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Hormonal Imbalances: PMS to Menopause

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Posted at 5:02 PM, Apr 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-16 19:02:55-04

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the endocrine system that assist with almost every function in the body. In women, hormones play a key role in reproduction, sexuality, and overall health. The ovaries produce female hormones—estrogen and progesterone. From PMS to menopause, hormone levels can fluctuate, which can affect mood, weight, body temperature, and sexual desire.

PMS and hormones

Estrogen fluctuates during a woman’s menstrual cycle, causing the build up of uterine lining each month. The drop in estrogen causes women to have a period.

Progesterone levels rise during a woman’s childbearing years. If a woman does not become pregnant, levels of progesterone fall, also signaling the body to begin shedding the uterine lining. Progesterone is sometimes responsible for the symptoms many women experience during their periods.

Possible symptoms during menstruating years

  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irregular periods
  • Skin changes
  • Fluid retention
  • Fatigue

How to relieve PMS symptoms

  • Reduce salt intake to reduce bloating
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly, even during period
  • Talk to doctor about birth control pills to stabilize hormone levels

Menopause and hormones

Menopause eventually occurs for all women. During menopause, the ovaries stop releasing an egg every month and the menstrual cycle eventually ceases entirely. Menopause is brought on gradually in three stages—perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.

Menopause is normal for any woman generally after the age of 40; however, some women do go through menopause prematurely.

Possible symptoms during pre-menopausal to menopausal years

  • Weight gain
  • Brain fog
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Low sex drive
  • Fatigue

How to relieve the symptoms of pre-menopause and menopause

  • Regular exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limiting triggers for hot flashes such as caffeine, alcohol, cigarette smoking
  • Hormone replacement therapy (for moderate to severe symptoms)
  • Other prescription medication to alleviate hot flashes, depression, sleep problems
  • Over-the counter medication for vaginal discomfort