Interestingly, in the same study, women 45 years or older who were not taking replacement hormones were significantly less likely to experience symptoms of severe oestrogen deficiency than those taking hormones. Such results are indicative of just how little we really understand female physiology.
Women (particularly menopausal women) are not designed to have high levels of hormones circulating around in our bodies every hour of the day. In the body, hormones are released into the system when needed and then either utilised or excreted. Supplementing in this way means higher circulating levels of oestrogens for longer periods of time.
Although the ovaries stop producing oestrogen at menopause, they continue to produce androgen, which can be converted into a form of oestrogen called oestrone. In a healthy menopausal woman, there is a twofold increase in
production of androgenic hormones from other sources, such as the adrenal glands, skin, muscles, brain, pineal gland and hair follicles. So, although ovarian production is falling, the other androgen producing sites in the body compensate for this.
The stronger a woman's adrenals, the better (see box on page 4). A small amount of midlife weight gain may also be protective since the conversion of androgen into oestrogen takes place in fat.