Questions and Answers on natural progesterone creamNatural Progesterone information
- Q: How does a woman use Natural Progesterone?
- Q: Provera is not Progesterone
- Q:Only one Progesterone, many estrogens
- Q: Does progesterone help raise estrogen levels?
- Q: Is there a relationship between hair loss and menopause?
- Q: Ovulation and Natural Progesterone
- Q: How do I know if I might be at risk for getting osteoporosis?
- Q: Reverse OSTEOPOROSIS
- Q: Pregnancy and Natural Progesterone?
- Q: Adolescent Use Of Progesterone
- Q: How does exercise influence bone health, and what kind is best?
- Q: What's the difference between synthetic progestins and natural progesterone?
- Q: What's the difference between wild yam and progesterone?
- Q: What is USP Progesterone?
- Q: Does natural progesterone have any side effects?
- Q:What's the difference between synthetic and natural estrogen?
- Q: What is PMS?
- Q: What is natural progesterone's role in cardiovascular health?
- Q: Will using natural progesterone with oral birth control pills alter their effectiveness?
- Q: What is estrogen's role in menopause?
- Q:What is amenorrhoea?
How does a woman use natural progesterone?
It is best used according to your menstrual status and the brand of cream you have.
To apply, measure the cream into the palm of the hand, and rub into the inner arms, inner thighs, abdomen, or chest, rotating the areas where applied. It is best applied twice daily.
The following are general recommendations that should be confirmed or modified in concert with your health care provider.
Please keep in mind these are general recommendations that may need to be adjusted for your specific situation.
Women in their reproductive years:
It is best used during the second half of the menstrual cycle, for the two weeks prior to menstruation.
Days 1 (first day of bleeding) -13: do not use any.
Days 14 - 21: use 1/8th teaspoon of cream twice a day.
Days 22-28: use 1/4 teaspoon of cream twice a day.
Women who are perimenopausal (still menstruating, with cycle changes):
Days 1 (first day of bleeding) - 7: do not use cream.
Days 8-21: use 1/8th teaspoon twice a day.
Days 22-28: use 1/2 teaspoon twice a day.
If your period begins early, STOP using the cream while you are bleeding.
Count the first day of bleeding as day one, and begin the cycle again.
If your period is late, use the cream for up to 3 weeks (day 28 of your cycle), then take a week off.
If your period has not started by the end of the week off, resume use of the cream as described above for days 8-28 or until your period starts.
STOP the cream when your period begins. Count the first day of bleeding as day one of your cycle, and begin the cycle over again.
Women who are menopausal or post-menopausal (no longer menstruating):
Choose a calendar day (e.g. first day of the month) as day one.
Days 1-7: do not use any.
Days 8-30 (or 31): use 1/8th teaspoon twice a day.
If needed, you may use up to 1/4 teaspoon twice a day according to the same schedule.
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Provera is not Progesterone
An extract from Dr J.Lee's book"What the doctors don't tell you about menopause"
"If you look up in the PDR where Provera comes from it says it is derived from progesterone which is an admission that it's not progesterone right? Wouldn't you say? But the typical doctor if you ask "What is that Provera", they say "Oh that is progesterone". You don't know, maybe they can't read the PDR. So a progestin is the word that has been arrived at meaning compounds that have progesterone like properties, but are not progesterone and are synthetic and you can add to that, they don't have the full spectrum of all of progesterone's benefits and they are loaded with side effects. So progestin is the name of the artificial synthetic drug that is sold by the doctor thinking it is progesterone. Real progesterone is the one made from the plants. Doctors know that real progesterone must be used for invetro fertilizations - Provera won't work. Recent studies have also shown that progesterone protects against coronary spasms and post-menopausal heart attacks and Provera does not provide this protection (see additional info in this booklet). The change of one atom in a molecule like progesterone totally changes its function. Yet the typical doctor doesn't seem to grasp that progestins are not progesterone and that any change in the molecule is going to be a drastic change in what it does. Fertility doctors do not use progestins, progestins cause birth defects (while progesterone is essential), progestins do not raise progesterone levels in blood or saliva. This along with the many side effects of Provera (none of which are caused by progesterone) should be enough to convince every doctor to stop using Provera (Megastrol and others) and change to real "natural" progesterone.
I talk with doctors groups and when I show them that progesterone is not Provera they have this stunned look on their face, they don't even know what question to ask. They've suddenly entered into a world where their mindset has been turned off and they never say anything. It is the most amazing experience. You'd think if they had such firm convictions they'd say oh so-and-so showed that it was. But when they see the evidence, the molecule is different, the effects are different and these differences are real. It's amazing.
