When the ovaries begin to slow the production of viable eggs, the body’s need for estrogen declines. However, the need for estrogen never stops and the body continues to make the amount needed for health. Estrogen is still being made after menopause.
It is common to hear complaints about symptoms that are commonly associated with menopause. The common belief is that those symptoms are the result of missing estrogens. The standard medical treatment is to take hormone replacement – usually in the form of a pill. Premarin has long been used as an estrogen replacement. It is derived from the urine of pregnant mares. Other products contain those conjugated horse estrogens along with a small dose of another hormone group, a progestin. A common commercial drug product is called PremPro.
A list of the more common symptoms associated with menopause is included at the bottom of this article. Dr. John R. Lee studied these many symptoms and he concluded that they were not the result of too little estrogen. Instead, excess estrogen is the more likely culprit – which he referred to as estrogen dominance. How does Dr. Lee explain that the symptoms of estrogen dominance occur after estrogen levels have fallen?
Studies have shown that estrogen levels do fall at menopause. So do the levels of progesterone. The important fact is that progesterone levels fall farther on a percentage basis than the estrogen levels. If estrogen, for example, falls by 50%, progesterone levels fall in the neighborhood of 70%. Progesterone is the hormone that historically has balanced the effects of circulating estrogen. At menopause, the progesterone falls to levels below those needed to balance the effect of the remaining estrogens.
Dr. Lee’s recommended solution was the use of small doses of progesterone to regain balance. While this is not widely accepted in current medical practice, it seems to be true. Replacing missing progesterone often completely eliminates the symptoms associated with menopause (and estrogen dominance).
The key is to use natural (bio-identical) progesterone in physiologic amounts – and use them according to a cycling schedule that mimics the previously normal rise and fall of progesterone, the monthly cycle.