Menopause marks the end of a woman’s menstruation and her reproductive lifespan. It usually occurs between the ages of 35 and 55. The hormonal changes that occur before and after the cessation of ovulation and menstruation are thought to reflect the aging process. Imbalances in the hormonal interplay between the hypothalamus, the pituitary, and the ovaries cause the many, varied symptoms that make up the menopausal syndrome. These include irregular cycles, missed periods, hot flashes, night sweats, palpitations, emotional fragility and depression, headaches, memory loss, insomnia, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, dry skin.
However, these same alterations in hormonal chemistry are also felt to contribute to the major disorders of aging for women – the atherosclerosis underlying heart disease and stroke and the loss of bone mass leading to osteoporosis and increased rates of bone fracture.
When passing through menopause, the ovaries lose ability to produce estrogen and progesterone. The hypothalamus tries to adjust for this loss by temporarily increasing levels of follicle stimulating hormone [FSH] and luteinizing hormone [LH], hormones that stimulate estrogen production. Also, the adrenal glands and fat cells take over some level of estrogen production. Many women pass through this period of adjustment with few symptoms.
However, menopausal syndrome is epidemic among American women because a number of contributing factors keep the varied regulating hormones in imbalance:
Stress from overwork
Lack of exercise
Excessive intake of synthetic hormones from animal foods
Excessive exposure to chemical pollutants
Eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia
Surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries
Herbal Support for Menopause
Chinese herbal formulas have been shown to aid in alleviating many of the concerns women have when passing through menopause, including:
Uncomfortable symptoms that arise as the ovaries lose function;
Increased risk of heart disease that accompanies declining estrogen production, and;
Accelerated loss of bone density that occurs after cessation of menstrual periods
A number of studies have shown that advanced herbal medicine formulas can aid in improving the function of the glands and organs that control ovulation and menstruation, and by enhancing blood circulation.