Just for the fun of it I have been collecting differences, every time I read a study that shows a difference between Provera and real progesterone. And these are the things that show up.
Allows excess sodium and water to get into the system and creates intercellular edema, brain swelling, loss of mineral electrolytes, depression, birth defects, facial hair, all sorts of very bad things. They are only found in progestins. They are not found in real progesterone.
Then we get to real progesterone ; protects against endometrial cancer, protects against ovarian cancer, protects against breast cancer, normalized libido, no excessive facial/body hair, return of scalp hair, improves invitro-fertilization, improves new bone formation, decreases the risk of coronary artery spasm, essential for mylinization of nerves, essential for males, essential for the other steroids. It's unbelievable, there is only one or two places where they even have somewhat similar effect. They both protect against endometrial cancer, cancer of the uterus. When they use Provera for bones they get a 5% increase in 3 years and my patients got a 15% increase. So I would choose progesterone."
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Only One Progesterone but Many Estrogens
Progesterone is a hormone made by men and women. It is a very specific molecule made in women primarily by the ovary and in men by the testes. But is also made by the adrenal gland, is even very likely made by hair follicles and by brain cells. There are receptors for progesterone essentially in every tissue of the body from nerves to brain cells to thyroid cells to muscle cells, fat cells and of course the breast, the ovary and the uterus. So you have to realize that when I say the word progesterone I am talking about that specific hormone. In fact when I decided after 12 years to share this information with my colleges and with the class I was teaching I put it on the cover. That is progesterone, a specific molecular configuration. We make it in our body from cholesterol. The reason I emphasize that is the word estrogen does not mean that estrogen is a class name. There is no hormone named estrogen. There is estrone, estradiol, estrial. There are about 20-30 different estrogens. Horse estrogen is different from human estrogen and so on. But there is no hormone named estrogen. There is no apple named apple, you have Delicious, Pippins, Granny Smith, you've got all these different apples they all have their own name. The same thing with estrogen. So this is one thing that bothers doctors. When you get a chance to talk to doctors they will think of progesterone in terms of a class name that there is a bunch of them, Provera and these artificial things are progesterone but they're not. And they'll think of estrogen as a unique thing and it is not, it is a class. They do different things. Estriol you make in large amount only during pregnancy, it doesn't do anything for hot flashes and probably doesn't do anything for maintaining minerals and bones. Estradiol is the only one that has a receptor in bone structure. So there is only one progesterone and all estrogens are not the same.
Does progesterone help raise estrogen levels?
There is no evidence that supplementing with natural progesterone will raise estrogen levels in the body. From salivary test results we know that women using natural progesterone cream do not by and large see an increase in their estrogen levels. We do know that progesterone and estrogen, like many of the hormones in the body, work synergistically. The presence of progesterone sensitizes estrogen receptors in the body, making circulating estrogen levels work better without changing the actual levels of estrogen. Progesterone performs this role with other hormones as well. Since women's bodies have the ability to produce some estrogens after menopause, many women find that supplementation of progesterone is enough, or at least part of the picture for addressing symptoms. For women who are very thin, who have had hysterectomies at a younger age, or have certain risk factors, like high cholesterol or heightened bone loss, some form of estrogen or phytoestrogens may be necessary to completely fulfill their bodies' needs. Keep in mind that the balance of the different hormones is important and should by tailored to the individual.
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Is there a relationship between hair loss and menopause?
The most common cause of hair loss is low thyroid function, which is common among menopausal women. Other causes include, but are not limited to the following: changes in hormone levels (a significant decrease or increase), increased testosterone and other androgenic hormones, a change in the balance between estrogen and androgenic hormones, increased stress (physical or emotional), and heredity. Any time sudden hair loss is experienced, one must consider events which took place up to three months prior to the hair loss, as factors affecting hair loss can take up to three months to have an effect. Subsequently, any treatments for hair loss should be given at least three months to have noticeable effects.
