Menopause is a stage of development in a woman’s life that involves the gender hormones estrogen, the so-called female hormone, and androgen, the so-called male hormone. Both estrogens and androgens are produced in the ovaries.
During a woman’s reproductive years, her ovarian estrogen production occurs in a very controlled, direct and efficient way. The process involves the production of androgen first, followed by conversion to estrogen.
In a woman’s fourth decade, a chronic and progressive loss of this conversion begins, resulting in both estrogen deficiency and increased androgen activity (from the unconverted male hormone), and symptomatic effects such as night sweats can begin. When a woman completes the transition through menopause, typically in her fifth decade, the loss of estrogen can have a negative impact on her overall health.
While each woman’s experience with menopause is unique, some women suffer significant physical and emotional symptoms that can affect their quality of life. For them, headaches, sleeplessness, anxiety or depression can be severe. For others, hot flashes or night sweats can be mild or moderate. Whatever the level of discomfort, these short-term and symptomatic effects of menopause can be successfully treated and managed. So can the long-term health risks associated with post-menopause.
“Nearly every system of the body can be affected by the decrease in estrogen that occurs with menopause. After menopause, the loss of estrogen can be linked to other health problems, most notably osteoporosis and heart disease, which become more common as women age,” said gynecologist Frederic Steinberg, D.O., M.S., of Cooper’s Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Osteoporosis (“brittle bones” disease) and heart disease (especially coronary artery disease—the narrowing or blockage of arteries that surround the heart muscle) are two common health problems that can begin at menopause without a woman even noticing. Estrogen plays an important role in preserving bone mass and in maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood. As estrogen levels decrease at menopause, a woman’s risk for these conditions increases.
Dr. Steinberg explains:
“Day in and day out, your body breaks down old bone and replaces it with new, healthy bone. Estrogen helps control bone loss, and losing estrogen around the time of menopause causes women to lose more bone than is replaced. Over time, this loss of bone can lead to osteoporosis—weak and fragile bones that break easily.
“After menopause, women are more likely to have heart disease, and changes in estrogen levels may be part of the cause. But, so is getting older. As you age, you may gain weight and develop other problems, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which also increases your risk. ”
In addition to diagnostic testing, Dr. Steinberg noted that preventive and medical therapies can be tailored to each woman’s individual needs, to both treat and/or ward off these conditions.
“Remember, menopause is a natural, biological stage in a woman’s life, and the symptomatic effects and long-term risks can be successfully managed. By understanding how this natural transition affects your body and how the latest treatment and preventive options can help to ensure your long-term health, women can progress through menopause comfortably, and thrive afterwards,” Dr. Stenberg said.
Hormones Gone Wild: How to Survive Menopause
Join us for this free seminar series discussing how you can survive menopause and thrive!
As women, we’ve heard about the hot flashes, the mood swings—and many of us have experienced them first-hand. The good news is that those physical and emotional changes affecting your life can be managed. With special care and understanding, you can survive menopause and thrive!
Our panel of Cooper physicians, comprizing specialists in Cardiology, Family Medicine, OB/GYN and Oncology, will address the latest treatments, including HRT bioidentical hormones.
You’ll learn to deal with the emotional symptoms, from anxiety to depression, as well as how to avoid heart disease and cancer. Plenty of time will be spent answering your questions.
Dates & Locations:
- Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The Ripa Center for Women’s Health and Wellness
1011 Main Street, Voorhees, NJ 08043
- Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Moorestown Community House
16 East Main Street, Moorestown, NJ 08057
- Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Riverton Country Club
1416 Highland Avenue, Riverton, NJ 08077
- Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Cherry Hill Public Library
1100 Kings Highway North, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Light refreshments and check-in will begin at 6:45 p.m. with the program following at 7 p.m.
Call 1.800.8.COOPER (1.800.826.6737) for more information and to register.