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MENOPAUSE

 

Menopause marks the transition in women from fertility to non-fertility. Ovulation ceases and menstruation stops. Clinically, menopause is referred to as the date of the day after a woman's last period ever finishes.

Many of the physical and personal changes associated with aging are linked to declining hormone levels. This decline in hormone levels affect the length of telomeres.

Reproduction

From the age that reproduction typically begins in the human species, individuals decline in overall efficiency, and their vulnerability to injury and illness increases. The technical term for this decline is 'senescence', less precisely termed 'aging'.

Hormones

Hormones produced by glands, organs, and tissues, hormones act as the body's chemical messengers, flowing through the blood stream searching for special receptors. The activity of receptors are controlled by the specific hormone that fits it and also, to a lesser extent, by closely related hormones. The most commonly known are:

  • Testosterone - The male hormone, testosterone is produced in the testes and may decline with age, though less frequently or significantly than oestrogen in women. Studies investigating its ability to strengthen muscles and prevent frailty and disability in older men are continuing. Its side effects are still unproven, and may include an increased risk of certain cancers, particularly prostate cancer.
  • Oestrogen - The female hormone, produced mainly by the ovaries. In hormone replacement therapy, oestrogen is used to relieve discomforts of menopause, slow reducing bone density and help prevent cardiovascular disease .

Menopause marks that point where the levels of estrogen in the body are insufficient to support reproduction.

 

Symptoms Of Menopause

The normal age range for menopause is between age 45 to 55.

  • Premature menopause is used to describe those having their last period ever prior to age 40. This is not considered due to normal causes.
  • Early menopause is defined as age 40 to 45.
  • Late menopause is used for those ceasing menustration age 55 to 60

This change of life can be quite traumatic for some due to the symptoms that accompany the change in hormones, as well as the psychological acceptance of passing beyond their child bearing years.

Symptoms generally occur in the Perimenopause period; those years both before and after the last period. They include: hot flashes, mood changes, insomnia, weight gain.This can also show as aching joints, sore breasts, mood swings, bloating, digestive changes and loss of libido.

Postmenopause refers to the years following 12 months after last period ever. The reason for this delay in declaring a woman post-menopausal is because periods become very erratic at this time and reasonable time is necessary to ensure cycling has actually ceased.

In women who have no uterus and therefore have no periods, post-menopause can be determined by a blood test which can reveal the very high levels of FSH or Follicle Stimulating Hormone typical of post-menopausal women.

Perimenopause

Symptoms of perimenopause can begin as early as age 35, although most women do not become aware of them about 10 years later.

Perimenopause, the menopause transition time, can last for a few months, for several years, or for 10 years or even longer.Menopause has been compared to "puberty in reverse."

Not every woman suffers symptoms during perimenopause.

  • About one third of all women get no noticeable symptoms other than their periods become erratic and then stop.
  • Another one third of women have moderate symptoms.
  • The remaining one third of women have very strong symptoms which tend to have a longer duration. The tendency to have a very strong perimenopause may be inherited in some cases.

 

Menopause and Hysterectomy

The ovaries are endocrine glands that produce hormones. Removal of the uterus, known as hysterectomy, does not itself cause menopause. However, any pelvic surgery can sometimes precipitate an earlier menopause due to compromised blood supply to the ovaries.

 

Menopause and Octectomy

Removing the ovaries however, causes an immediate and powerful surgical menopause, even if the uterus is left intact.

Menopause and Anti-Aging

Many antiaging methods are based on preventing estrogen levels and other hormones from dropping. This is done using a combination of natural supplements or treatments using:

  • Growth Hormone - A product of the pituitary gland, GH impacts body composition, muscle strength and bone strength. More on Human Growth Hormone
  • Melatonin - Produced in the pineal gland responds to light and regulates seasonal changes in the body. As it declines during aging, it may trigger changes in the endocrine system, which impact sleep and ones ability to adjust time zones.
  • DHEA - [dehydroepiandrosterone], is produced in the adrenal glands. Although it is regarded as a weak male hormone, it is present in both sexes. More on DHEA and DHEAS

Most hormones begin their decline at about age 30, and peri-menopausal symptoms in women are not uncommon from 35 onwards until full menopause is reached.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement is aimed at restoring hormone levels to those normally present for several decades during early adulthood. Safe levels at age 30 will remain safe when restored to that same level later in life. Adverse effects from hormone replacement result only from excessive doses.

When some declining hormones are replaced, various signs of aging diminish.

Estrogen Replacement

Oestrogen replacement therapy has been used for some years, in spite of divided controversy. Concerns about cancer risks surrounding oestrogen replacement therapy have yet to be resolved, but many individuals agree that the small increase in risk is largely outweighed by the improvements in life quality. The inclusion of progesterone in estrogen therapy offsets most of the risk of using estrogen supplement alone.

Human Growth Hormones

Hormones known collectively as growth or trophic factors stimulate production of insulin-like growth factor [IGF-1] produced primarily in the liver. IGF-1 flows through the blood stream seeking IGF-1 receptors on the surface of various cells, including muscle cells to stimulate their growth and health.

The action of GH is naturally increased by exercise.

The rate at which cells reproduce is impacted by the level of Human Growth Hormone in the body. HGH levels decline from the age of 20 and as such, it is a common antiaging method to "supplement" these levels. As replacement of HGH through pills or injections is not effective in the first instance and expensive and inconvenient in the latter, a more reliable method is to use supplements that act as catalysts to encourage the body to produce higher levels of these hormones.

To date, only estrogen-progesterone drugs are prescribed for treatment of symptoms of menopause. Unfortunately, very few of the medical profession see reaching menopause as unnecessary and support the ongoing use of these and other growth hormones such as HGH.

Melatonin

Recent research has shown that melatonin supplementation in perimenopausal women can produce a highly significant improvement in thyroid function and gonadotropin levels, as well as restoring fertility and menstruation and preventing the depression associated with the menopause.

 


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