Hormones and Menopause | Petra Coveney


Hormones and menopause

Hormones are chemical messengers that communicate with the brain and other parts of the body to keep you healthy and in balance. Your key to understanding hormones and menopause are your main sex hormones. These are oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The levels of these hormones fluctuate during your monthly menstrual cycle. Oestrogen is produced mainly in the ovaries (oestrodiol) and is necessary for the release and fertilisation of an egg follicle. Progesterone is necessary for the health of your womb, causing the lining to shed each month if fertilisation has not occurred. Testosterone has many functions and affects your libido, energy levels, as well as cognitive brain function. 

Every woman is born with a finite number of egg follicles in her ovaries, so women with fewer eggs are likely to go into perimenopause earlier than others. And women who have a serious illness such as cancer or surgery to remove their womb or ovaries, will experience menopause at different times. 

During the perimenopause, as your supply of egg follicles declines, your ovaries reduce the amount oestrogen produced. You may have one month when your menstrual cycle is normal and then the next month have a longer or heavier bleed time, or none at all. The months when you have no bleed are because the ovaries have not released an egg so you have an anovulatory cycle. The sends a message to the hypothalamus gland in the brain that something is not right, and the hypothalamus responds by sending urgent messages to the adrenal glands and other tissues to kick start production of an alternative version of oestrogen. This is called oestrone.  

Read about how Yoga can support you through Menopause in the MFML Yoga for Menopause Complete Guide!

What happens with loss of oestrogen?

Why does it do this? Oestrogen is not just vital for egg fertilisation. It is also necessary for the healthy functioning of the rest of your body including your organs, tissues and the brain. Oestrogen protects your heart health by keeping the arteries open and elastic to support the flow of blood. It also protects your bone mineral density, preventing osteoporosis (weakened and brittle bones). Loss of oestrogen causes sarcopenia or loss of muscle mass which can affect your physical strength, balance and ability to burn calories.

Over time, the adrenals and other tissues will take over the production of oestrogen. By post menopause – 85% of your oestrogen will be produced in the adrenal glands and only 15% in your ovaries. but oestrone is not of the same quality or grade as oestrodiol and it takes time to find a new level of equilibrium or homeostasis. You are likely to feel off balance for a while.  It is interesting to note that we don’t have exactly the same levels of hormones in our bodies. Some of us have more, or less, testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone. What is a normal level for me will be different for you. This is important when considering Hormone Replacement Therapy and other treatments to help you manage your menopause symptoms. 

Oestrogen can keep your body supple and strong as well support your vaginal  health and pelvic floor. Progesterone can help you sleep as well as being vital for the lining of your womb. Testosterone is now offered to women to increase energy, brain function and sexual libido. You can see how hormones in menopause fluctuate and affect your health.

If you’d like to practice with Petra, there are some Mini Menopause Yoga short classes and techniques on the MFML website. We hope you find these helpful.

This yoga for menopause course brings together specialist contributors and offers yoga classes, audio interviews, facts, guidance and community. The course is suitable for anyone interested in understanding more about menopause, women going through perimenopause and menopause.

Petra Coveney – Founder of Menopause Yoga, and Menopause Yoga Teacher on MFML

Petra is the founder of Menopause Yoga – the world’s first specialist yoga practice designed to support women on their Menopause journey. Founded in 2013, Menopause Yoga unites the latest western medical science with eastern wellbeing, and is grounded in many years of research and work with menopausal women.

Petra says: “Menopause Yoga educates and empowers women with knowledge about The Menopause so that they can embrace the changes in their minds, bodies and emotions.”

For more information about her public classes, workshops and teacher training course please visit her website and Instagram.


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