How do I know if I might be at risk for getting osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, like many conditions, is associated with certain risk factors, which means that if your health and circumstances match some of the criteria below, you would be considered to have a higher risk for developing the disease relative to someone who did not fit any of the criteria. This information was based on the comparisons of groups of individuals who had osteoporosis with groups of individuals who did not have osteoporosis. Having one or more of the risk factors does not dictate that you would get osteoporosis, just as fitting none of the criteria would not ensure that you did not get the disease. Risk factors that have been established for osteoporosis include, but are not limited to, the following:
Know risk factors:
- Being female
- Having a family history of osteoporosis (there exists a link between mother and daughter)
- Being Caucasian or Asian (individuals of these ethnic groups tend to show lower bone density than African or Hispanic women)
- Having a small body frame
- Being post-menopausal
- Having a hysterectomy (total ' both ovaries and uterus)
- Having a history of absent or infrequent menses (amenorrhoea)
- Having inadequate calcium intake
- Having inadequate exercise
- Being a smoker
- Having excessive alcohol consumption
- Having a history of long-term glucocorticoid therapy
- Having a history of long-term use of anticonvulsants, antacids, and diuretics
- Having a history of hyperthyroidism, thryotoxicosis, Cushing's disease, or type 1 diabetes Possible Risk Factors
- Having excess protein in the diet (leading to a low systemic pH level)
- Having a high caffeine intake (3 + cups or 150 - 300 mg/day leads to an increase in urinary calcium, magnesium, and sodium loss)
- Having a high phosphorous diet (notably soda pop and red meat)
OSTEOPOROSIS - Reverse it!
Bone mineral density tests show that the average women when she reaches menopause has already lost 30% of her bone mass. It's not a menopausal thing. It starts when you are 35 years old and you lose bone progressively even though you are having periods.
Progesterone's Role In Making New Bone
There are little cells that migrate through the bone sniffing out areas where there is old bone. Bone that was made 10 years ago. And they find those areas and they dissolve them away. These are called the osteoclast cells. Kind of like pacman in the arcades, pacman comes in and eats up the old bone. And they leave a little space called a lacuna, a little lake - a little emptiness. Along come the osteoblast. They are related to the osteoclast but they are different. And they come in and they put in new bone. The new bone can be stronger than the old bone that was removed. Isn't that amazing. The osteoblast only do it at the places where the osteoclast have eaten out old bone. So the bone is always being made, unmade and then made again. The timing of making a hard bone like the femur, the leg bone is about 14-15 years for complete turnover. 100% of it is brand new, all the minerals, all the vitamins, all the parts of it, the collagen everything - brand new. Continuously made. Which means every year only 1/15 is being worked on. So it is a slow turnover time. Whereas the bones in your back and in your heel have a turnover time of about 5 years, totally brand new in 5 years. But part was 4 years ago, part 3 years ago and so on. So new bone is made, and then it rests until the time for remaking comes around again 5 or 6 or 15 years later. And this is the whole way bones are made. Progesterone's role is to stimulate these osteoblasts to make new bone. That is the role of progesterone. What estrogen does is to help slow up packman, the osteoclast. It doesn't do anything to make new bone. And you don't have to take my word for it, this is standard - it is a medical fact, being taught now.
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Natural Progesterone, Fertility & Pregnancy
The proper amount of natural progesterone is crucial to a woman who is trying to become pregnant. Natural Progesterone prepares the uterine wall for implantation of the fertilized egg. Without adequate progesterone, the egg will be expelled. Natural Progesterone treatment can also be used to induce fertility when there appears to be ovulatory dysfunction.
· Progesterone makes Possible the Survival of the Fertilized Egg
· Maintains the Secretory Endometrium which Feeds the Ovum & Resultant Embryo
· Progesterone Surge at Ovulation is the Source of Libido or sex drive.
Before you begin the expensive and often unsuccessful process of working with a fertility clinic, we recommend that you read Dr. Lee's first book, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause", which will give you a detailed look at how your hormones work.
Dr. Lee had a number of patients in his practice who had been unable to conceive. For two to four months he had them use natural progesterone from days 5 to 26 in the cycle (stopping on day 26 to bring on menstruation). Using the progesterone prior to ovulation effectively suppressed ovulation. After a few months of this, he had them stop progesterone use. If you still have follicles left, they seem to respond to a few months of suppression with enthusiasm -- the successful maturation and release of an egg. His patients, some of whom had been trying to conceive for years, had very good luck conceiving with this method.
Because progesterone is essential to prevent the premature shedding of the supportive secretory endometrium, a significant drop in progesterone levels or blockade of progesterone receptor sites during the first 10 - 12 weeks of pregnancy may result in the loss of the embryo (miscarriage).
