The two main hormones that bring about menopause symptoms are estrogen and progesterone. Prior to perimenopause, estrogen and progesterone work in harmony by co-existing with one another in a certain ratio. This keeps your reproductive system healthy and functioning.
As you probably already know, your menopause symptoms are caused by the changing levels of the hormones in your body during menopause, particularly estrogen and progesterone. During perimenopause, the ratio of estrogen to progesterone increases. While estrogen levels fall from their premenopausal levels during perimenopause, progesterone levels fall further. In terms of the ratio between them, there is greater percentage of estrogen in your body, relative to progesterone. This is what causes the menopause symptoms that you are experiencing.
The ratio of progesterone to estrogen can vary widely between women, but values above 200 are considered to be a beneficial balance. That means that progesterone levels 200 times greater than estrogen are usually preferred. At menopause this ratio often falls far below 200. The HERS (Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services) Foundation found ratios of progesterone to estrogen that were less than 15, in some cases they studied.
To reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms, you need to restore the ratio of estrogen to progesterone …. to their premenopause levels. You can do this by decreasing the levels of estrogen in your body or increasing the level of progesterone in your body…..or a combination of both.
As excess exposure to estrogen increases your risk of uterine and breast cancer, you want to monitor the level of estrogen in your body. Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women in the United States and the most commonly diagnosed gynecologic cancer…..with more than 40,000 American women diagnosed with it every year, causing more than 7,000 deaths. About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, with around 230,000 new cases of it every year.
You may not be aware that the levels of estrogen in your body are increased from the foods that you eat and the household products that you consume and use. The food that you eat contains natural estrogen – known as phytoestrogen – and man made chemicals that act like estrogen – known as xenoestrogens. The household products contain xenoestrogens. You can reduce the levels of estrogen in your body by becoming aware of the phytoestrogens in food and the xenoestrogen in food and household products and reducing your consumption of them.
Another way to restore the balance between estrogen and progesterone is to increase the level of progesterone in your body with progesterone therapy. You can take progesterone in pill or cream form.
No single trigger or cause has been identified for breast or uterine cancer. Certain risk factors exist though, that increase a woman’s chance of developing them.
There most certainly is an hereditary factor connected with both forms of cancer. If your mother or sister has had them, your risk of it is double that of women who do not have a family history of it. The thing to do if this applies to you, is to pay even closer attention to the other points in this post. However, over 85% of women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of this disease.
Also, if you started menstruating before the age of 12 or you stopped menstruating later than the age of 51, you are at greater risk of breast and uterine cancer. A woman who menstruates longer than normal during her life is exposed to more estrogen. Excess exposure to estrogen increases a woman’s risk of uterine and breast cancers. There is nothing you can do to reduce your risk factor because of this point, but if this point applies to you, you should pay much closer attention to the other points in this post.
Obese postmenopausal women are at greater risk for developing these forms of cancer. A study found that weight gain during menopause is particularly bad for those who are obese when entering menopause.
Studies have shown that 1 alcoholic drink has health benefits. However studies have also shown that if you drink more than that in a day, you increase your risk of breast cancer. If you consume 2-5 alcoholic drinks per day, your risk of breast cancer increases by 50%. Your risk of uterine cancer increases as well.
Living a sedenatry lifestyle increases your risk of these cancers. Physical activity breaks down estrogen, a process known as estrogen metabolism, which helps to prevent them.
When you get your car serviced, the levels of oil and break fluids are checked. The next time you see your doctor, it would be a good idea to get your estrogen and progesterone levels checked.