Estrogen is vital to your body. That's why, when levels of this important hormone begin to drop during menopause, the effects are felt everywhere, from physical discomfort to emotional pain. How can you pinpoint a specific symptom to estrogen declines, and what can you do to find relief? Continue reading to learn more.
What Is Estrogen?
As the primary female sex hormone, estrogen is responsible for facilitating reproduction in women. It's the source of your womanliness — managing everything from the formation of female sexual characteristics to sexual desire —. Estrogen production in your body remains largely stable from puberty to middle age. However, when menopause hits, levels of the hormone fluctuate wildly before beginning a slow, steady decline.
Knowing When Estrogen Is in Decline
So, how do you know when estrogen levels are dropping? Luckily, the signs of estrogen imbalance are consistent with those commonly associated with menopause in general, because these symptoms are, in fact, triggered by the loss of this vital hormone. These symptoms can include:
Chances are, you've heard of hot flashes. They're the symptom most commonly attached to menopause in the minds of women everywhere. Women experience hot flashes as the sudden onset of intense heat, followed by chills, and all accompanied by often heavy perspiration. It's all the result of estrogen imbalance and its affect on thermoregulation, or your body's ability to regulate the sensation of heat.
Nearly all menopausal women experience irregular periods as the body transitions away from the menstrual cycle. Estrogen plays a key role in ovulation, and the hormone's decline later in life indicates to the body that it is time to start winding this process down. Early menopause, is when estrogen levels can go up and down, women may actually experience more frequent periods than what is normal, before declining steadily as menopause progresses.
Estrogen is an all-encompassing hormone. It affects your body as well as your moods. That's why, when levels of the hormone begin to fluctuate during the onset of menopause, your moods change accordingly. With mood swings, your moods might change from excitement, to anger, to depression, and to irritability — all for no apparent reason.
Luckily, estrogen imbalance can be offset by a number of treatment options. First and foremost, getting plenty of exercise and eating right are known to promote hormonal balance, and ease the symptoms of menopause. Alternative medicines like estrogenic and non-estrogenic herbs can also be effective. If you're concerned about the severity of your symptoms, talk to your doctor about appropriate treatment options.
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