Women with a history of miscarriage should begin using progesterone cream as soon as they know they have ovulated, to supplement their own progesterone and offset any environmental estrogen effects. (Using progesterone before ovulation can create a hormonal signal that tells the brain not to ovulate).
If you want to be pregnant and you're using progesterone cream, it's very important to keep using progesterone cream until you find out whether you're pregnant. (You can take a pregnancy test a few days after your period would normally be due.) The sudden drop in progesterone levels created if you stop using the cream can cause what is, in effect, an abortion, by bringing on menstruation. Note: The addition of large amounts progesterone after a possible miscarriage might prevent the natural expulsion of the foetus endangering the life of the mother. If a problem is suspected see your health practitioner.
If you find out that you are not pregnant, stop taking the progesterone on day 28 of your cycle or whenever the last day of your cycle normally occurs. If you are pregnant, keep using the progesterone every day in normal doses. It's fine to use it throughout your pregnancy, and it's important not to stop it suddenly until your third trimester when the placenta is making so much that it won't notice if there's a drop of 15 to 30 mg a day. Research by British hormone researcher Katherina Dalton, M.D., indicates that babies born to mothers who used natural progesterone during pregnancy are normal--and, in fact, are larger, calmer, and smarter. Also in her 1968 study she found that none of the women receiving antenatal progesterone experienced toxemia during the pregnancy. In her control group, more than half experienced toxemia. Used from conception to delivery, applied primarily to abdomen, breast, low back, and upper thighs progesterone will tend to prevent the skin from stretching. The cream is also useful for post partum depression which many women experience after childbirth.
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Adolescent Use Of Progesterone
The general health of girls between the ages of nine and thirteen can be adversely affected by low estrogen levels. When females start to menstruate they often experience emotional outbursts, erratic behavior, excessive talking or non-communicative, sporadic irritability, obsessive eating of sweets, and generally non-cooperative. It is important that that a good diet is maintained. One with plenty of raw organic vegetables is preferred. A good calcium and magnesium supplement (from plant sources - not clam shells) can be helpful. The use of natural progesterone has been seen to alleviate most of the symptoms with a high level of wellness with few or no PMS complaints. (Among other things progesterone is used by the body in the creation of estrogen and also sensitizes estrogen receptors consequentially increasing natural estrogen levels.)
Natural Family Planning
Women are blindly using birth control pills or getting their tubes tied without thinking about the long term affects of their choices. It just doesn't make sense when there is a natural option - natural family planning. One of the effects of an elevated progesterone level is an increase in body temperature. Through the use of a basal thermometer women can accurately monitor their temperature which indicates a rise in progesterone (about a 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit increase) and a fall of progesterone, triggering menstruation, corresponding to a decrease in temperature. The Couple to Couple League has used this information along with mucus and cervical indicators as a viable means of birth control. When desired the same information can be used to increase the likelihood of pregnancy. For more information get a copy of "The Art of Natural Family Planning" published by the Couple to Couple League.
Birth control Pills - a few facts
Most oral contraceptives are a combination of synthetic estrogen and progestins (e.g. the "combined pill"). The Pill does its job by suspending the normal menstrual cycle. The bleeding which occurs each month is actually "withdrawal bleeding", caused by stopping the pill for seven days of the cycle. The known problems associated with the pill are an increased risk of coronary artery disease, breast cancer and high blood pressure. Its side effects include nausea, vomiting, headaches, breast tenderness, weight increases, changes in sex drive, depression, blood clots and increased incidence of vaginitis. Women with epilepsy, migraine asthma or heart disease are warned that they could have a worsening of their condition. Nancy Beckman in her book Menopause ? A Positive Approach Using Natural Therapies points out that "Women on the Pill have a greater tendency to liver dysfunction and allergies."
The Pill is often prescribed to regulate a woman's cycle. But if it suspends a woman's normal cycle ? and creates withdrawal bleeding instead of a true menstruation, one wonders what is the point of such "therapy"? Dr. Lee found natural progesterone to be useful for women with irregular cycles, without overriding the body's natural cycle by using hormonal mimics that create an illusion of well?being or normality.
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How does exercise influence bone health, and what kind is best?
Physical activity is the main non-pharmacological way to build up bone after normal bone growth is completed. Exercise helps improve posture and mobility, can reduce chronic pain, increase physical confidence, and improve coordination and balance. The best activities are those that are weight-bearing exercises, or exercises that put stress on the bones (e.g. walking, tennis, running, stair-climbing, and low-impact aerobics). These exercises help build and maintain stronger bones while increasing muscle mass. Weight training may also be helpful, as the pull of the muscle on the bone against the force of gravity that occurs when weight lifting can create changes in the bone tissue which stimulate bone formation. Improving muscle tone may also help reduce falls, decreasing the potential for fractures.
