How do declining hormone levels during menopause affect women?

For many women, menopause can be a distressing time. It marks the end of a woman’s period of fertility, it comes with a host of uncomfortable effects, and often leads to health complications due to depleted hormone levels.

Hormone deficiency has been linked to a number of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

During menopause, women will see a rapid decline in oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. With the vital role that our hormones play in our bodies, surely we need to work to replace these key ingredients?

Consider these symptoms:

  • Oestrogen deficiency results in headaches, joint pain, hot flashes, mood swings, and memory lapses.
  • Progesterone deficiency results in muscle weakness, vaginal infections, and anxiety.
  • Low testosterone levels result in fatigue, decreased sexual appetite and low libido, and low mood.

What role do these hormones play in our bodies?

Oestrogen is a key player in women’s mental health. Long periods of low estrogen levels result in significant mood lowering. In fact, after childbirth and menopause, oestrogen levels are usually depleted and this can (and often does) lead to depression. Oestrogen is also responsible for skin maintenance, improving the collagen content, increasing skin thickness, and boosting blood supply. This is why mature skins can often look thin, and are prone to lines and wrinkles.  Oestrogen accelerates the burning of body fat and reduces muscle bulk. And of course, the reproductive system makes good use of oestrogen, promoting uterine growth, and providing vaginal lubrication.

Progesterone is vital for reproduction. It triggers the body to produce lining for the uterus, prohibits muscle contractions causing the rejection of the egg, and stops ovulation while the body is pregnant. However, it is also a pivotal building block for other hormones and thus is a major player for elements such as sexual desire, mood levels, anxiety levels, headaches, and heart rate. This hormone fluctuates greatly during our lives depending on our age and cycle.

Testosterone plays a critical role in a woman’s sexual development and fertility levels. It is also responsible for bone strength and the development of lean muscle, as well as a sense of well-being and high energy levels. Low testosterone levels can result in a lowered sex drive. It has also been suggested that balanced testosterone levels may help to prevent cognitive fatigue.

As you can imagine, declining levels of any of these vital hormones will have long-term effects on menopausal women. However, a drop in all three can have immediate and distressing effects.

Many menopausal women consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to counteract their depleted hormone levels during this time. It’s important to be aware that not all HRTs are equal, and some synthetic options can come with nasty side effects.

We would encourage you to talk to Dr. Sanua who will be pleased to assist you with everything you need to make an informed decision. Please contact him on +27(0) 11 463 – 1614 or visit us at


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