Tuesday, 21 May 2013

It's All About The Ovaries

Through Menopause Matters website and magazine, we have told many personal stories, covered many aspects of the menopause, and hopefully helped many women steer their way through the tangled web which is the transition from reproductive years to the stage of post-reproduction.

The key aspect is the activity of the ovaries. Ovaries working normally release an egg each month and produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which affect many systems of the body - this is the normal state in the reproductive years. Ovaries failing to release eggs and failing to produce estrogen and progesterone, whether due to the natural running out of eggs, the removal of ovaries surgically, or the damage to ovaries from other drugs, is the state in the post-reproductive years.

Although emphasis is frequently given to the Menopause, the last menstrual period, the Menopause is in fact only one part of the inevitable process. A term which much more accurately reflects the process is Estrogen deficiency, or, in medical terms, Hypo-estrogenism, not unlike the term Hypo-thyroidism which refers to thyroid failure.

One of my missions is to encourage women and healthcare professionals to think more broadly than just “Menopause” and its early consequences such as hot flushes, and to think more in terms of estrogen deficiency and its early, intermediate and long term consequences.

Only then can the true effects of estrogen deficiency be more widely recognised, so that women can be better prepared to cope with the next phase of their lives as healthily as possible.

To find out more about menopause, and how to improve symptoms, visit Menopause Matters.