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What's the difference between synthetic progestins and natural progesterone?
"Natural" progesterone (also termed USP Progesterone) refers to a single molecular structure that is "bio-identical" to the progesterone molecule that the body makes.
Synthetic "progestins" or "progestogens," do not exactly duplicate the body's own progesterone molecule. They mimic the body's progesterone closely enough to bind to progesterone receptor sites and have some progesterone-like effects, but they do not deliver the full range of "messages" that a natural progesterone molecule would. As such, synthetic progestins are not recommended for use during pregnancy; pregnancy requires progesterone. Synthetic progestins will not increase the serum or salivary levels of progesterone. In fact, synthetic progestins may cause a decrease in the body's levels of natural progesterone by blocking the process of progesterone production. In contrast, research studies show that topical (skin) applications of natural progesterone may increase salivary and serum levels of progesterone.
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What is USP Progesterone?
United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) Progesterone simply means progesterone that exactly duplicates the progesterone naturally produced in the body, or "bio-identical" progesterone. The title "USP Progesterone" differentiates natural progesterone from synthetic progestins or progestogens.
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What's the difference between wild yam and progesterone?
Wild yam, Dioscorea barbasco, is an herb that has been used historically in herbal medicine for women's health. Some of the actions of wild yam include smooth muscle relaxation and a mild diuretic effect. Contrary to some information provided by companies producing wild yam products, wild yam does not convert into progesterone in the body. This conversion can only occur in a laboratory setting. The body may absorb wild yam extract through the skin, which may in turn have some effect on menopausal symptoms, yet research on both oral and topical applications of wild yam extract demonstrate no change in progesterone levels in the body.
Does natural progesterone have any side effects?
Progesterone binds with progesterone receptor sites in the brain and causes a calming effect on the central nervous system. In excessive amounts, progesterone may have a relaxing effect on the brain, and may cause drowsiness. In a very small group of women who are extremely sensitive, progesterone of any kind may aggravate hormonal headaches or PMS symptoms. There are no long-term adverse effects noted for supplemental progesterone in amounts that replicate physiological levels of progesterone in the body.
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What's the difference between synthetic and natural estrogen?
The body naturally produces three main forms of estrogen: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estrone is converted from estradiol in the liver. Synthesized in the ovaries and metabolized in the liver, estradiol is the most physiologically active form of estrogen. When taken orally, estradiol is converted into estrone in the small intestine. Estriol is the shortest-acting estrogen and has a weaker effect than estradiol and estrone. Estriol remains intact when supplemented orally, i.e. estriol is not converted into estrone, as is true with estradiol supplementation. Because estriol competes with estrone for receptor uptake when given in large or repeated doses, it may have an anti-estrogenic effect in selective tissues like the breasts or uterus. Estriol doses must be increased up to three times the dose of estradiol to achieve similar effects (e.g. reducing hot flashes and vaginal dryness in menopausal women). In Europe and China, estriol is the preferred form of estrogen for HRT. Many of the hormone replacement therapy and birth control pharmaceuticals in the U.S. contain estradiol, the strongest of the three forms of estrogen. Some of the estrogens produced in the United States exactly duplicate one of the three forms of estrogen produced in the body, estradiol, so technically they are "natural." Many physicians are now prescribing "Tri-est", or "Bi-est", names given to combinations of E1/E2/E3 and E2/E3 respectively. With a physician's prescription, licensed pharmacists may compound these combinations of natural estrogens. Other estrogens available differ chiefly in the source of the estrogen, e.g. whether they were derived from animal or plant products, or synthesized chemically. Synthetic estrogens are estrogenic compounds that are not found naturally in the human body. There is some debate as to whether estrogen from the urine of horses is "natural", but most naturally minded physicians agree that the use of estrogens derived from horses is not a "natural" approach for humans.
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What is PMS?
