In a nutshell, oestrogen levels start falling and ovulation starts occurring less frequently, until it eventually stops. Oestrogen, as well as being a vital component of reproduction, plays a number of other important roles in women’s bodies. These include:
• Maintaining structure of skin and blood vessels.
• Thickening, elasticating and lubricating vaginal tissue
• Helping maintain bone density and strength.
• It also appears to help regulate body temperature; maintain memory and concentration; balance mood.
When ovulation doesn’t occur, the body stops producing progesterone, as this is prompted by ovulation. This results, for a while, in what is known as oestrogen dominance in the body – which means that even though oestrogen production has reduced, it is no longer being balanced by progesterone.
It is the changing levels and balance of oestrogen and progesterone that possibly, partly, explain some of the typical signs and symptoms associated with menopause and why this is, simply, a period of adjustment.