can it is quite a balancing act, but with a little dietary and lifestyle change, it can make all the difference in supporting your body to balance these different estrogens.
Taking estrogenic treatment (HRT for example) in an attempt to replace the body’s complex balancing process pre and post menopause in my opinion is not a good idea.
So the burning question is,
What can I do to help the body balance Estrogen ??.
The body, given the correct nutrients will always protect you. The body avoids ill health if it can. Give it what it needs and it will.
The primary food that you need to consume every day are Cruciferous Vegetables, lightly steamed if possible. The Cruciferous family of Vegetables include Cabbage, Cauliflower,Broccoli, Radish, Brussels sprouts and are all powerfully anti-estrogenic and anti-carcinogenic.
Both hormonal driven cancers Breast and Prostate cancers can be avoided by eating these vegetables daily.
Futhermore, consuming these vegetables and maintaining healthy stress levels by daily exercise, use Ashwaghanda which is a tree root supplement powder that augments the stress axis, and you can keep hot flash moments down to a minimum.
Why do hot flashes occur ?
Prior to Menopause, when the Ovaries are functioning normally, the Hypothalamus is responsible for notifying the Ovaries that it is that time of the month to Ovulate and release an egg in preparation for fertilisation.
In response to this signal, within this feedback loop, between the Hypothalamus and the Ovaries, the ovary sends an Acknowledgment Signal (ACK) back to the hypothalamus indicating that it has satisfied the request from the Hypothalamus.
After Menopause the Ovaries go into retirement and the Adrenals take over in terms of releasing Ovarian hormones.
The Hypothalamus senses the change but it still sends this request for Ovulation but this time to the Adrenals, which under normal cIrcumstance the adrenal will comply and respond with an ACK and send this back to the Hypothalamus.
However, if the Adrenals are not functioning efficiently, due to say Fatigue through stress then this ACK signal is delayed or not sent at all to the Hypothalamus, but the hypothalamus continues ‘tapping on the door of the adrenals’ eventually causing a stress signal and the adrenals will begin to secrete Cortisol, the normal anti-inflammatory response to stress which will elevate blood pressure and body temperature and ‘viola’ hot flashes.
Therefore, as I stated above it is important to manage stress by maintaining balance and avoiding estrogenic dominance by daily exercising and eating Cruceferous vegetables daily as well as supplementing with Ashwaghanda
I hope I have convinced some women that relying on synthetic drugs to re-balance your hormones during menopause is not advisable..in fact stay well away from it, and if your physician recommends it, take a second opinion.
There is a lot of controversy in conventional medicine concerning HRT, and its administration is based on very little science, some even believe that if you replace everything the way it was, the biology of the body will return to normal, as it was before menopause.
This may work for some, but tweaking the HRT in terms of how much of Estradiol, Estrone and Estriol you need is experimental, and how long will it take before you get it right..remember the BODY IS A DYNAMIC ORGANISM.
Menopause is not just physical IT IS EMOTIONAL which is huge;.nobody wants to age let alone age and suffer as well, so the temptation is to find a quick fix and in those minds HRT is the quick fix..but this is a myth, because quick fixes come with a price..in some cases a big price, so it is fundamentally important that menopausal women must have a rock solid SUPPORT SYSTEM.
Family and close friends are equally as important, seek out Menopausal support groups if you don’t feel strong enough to handle this mega load on your own, and even better a Menopausal support group that believes in more natural therapies, otherwise you’ll get talked into accepting HRT which as I said before is not the road you want to go down.
What I would do if I were YOU?
It all harks back to the same thing, but specifically you don’t want to ingest an excessive amount of estrogenic substances like unfermented soy products or non-organic produce that has been sprayed with pesticides, since pesticides mimic estrogen.
Organic vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage that contain diindolylmethane(DIM), and Indole-3-carbinol an Aromatase estrogen inhibitor should be eaten in abundance.
Consume lots of green leafy vegetables (Kale, chard dandelions, etc).
Eat organic meat (hormone free) and take Iodine (in food form such as sea Kelp).
Supplement with Nettle root for some extra natural aromatase inhibitors.
Manage your stress with supplemental support from Ashwaghanda ( or Maca) root powder and Moringa Powder.
“Thank God I’m over the hill. The only heat I have left comes from hot flashes, my promiscuity is confined to the words ‘one size fits all,’ and I buy my white cotton unmentionables at Boadicea’s Retreat, not Victoria’s Secret. None of the things men do to women could possibly happen to me now unless the U.S. is invaded by one of those new Russian republics whose soldiers aren’t fussy.”
“You know, these conservative women, somebody really needs to go repossess their ovaries. Really, truly, they have no right to them. They are fabulous, little organs and they have absolutely no right to be estrogen-bearing beings. Okay? Just cut ’em off, let ’em go through the hot flashes, let ’em just sit there and complain about hormone therapy, okay? Just take the ovaries and get it over with. Because they don’t deserve to have estrogen. They really don’t. It’s a privilege.”
Menopausal quotes to lighten the load
Check out the Previous Article in this series:
- Estrogens and endometrial cancer in a retirement community T.Mack, M.Pike, B.Henderson, R.Pfeiffer, V.Gorkins, M.Arthur. S.Brown June 1976 NEJM
- The Marketing of Menopause Joss Neel NPR July 2012
- Estradiol, Estrone and Estriol Wikipedia
- Deadly Medicines and Organized crime Book Peter Gotzsche 2013
- A critique of Women’s Health Studies 2002-2006 J.Clark OCT 2006 NCBI
- An overview of the ovaries Robert Sargis Endocrine Web
- All about estrogens Precision Nutrition
- A survivor’s guide to surgical menopause
- Why estrogen dominance after Menopause Dr Berg
- Menopausal quotes from AZ Quotes
Author: Eric Malouin