Dr. Katharina Dalton, a British physician, originally coined the term "premenstrual syndrome" (PMS) in 1953 and soon after established the world's first PMS clinic in London. This syndrome certainly existed for many years before this time, but only in the last 50 has it been given attention as a medical disorder. Premenstrual symptoms have been defined as physical, mood, and behavioral symptoms that: 1) appear or change in severity during the luteal phase (second half) of the menstrual cycle; 2) do not exist in the same form or severity during the mid or late follicular phase (first half of the menstrual cycle); and 3) disappear or return to their usual severity during the full flow of menses (Halbreich et al 1985). There have been over 100 symptoms attributed to PMS. Women can experience a variety of symptoms which may differ month to month or year to year. PMS may be attributable to hormonal changes, inadequate nutrition, lack of exercise, and physical and/or emotional stress. Researchers over the last forty years have identified four major types of PMS, determined by a woman's predominant symptoms. Dr. Guy Abraham developed the following classification system to help identify and treat PMS:
- Type A ("anxiety"): anxiety, mood swings, and irritability
- Type C ("carbohydrate" or "craving"): sugar craving, headaches, and fatigue
- Type H ("hyperhydration"): bloating, water retention, weight gain, breast tenderness
- Type D ("depression"): depression, memory loss, and confusion
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What is natural progesterone's role in cardiovascular health?
Natural progesterone may have a protective effect on the heart. Recent research showed that natural progesterone helped reduce spasms of the coronary arteries. Blood vessel occlusion by cholesterol plaques combined with vasoconstriction can severely restrict blood flow to the heart, resulting in a "heart attack". In a study by Miyagawa, et al, progesterone plus estradiol was protective against vasospasm, whereas estradiol plus medroxyprogesterone acetate (a synthetic progestin) allowed vasospasm, concluding that medroxyprogesterone increased the risk of coronary vasospasm, while natural progesterone did not. (Miyagawa K, Rosch J, Stanczyk F, and Hermsmeyer K: Medroxyprogesterone interferes with ovarian steroid protection against coronary vasospasm. Nature Medicine,
Will using natural progesterone with oral birth control pills alter their effectiveness?
Using natural progesterone should not alter the effectiveness of oral birth control pills providing you keep taking the oral birth control pills as prescribed. Birth control pills may be progestin only pills (synthetic progestins), or a combination of progestins and estrogen. Adding supplemental progesterone will only increase the progestational effect in the body.
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What is estrogen's role in menopause?
Estrogen production in the ovaries decreases as a woman enters perimenopause. It is estimated that estrogen levels drop to about 50% of pre-menopausal levels. Other tissues in the body, most notably the adrenals and fat tissue, have the ability to produce estrogens. This accounts for some of the variation in estrogen production post-menopausally. The decrease in estrogen has been associated with a number of menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms. These include a change in cervical mucus causing vaginal dryness, thinning of the vaginal walls and changes in the endometrial lining which plays a role in irregular bleeding cycles. Although a decrease in estrogen has been associated with hot flashes, the mechanism is not completely understood, as evidenced by many women who supplement with estrogen but still suffer from hot flashes.
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What is amenorrhoea ?
Amenorrhoea is defined as the absence of menstruation. Amenorrhoea can refer to the cessation of menses for 6 months in a woman with a previously established menstrual cycle or the lack of onset of menstrual periods by the age of 16. Because the number one cause of amenorrhoea is pregnancy, this is usually the first test a physician will order when evaluating a sexually active woman for this symptom. The menstrual cycle is a complex process orchestrated by a wide range of hormonal, physiological, and psychological factors including emotional stressors, body weight, diet, exercise, lactation, and hormones produced by the hypothalamus, the pituitary, and the ovaries. The hypothalamus, the regulatory center of the menstrual cycle within the brain, is even affected by emotional and psychological factors. Body weight and exercise habits are important factors in the evaluation of amenorrhoea. Menses frequently cease when a woman's percentage of body fat falls below 22% or if she is 20% or more below the ideal weight for her given height. Likewise, excessive body fat can also disrupt ovulation, causing menstrual irregularities, and, in some cases, amenorrhoea. Menstrual abnormalities often occur in athletes and in women who exercise excessively. Some female athletes may also develop a disordered pattern of eating in response to competitive-type pressure, further reducing body fat levels and predisposing them to amenorrhoea. An imbalance or disease in any one of the hormone-producing organs can lead to amenorrhoea. Keep in mind that amenorrhoea is a symptom, not a diagnosis. All women who experience amenorrhoea should consult with a physician to determine the cause of this symptom, because the absence of periods can be associated with numerous conditions, some of which are serious. Furthermore, if prolonged, amenorrhoea places a woman at increased risk for developing osteoporosis, and possibly fractures later in life.
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