Hormonal System of a Woman goes through Major Upheaval around the Age of Fifty
Statistics reveal that almost 80 percent of women suffer from some kind of hormonal imbalance. It is estimated that almost 2.2 billion women over the age of fifty, around the world, will suffer from hormonal imbalance by the year 2025. In the U.S. alone, this figure is expected to cross 40 million. A major chunk of these women suffer from hormonal imbalance because of the side effects of poor diet, medications, synthetic hormones, pollutants in the atmosphere, everyday stress and the poor health care support system.
Environmental pollutants also play a role in creating hormonal imbalance. Around 51 chemicals have been marked as hormonal disruptors. Most common of such chemicals are pesticides which enter the food chain. They mimic estrogens and cause symptoms related to excessive estrogen. Similarly, almost all kinds of plastics, inks and paints contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which are again a hormone disruptor.
Petrochemicals contain synthetic estrogens called xeno-estrogens which can displace the natural estrogen from the body resulting in hormonal imbalance. Dioxin is another such chemical which is present in dry cleaning fluids, disinfectants and drugs- things that are commonly used.
Livestock are fed synthetic estrogens to increase the milk yield and to fatten them up to provide more meat. This synthetic estrogen again finds way into our bodies.
Too much of stress decreases the production of progesterone while increasing the production of corticosteroids, thereby creating a state of hormonal imbalance.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women over Fifty
Some of the common symptoms of hormonal imbalance observed in women over fifty include:
- Amenorrhea: As a woman reaches the transition phase of menopause, her menstrual periods become erratic because of the fluctuating hormonal levels in her body. Once a woman attains menopause, the periods stop completely, a condition known as amenorrhea. It is only when a woman does not have her periods for one full year that she is said to have attained menopause.
- Night sweats and hot flashes: These symptoms are associated with a deficiency of estrogen and are commonly seen in the peri-menopause phase.
- Unusually heavy bleeding: In a woman who otherwise has a nominal blood flow during her periods, an unusually heavy flow is a sign of hormonal imbalance. It is caused when the level of estrogen is too high compared to the level of progesterone.
- Osteoporosis: Almost 80% of all cases of osteoporosis are observed in postmenopausal women. This can be attributed to a sudden fall in the level of estrogen after menopause.
- Irritability and depression: They are again related to a sudden dip in the levels of estrogen.
- Migraines: Estrogen deficiency is one of the reasons behind migraine in post-menopausal women.
- Increased risk of developing heart attacks and stroke: It is believed that estrogen exerts a protective action and prevents heart attacks and stroke. That is why, their incidence is low in pre-menopausal women. However, once a woman has reached menopause, the level of estrogen dwindles and women are at par with men as far as the incidence of these diseases is concerned.
- Use of ET in hormone replacement therapy is associated with an increased incidence of endometrial and ovarian cancer. It is therefore preferred in women who have undergone hysterectomy. Use of EPT is associated with increased incidence of breast cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. These risks are especially more pronounced with a prolong use of the hormones.