The regular cycling of these hormones begin to change as early as the mid-thirties and symptoms likely begin in the mid-forties as women begin the process known as peri-menopause. It is the time when levels of key hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone begin to fluctuate and is accentuated by declines in other hormones such as growth hormone, DHEA and thyroid. Peri-menopause continues until periods stop and the woman becomes menopausal.
Surgical menopause involves a woman suddenly entering menopause by surgical removal of the ovaries. It can happen at almost any age and without proper hormone replacement, symptoms of hormone deficiency will be quite severe.
Though treated as a disease by doctors, women know it as a natural and inevitable transition from one stage of life to another. Puberty marks the beginning of reproductive life -- menopause marks the end.
Symptoms of Menopause
During peri-menopause (known as "the change"), women will still have a menstrual cycle, although the cycle may become erratic and a woman may skip periods as hormone levels fluctuate. This is only one symptom of menopause. Other symptoms may include:
Loss of bone density is perhaps the greatest threat to long term health and aging.
Our bones consist of cells that grow new bone
tissue and cells that dissolve (re-absorb) old
bone. This occurs continually throughout our lives.
Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone help our
bodies absorb calcium from the intestinal tract.
Estrogen slows the action of cells that cause
bone breakdown. Progesterone and testosterone
stimulate cells that build bone. Growth hormone
is another hormone that begins to decline as early
as the mid-twenties. When raised to more youthful
levels, growth hormone shows great promise in
rebuilding lost bone. During peri-menopause, as
hormones decline, women can lose 1 to 6 percent
of their bone mass each year and is most pronounced
in areas of faster bone growth such as the spine.
Testosterone is essential to prevent osteoporosis, boost mental sharpness, muscle retention, metabolism, energy and sex drive.
DHEA is necessary to support the immune system and to counter destructive cortisol produced by stress.
Growth Hormone ,though somewhat expensive, is the "youth elixir". Working in synergy with the other hormones, it has the potential to return the body to what it was in its 30's. It is perhaps the most effective weight control a woman can utilize.
Thyroid Hormone is critical to overall hormone function. As people age this hormone tends to decline, producing a condition known as hypothyroidism.