Factors That Influence Hormonal Disturbance
Causes of hormonal disorders are many and the more factors we are exposed to, the more severe the symptoms are presented. Below is a quick list of the most common causes of hormonal disturbances which have been proven by both clinical studies and medical research.
Exposure to xenoestrogens is the cause of early follicle depletion due to their oestrogen effect (hormonal-modulating) on the body. Xenoestrogens, both natural and synthetic, are able to mimic endogenous sex hormones and bind and activate oestrogen receptors. Xenoestrogens are compounds such as PCB's, 4-MBC (sunscreen lotions) and Bisphenols (pesticides and plastics). (Sarris & Wardle, 2010)
Aromatic hydrocarbons in cigarette smoke have been linked to oocyte destruction. There is an up-regulation of the Bax pro-apoptosis gene which results in damage to the follicles and earlier ovarian failure. “Compared to never-smokers, current smokers experienced menopause at a younger age.” (Nagel et al. 2005, 347)
Reduced antioxidant status may be linked to ageing of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. This could result in changes in the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone resulting in menopausal progression. (Nagata et al, 2000, p. 866)
Phytoestrogens are plant components that also bind to endogenous oestrogen receptor sites. These components are less powerful and act as oestrogen modulators. Phytoestrogens do this by preventing more powerful endogenous components from binding in excess conditions (endometriosis). They may also bind to empty sites in deficient conditions. (Sarris & Wardle, 2010)
Obesity has been found to create an increased oestrogenic environment due to the heightened conversion of androstenedione and an increased level of free oestradiol due to decreased sex hormone binding globulin. This is linked to prolonged perimenopause. (Nagel et al. 2005, p.344)
HIGH SERUM CHOLESTEROL
Elevated blood lipids are considered a risk in cardiovascular disease. Menopause is associated with an increase in serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels, even with constant body weight. (Razay et al. 1992, p. 127)
High intake of carbohydrates, vegetables, fibre and cereal products is associated with shorter natural menopause whereas higher total fat, protein and meat intake is linked to prolonged perimenopause. (Nagel et al. 2005, p. 345)
Managing the symptoms of menopause
By controlling our environment, personal health and well-being (which includes diet, lifestyle, exercise, medications and supplementation), we can make our journey towards menopause either the best-case scenario or the worst-case scenario.
The world around us is a toxic bubble which, in turn, can create a toxic body that is more prone to the development of diseases. If we can address as many influencing factors to make a positive change, then we can also decrease the implications of hormonal imbalance and go through menopause relatively symptom-free.