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PMS and Menopause

Adrenal hormones are important to healthy menstruation, and stress is known to affect the menstrual cycle. The adrenal glands are the only source of testosterone in women, and after menopause are the only source of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone.

These and other adrenal hormones play a major role in menstruation, sexual function, physical and psychological well-being, and the aging process, among other things. When these hormones are low, a number of unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms can occur. It has been observed clinically that many women experiencing adrenal fatigue also experience PMS and tend to have difficulty during perimenopause and menopause.

When women enter perimenopause and menopause, the ovaries slow their production of estrogen and progesterone, and the adrenal glands have to pick up the slack for menopause to proceed smoothly. If the adrenals are already fatigued, it may be more difficult to meet this extra demand for hormone production.

In fact, the adrenals may become even more depleted as a result, creating a vicious cycle. Pronounced morning fatigue may be a tip-off that low adrenal function is a factor in PMS or menopausal discomfort. A saliva cortisol/DHEAS test that measures adrenal hormones at four different times in the day can help determine whether adrenal function is a contributing factor. Support for healthy adrenal function can often provide help in this situation.