You will certainly experience changes when you enter menopause.
Who knows, maybe you won’t mind them much. The changes that other people dread might not affect you in the same way. After all, as Shakespeare wrote, “nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
But Lord knows there will be changes. However, who needs sex drive and youthful-looking skin anyways? Strong bones are also overrated, right?
Well, when hormones like estrogen and progesterone decline, the body and the mind feel it.
Hormones like these are intimately involved in nearly every aspect of a woman’s physiology, and they hugely affect how she feels and functions. Estrogen, for instance, is crucial for bone health, keeping skin strong and elastic, promoting cardiovascular and immune health, and regulating mood.
Many women become painfully aware of how important their hormones are to their health and the way they feel. Those hormones that you took for granted all those years are showing you what life feels like without them.
Below is a list of all those menopausal feelings you can look forward to.
1. More Wrinkles!
There are numerous causes of skin wrinkles and aging skin like chronic oxidative stress, sun damage, and glycation. But declining hormones also play a role in the thinning of skin tissue and the appearance of wrinkles.
When estrogen declines, researchers note, skin “becomes thinner with less collagen,” causing the appearance of wrinkles 1. Estrogen is so intimately involved in skin physiology that it offers antioxidant protection to skin, promotes vein formation and blood flow, and aids in moisturizing the skin 1.
Without estrogen, your skin is going to have a mature look to it - perhaps a very mature look. It’s that lack of estrogen that makes you look wise, experienced and like a life fully lived, but also kinda wrinkly.
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2. Increased Chance of Osteoporosis
Estrogen affects you so deeply that it impacts your body all the way down to your bones. When you don’t have enough estrogen, your bones weaken dramatically.
Estrogen has direct effects on how bones rebuild themselves or fail to rebuild themselves, and this hormone is crucial in keeping bones strong and protected 3. Estrogen also has indirect effects on how the immune system interacts with bones 3.. Bones are damaged and weakened by excessive inflammation and oxidative stress caused by an immune system that is dysregulated because of inadequate estrogen levels 3..
In short, researchers say declining estrogen levels cause bone loss 3. The good news is that your walking stick will make you look stylish if your bones get really weak. And maybe you’ll have more of an excuse to skip strenuous exercise!
3. Kiss Your Sleep Goodbye
Up to this point, you might have taken a good night’s sleep for granted. When you were young, your brain was communicating efficiently with the body to put you to sleep at the right time.
But as you enter middle age, you enter hormonal disorder and sleeping becomes difficult.
Researchers blame the “destabilization” of sleep on reduced estrogen and melatonin, two hormones which affect sleep and neurotransmission 4,5.
Good news is that you’ll have more time to hang out and practice hobbies in the wee hours.
4. You Will Have Less Sex Drive
Well, this may not be such a great thing for some women who enjoy sensual pleasure. With the decline of hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, sexual drive decreases in menopausal women 6.
The Buddha said that desire is the cause of suffering. So less desire, less suffering, right? You’ll have less needs to fulfill, so sit back and relax. I’m sure your partner will understand.
5. Look Forward to More Facial Hair
You may be able to finally grow that beard or mustache that you’ve dreamed of. To be honest, it will probably resemble mildly visible, awkward facial hair.
Many women experience an increase in facial hair growth, especially on the chin, during menopause 7.
6. You Will Lounge More
Typically, as people age, their mitochondria are less efficient at making energy. Mitochondria are the energy-producing powerhouses in all our cells. If you are not living a healthy lifestyle, overeating, and not exercising, these powerhouses will decay quickly!
Menopause also adds to the fire. Some estimates conclude that over 50% of women feel dramatic fatigue during menopause 8. And it’s not just a casual tiredness. Researchers describe a “decreased health-related quality of life” in these women 8.
But at least you’ll feel more comfortable relaxing on the couch while you binge-watch your favorite shows.
7. Your Brain Might Decay
Estrogen plays a protective role throughout your body. Many people don’t know that estrogen has antioxidant effects and communicates with other antioxidants to stay strong and fight damaging oxidative stress throughout your body 9.
Estrogen plays many roles in brain health, and researchers think it might be important for preventing dreaded diseases of the brain 9. Here’s an overview of estrogen’s effects in the brain: it modulates synaptic growth, “increased cerebral blood flow, mediation of important neurotransmitters and hormones, protection against apoptosis, anti-inflammatory actions, and antioxidant properties” 9.
There’s not really much of an upside to this one, is there? Well, you’ll have an excuse for forgetting people’s names.
8. You Might Experience Mysterious Health Issues
Scientists have recently uncovered the probability that the environmental pollution that you absorb through life up to middle age attacks you during menopause.
Many symptoms of menopause might be caused (in part) or exacerbated by toxic pollutants in women's bodies.
Take this for example: when estrogen declines, bones break down more easily. And stored in our bones is a lot of toxic lead. About 90% of lead in the body is stored in the bones 10. When bones break down, this lead is released in the body and can cause a variety of debilitating symptoms that could be blamed on the decline of hormones 10.
Additional research has supported this theory, and found that during menopause more lead is released from the bones and into the blood affecting the whole body 11.
But stay positive because regular sauna-taking will help sweat out the toxic metals in your body. Sweat regularly to stay clean.
9. You Won’t Feel as Perky as Before
When you had your hormones, you had more energy and more neuronal activity. Estrogen is a neuromodulator. It communicates with neurotransmitters, influencing how they fire in the brain. So to put it simply, your neurotransmitters will not be firing correctly if your hormones are in the gutter.
Maybe your brain will be a little calmer now that you’ve reached middle age. Less of that monkey chatter.
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