Menstrual Maths & Perimenopause
In this lesson we look at menstrual health with a lifetime lens. Perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause are a part of the hormone highway continuum, not isolated parts of physiology.
Listen to the audio (transcript below). Grab a copy of the files that go with this lesson from the pdf viewer at the bottom of the screen.
Let’s look at the reproductive years with a lifetime filter in terms of numbers.
At birth each menstruators has 2 ovaries. The number of potential eggs = oocytes , of which there are between 1-2 million
Around 10,000 per month that never reach maturity. By the time periods start there are approximately 25% lifetime egg pool remaining. At age 30 you have around 12%. Age 40 only 3%
You ovulate once every menstrual cycle. You normally release one egg per cycle, but in rare cases you can release two, at the same time.
The hormone blueprint and your DNA determine how long your periods to no periods journey is.
It’s pretty seamless. There’s no big announcement it is an evolving dynamic process.
The overall journey is approximately 40 years and you are pre programmed to have around 400-450 periods in your lifetime.
NB with hormonal contraception you still count the months as if you were having periods. They don’t get stored up to come out all in one go when you stop contraception.
So the maths goes like this 11 you start periods + 40 = 51 – average age of menopause day.
Menopause is classed as 12 consecutive months without a period. Just one day. The time leading up to that is called perimenopause and can be 10 years or so. The time before that is premenopause
But what is actually happening?
Menstrual cycle is the regular infradian rhythm. The regular eggs factor competition
The first 3 or 4 years maybe a bit irregular as your ovaries get the hang of it and then for around 20 years it’s relatively regular. Except if pregnant.
In the mid to late 30s that’s when the ovaries check in with the program and consider whether they need to start winding down ready for periods stop day.
This is when the eggs factor competition is on one minute and off the next.
Now as you have discovered the sex hormones work beyond the bleed, so if your ovaries start acting like some kind of temperament dimmer switch this can trigger … symptoms of perimenopause aka menopause transition … which gets abbreviated to going through the menopause.
Supporting hormone health therefore is essential for bone health, heart health, brain health you name it any kind of health needs to be supported.
So, basically from the day you start your periods to the day you stop, you are menopausing to a greater or lesser extent. The day after Menopause Day you are post menopause .
Menstrual health is health, healthy ageing is linked to healthy menstruation and by default healthy menopausing.
Why don’t we talk about menstruation? We don’t talk about it because we weren’t taught how to.
Now however you have started to learn this fascinating language of menstrual health and how it impacts overall health and you can now go on to share this information and maybe discover more as to why Menstrual health matters. And more importantly why menstrual health is the 5th vital sign.