Hormone imbalance is best down pat by being aware of how a normal menstrual cycle functions. A menstrual cycle is the result of a hormonal shock hop between the pituitary gland in the brain and the ovaries. Each month the female sex hormones put in order the body to support a pregnancy, and without fertilization, there is menstruation (a period).
A menstrual cycle is set on by the number of days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. Hence day one of the menstrual cycles is the first of full bleeding day of the period. A usual cycle is around 24 to 35 days (average 28 days for most women). It is not unusual for a woman’s cycle to at intervals be shorter or longer.
On the Day first, of the menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone levels are not high. Low levels of estrogen and progesterone high sign the pituitary gland to produce Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). FSH embarks on the process of maturing a follicle (fluid-filled sac in the ovary containing an egg).
The follicle forms more estrogen to fit out the uterus for pregnancy. At ovulation, commonly around Day 12 – 14, added on estrogen levels bring about a sharp rise in Luteinizing Hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland, leading to release of the egg from the follicle.
The ruptured follicle (corpus luteum) now produces progesterone and estrogen to go on to make up the uterus for pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized, estrogen and progesterone levels slump and, on Day 28, the menses take off.
The menstrual cycle happens in three phases:
- follicular phase,
- ovulatory phase and
- luteal phase
The first half of the cycle is noted as the follicular phase and whereas the second half of the cycle is called the luteal phase. Midway through the cycle between days 12 and 16 in which ovulation occurs, known as the ovulatory phase.
Being acquainted of how a normal menstrual cycle functions aid to figure out the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), perimenopause and menopause. Symptoms are usually the result of too much or too little hormone(s).
At the time of perimenopause hormone levels go up and down as a result of lesser ovulations, thus progesterone is produced in a lower degree in the second half of the menstrual cycle. Periods can be capricious, missed out or have heavy bleeding /clots. Symptoms result from the variation in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Hence the imbalance creates the symptoms.
In the time of menopause, estrogen is no longer secreted by the ovaries and is made in smaller extent by the adrenal glands and in fat tissue. Estrogen is still formed in the body, but in a smaller extent than younger cycling women. The most vital hormone alteration of menopause is the paucity of progesterone, Therefore it is a time of estrogen dominance and low progesterone.
Important Menstrual Cycle Hormones
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which is released from the pituitary gland in the brain, and steams up the ovarian follicles (fluid-filled sacs on the ovary containing an egg or ovum) to mature.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which is also bailed out from the pituitary gland in the brain at ovulation, and leads to the rupture of the mature ovarian follicle, releasing the egg.
Estrogen which is one of the female sex hormones and usually referred to as the “growing hormone” due to its part in the body. It is also bound for growing and maturing the uterine lining (the lining which is shed during menstruation) and also grow up the egg prior to ovulation. Estrogen is secreted mostly by the ovaries but also in lesser amounts by the adrenal glands and in fat tissue. It is most ample in the first half of the menstrual cycle which is the follicular phase.
Progesterone which is another of the female sex hormones. It functions in the body to balance the impacts of estrogen and is often referred to as the relaxing hormone. Progesterone is secreted after ovulation by the corpus luteum (sack which the egg comes from) and control the second half of the cycle (luteal phase). Progesterone’s main job is to manage the build-up of the uterine lining and aid to mature and maintain the uterine lining if there is a pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, our progesterone levels drop and the lining of the uterus is shed, and the menstrual cycle begins.
Testosterone is also a crucial sex hormone for both women and men, although women have much fewer levels. It is produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands (right on top of the kidneys) and has a surge at the time of ovulation and slight rise just before the menses. Testosterone also helps women maintain muscle mass and bone strength, enhances sex drive and helps with an overall sense of well-being and zest for life.