(Natalie Parletta/ The Guardian) — As sure as the sun sets each day, every woman who enters her fifth decade will experience menopause, if she hasn’t hit it already. For this new life stage, the ovaries run out of eggs and no longer need to produce the hormones that prepare our bodies for making babies. But the effects reach far beyond reproduction.
“We call them sex hormones: our oestrogen, our testosterone and progesterone,” says Dr Peta Wright, a gynaecologist, “but it’s kind of crazy that we call them that because they actually have an effect everywhere in the body, which every woman who has gone through menopause, or in fact has a menstrual cycle, will be able to tell you about”.
The myriad symptoms that go with the transition to menopause (or perimenopause) can range from hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and weight gain to poor sleep, brain fog, lower sex drive and dry skin. The hormonal changes also increase vulnerability to developing diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis, and may contribute to dementia.(…)