From Menstruation to Menopause: Have We Medicalised the Physiology of Normalcy? (Part 1)

Ronald S. Laura*

From Menstruation to Menopause: Have We Medicalised the Physiology of Normalcy? (Part 1).

Although, there are exceptions to the rule, women generally experience ‘menopause’ between
the ages of 48 to 54, within which time the cessation of all menstrual bleeding becomes a reality. However, many women find that their bodies desist menstruating in their late thirties
(premature menopause) or in their early forties. The commencement of menopause is triggered
when the ovaries relinquish their responsibility for the production of estrogen. ‘Estrogen’ is an
important sex hormone that is primarily produced in the ovaries, and one of its main functions
is to regulate menstrual cycles, and moderate the inception of menopause.

Interestingly, a small portion of the female’s estrogen supply is produced in the body’s fat cells. It is estrogen that hormonally prepares the uterus to accommodate the fertilised egg, and this remarkable phenomenon happens when estrogen radically stimulates the thickness of the uterine lining, so as to stabilise the implanting capacity of the fertilised egg.

Although rare, the body’s immune system which normally fights off diseases, may mistakenly attack the ovaries and keep them from producing the female hormones which regulate menstruation. Other autoimmune diseases such as thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and
even chronic fatigue syndrome may also disrupt the otherwise regular patterns of menstrual
balance and harmony. For example, research has demonstrated that women with myalgic
encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) suffer from persistent and extreme
tiredness, headache, feelings of chronic weakness, muscle and joint pain, memory loss, insomnia, and marginalised eyesight.

Women Health Open J. 2017; 3(3): e27-e29. doi: 10.17140/WHOJ-3-e016