Menopause Relief: Symptoms Don’t Necessarily Start in Ovaries
Posted Sep 13 2010 3:01am
Research is currently challenging the old belief that menopause starts in the ovaries. Some of the most distressing symptoms of menopause , for instance menopausal flashes and night time sweating, have long been thought to start in the ovaries. Nevertheless new research challenges that supposition, and alternatively indicates that menopausal symptoms, at the very least in part, may begin within the brain.
That is simply because the hypothalamus and also the anterior pituitary gland stop responding normally to estrogen in some women, indicating they may have developed a lower level of sensitivity to estrogen, according to researchers at the New Jersey Medical School report in the Dec. 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. “This is a crucial new idea: Menopause doesn’t merely start in the ovary, but additionally in the brain,” said Laura Goldsmith, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and women’s health at the New Jersey Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
These findings may well lead the way to additional groundwork that may eventually help physicians foresee the kind of menopausal changeover a woman may have, and help to design non-estrogen medicines that could help reduce symptoms that women experience as they enter this particular stage of life, said Dr. Gerson Weiss, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology and women’s health at the New Jersey Medical School.
Menopause describes the time when menstruation stops. Although a female isn’t regarded as menopausal until she’s not had a menstrual period for twelve sequential months, according to the North American Menopausal Society. The time prior to menopause , which is usually filled with signs and symptoms because of hormonal fluctuations, is known as perimenopause.
During perimenopause, typical signs and symptoms include hot flashes, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, swift changes in moods and infrequent periods. This study came from research prepared for the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), which was financed by the National Institutes of Health, that analyzed women’s health as they approached menopause .
The SWAN study involved in excess of 3,300 women between the ages of forty two and fifty two at the beginning of the research period.
A subset party of 840 females supplied day-to-day urine samples, which were examined for hormonal levels. The samples were gathered daily for one complete menstrual period or fifty days, whichever came first. From that group, the research workers learned that 160 did not ovulate. After further analyzing the hormone levels from the non-ovulating females, the analysts found out that these ladies fell into three distinct groupings.
The initial party had a growth in their levels of estrogen, and then had an appropriate rush of luteinizing hormone (LH) that should have triggered ovulation, but didn’t. According to Weiss, this lack of response indicated an issue beginning in the ovary.
In the 2nd party, estrogen levels peaked, however there was no corresponding rise in LH, which Weiss said ought to be triggered by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland reacting to increased estrogen levels.
The 3rd party had very similar estrogen levels early in their cycles, but didn’t have an increase in estrogen afterwards as the initial and 2nd groups did. LH amounts did not surge, but were greater for most of the cycle than they were in the other groups.
According to Weiss, this really is “clear proof that the brain is not reacting to bodily hormones,” suggesting the second and third groups showed different types of decreased sensitivity to estrogen in the brain.
The females in the 3rd party were additionally the ones most likely to report signs and symptoms, such as hot flashes and night time perspiration. Goldsmith said the analysts hope to continue studying these women. She stated they would especially want to learn how the timing of menopause correlates with their findings.
For example, the analysts would like to find out if the women in the third party were possibly, further along in the menopausal process. “It seems that what is going on in menopause isn’t only ovarian,” said Dr. Steven Goldstein, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University School of Medicine. “We believed the pituitary reacted to lower levels of estrogen, but there could be a lack of sensitivity to estrogen in the hypothalamus and pituitary.
” What is important for women to know, said Goldsmith, is there are “genuine biochemical adjustments taking place during menopause .” Analysts are beginning to comprehend exactly how those changes start to occur, which is the initial step in trying to come up with more effective treatments.
RESOURCES: Gerson Weiss, M.D., professor and chairman, obstetrics and gynecology and women’s health; Laura Goldsmith, Ph.D., professor, obstetrics and gynecology, New Jersey Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark; Steven Goldstein, M.D., professor , obstetrics and gynecology, and obstetrician/gynecologist, New York University School of Medicine and Medical Center, New York City; Dec. 22/29, 2004, Journal of the American Medical Association