It is not a disease!
Menopause is a natural transitional phase in our lives, resulting from a rebalancing of hormones within your body. It is a time when we experience changing levels of female sex hormones such as estrogen production which leads to the end of your menstrual cycles and of your reproductive years.
Natural menopause is recognized to have occurred after 12 months of no periods, with no other contributing reason for it. It is an event that is recognized after the fact. It is one point in time, one does not “go through” menopause; one “reaches” it. The normal age of onset between is 48 – 55 years (Canadian average is 51 years), with a gradual exhaustion of follicles in the ovaries.
Let’s talk about eggs for a second. When we are in-utero, we develop approximately 6 million follicles; by the time we’re born that has decreased to about 700,000, at menarche about 400,000. With each menstrual cycle we shed about 1000 follicles (not just one!), which means we have about 400 cycles or 35 years of menstruation, give or take. Finally, at menopause, we’re down to about several hundred follicles.
Menopause is the natural result of the changes in hormone production that come with aging. When the ovaries become smaller and produce less estrogen and progesterone, egg cells die and a woman becomes infertile. Estrogen is the hormone that tells the uterus (womb) to build up its lining in preparation for the implantation of an egg, should an egg be fertilized. Progesterone is the hormone, which tells the uterine lining whether or not to shed, resulting in the monthly menstrual period. Menstrual flow stops when there are no longer enough hormones to build up the lining of the uterus each month.
The time leading up to menopause is called perimenopause. This is the phase where many of your symptoms will manifest. It can be very frustrating, confusing, and emotionally distressing for many. Learning how to minimize the symptoms with healthy and natural techniques can turn this into an opportunity to embrace this transition into a new phase of your life.
At BodaHealth we successfully treat women’s health with Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). For help with your menopause symptoms call 604-722-2632 to book your free consultation.
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Registered Acupuncturist in Vancouver. She is also a Registered Herbologist and the founder of BodaHealth.