What is Menopause Really

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

If you’re approaching menopause, or maybe you’re already there, you probably have questions. You might have an idea of what to expect, but what is menopause…really? There may be more going on than you realize. There also may be a few things that you’ve been told are normal things to expect, that aren’t actually “normal” at all. For example, hot flashes. Are hot flashes actually something every woman has to go through? I don’t believe so.

I’m going to walk you through the basics of what menopause is…really. I’m also going to share with you how to support your body before menopause and after menopause, to help with the symptoms.

In this article, I will cover:

A happy and smiling older woman sitting in a park | What is Menopause…Really?


What Is Menopause?

A woman has about 400 eggs, and every month, an egg is released. But, around age fifty-one, there aren’t any more eggs left to be released. You’re done. This means no more menstruation, and no more pregnancy. It’s time to party, right? Well, for many women, instead of breaking out in a dance, they break out in a sweat, because hot flashes and other menopause symptoms start to kick in. Just when you think it’s all going to be great, you have more to deal with.

You might have also heard about something called perimenopause. So, what is perimenopause? This actually can begin a few months to several years before menopause. It’s when your body starts to make the transition to menopause. Your ovaries gradually start to make less estrogen until the point where the ovaries stop releasing eggs and you are in menopause. A woman can start this stage as early as her 30s, or even earlier. But, it typically starts in a woman in 40s. It’s possible, especially towards the end of perimenopause, to start experiencing symptoms of menopause from weight gain to hot flashes.

Symptoms of Menopause

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal atrophy
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of libido
  • Bone loss
  • Atrophy

What Happens During Menopause

What actually is happening with menopause is you’re getting a shift in hormones. There are three hormones that are involved: estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. After menopause, you have a drop in these hormones, especially progesterone.

Progesterone works with estrogen—it helps counter estrogen. The massive drop in progesterone can cause estrogen dominance symptoms even though estrogen has dropped as well. Progesterone makes estrogen seem dominant because it drops so much more. But, the massive drop in progesterone may be what’s really behind many of the issues that occur during menopause.

A drawing of the adrenal glands in a woman’s body | What is Menopause…Really?


Your Back-Up: The Adrenal Glands

So, what are you supposed to do about the drop in these hormones? Well, a woman’s body is actually equipped with a back-up mechanism for this situation. It’s called your adrenal glands. The adrenals also make estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.

You have two adrenal glands, one on top of each of your kidneys. These small triangular shaped glands produce many different hormones that you can’t live without, and they have many important functions. One of these functions being, acting as your body's plan-b, by giving you the right amount of hormones you need that your ovaries are failing to provide.

But, here’s where there can be a problem. If the adrenals are weak going into menopause and they aren’t able to back up the ovaries appropriately, you may start seeing problems with these hormones. You’re could be deficient in theses hormones, and then you might start to notice menopause symptoms, like hot flashes. Unfortunately, this is an incredibly common situation. In fact, more than 80% of women develop hot flashes.

But, in reality, the menopause symptoms above, including hot flashes, are not normal. If the adrenals are weak, that’s when you start to see the big problems.

A happy and smiling woman taking a bite of a healthy salad | What is Menopause…Really?


What Can You Do for Menopause?

Many women see menopause symptoms as more than just an inconvenience. They can be incredibly difficult to have to deal with. Most women start looking for some type of solution after they get to this phase of their life. It’s not uncommon for someone to suggest hormone replacement therapy or HRT to try to help with the symptoms of menopause.

But what is HRT? Well, like it sounds, it’s replacement hormones that you take to try to help alleviate menopause symptoms. But, there are risks involved with this option. Thankfully, there are natural and effective options that work for many different women.

How to Support the Body Before Menopause

Support the Adrenals

It’s really important to support the adrenals before menopause so that your adrenal glands can act as your back-up once you get into menopause. Doing this could be what really helps you more than anything.

You can help support your adrenal glands by lowering your stress, getting plenty of sleep, doing healthy keto combined with intermittent fasting, increasing your potassium intake, and by taking an adrenal support supplement.

A delicious arrangement of healthy ketogenic diet foods | What is Menopause…Really?

How to Support the Body After Menopause

Do Not Go on a Low-Fat Diet

It may be best not to go on a low-fat diet or lower your dietary cholesterol. All of the hormones that you need and that you have less of now are made out of cholesterol.

If you go on a low-fat diet or a low-cholesterol diet, you could negatively influence these hormones. Instead, you may want to seriously consider giving healthy keto combined with intermittent fasting a try.

Counter High Cortisol

When the adrenals are acting to support the ovaries, you may get a spike in cortisol. This is the stress hormone. This spike in cortisol can be very damaging in several ways, one being that it can damage your bones. It can also be behind atrophy after menopause. This atrophy may look like cellulite, but it’s really a loss of muscle tissue.

Cortisol can also affect your sleep cycle and raise Fat Storing Hormone. To help counter cortisol, you may want to try supporting the adrenal glands and going on healthy keto combined with intermittent fasting.

Increase Progesterone

You can try something natural to help increase your progesterone. This way, you can try to raise your progesterone to help with the various menopause symptoms. I really like wild yam cream in this situation.

Now, remember, your estrogen can be a little bit higher because it’s not effectively countered by progesterone. This estrogen can also be damaging. To help keep this in check, you may want to try consuming cruciferous vegetables, sea kelp, and DIM. These can all potentially help balance estrogen and can have protective effects.

Vitamin E

A lot of your vitamin E is actually stored in the pituitary gland, which controls the adrenals and ovaries. Vitamin E drops significantly after menopause. Taking vitamin E may support the adrenals and ovaries to help minimize menopause symptoms.

It may be best to steer clear of synthetic versions of vitamin E. The type of vitamin E that you may want to consider is the natural tocopherol mix, with something called tocotrienols.


Key Takeaways—What Is Menopause…Really?

What is menopause…really? A woman enters menopause when she has no more eggs left to release. At this point, there is a huge shift in hormones that takes place, and progesterone takes the biggest hit. Thankfully, your body has a back-up mechanism to help supply the hormones your body now needs. It’s called the adrenal glands. Unfortunately, most women can’t take advantage of this plan-b because their adrenals are too weak. Because of this, they start experiencing the awful symptoms of menopause.

This is why it’s crucial to help support your adrenals before menopause. But what if it’s too late for that? Even if it’s too late to support your adrenals before menopause, it’s still a good idea to support your adrenal glands. There are also many other helpful and beneficial natural things you can do to help support your body after menopause.

If you’re in this phase of your life where you’re dealing with menopause, it can be really tough. But, consider giving these natural remedies a try to help alleviate symptoms while also promoting a healthy body.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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