Since turning 40 last year, I have prioritised my fitness. This is something that needed to happen. Because in the previous few years before turning 40, my training had been...shit. And I am embarrassed by how little I moved my body. For a few years, I did nothing.
But then I read the paper by Prior (2006) on reframing the end of menstruation. It's an old paper, but it still got me thinking.
People have always told us that menopause causes a drop in oestrogen. Which is the case later on. But not so in the early stages. In _perimenopause_, Prior found that women's bodies create *more* oestrogen. Quite a bit more, in fact.
![[higher oestrogen levels in perimenopause.ex.png]]
She says, "Menopause is the hormonal, and the experiential opposite of perimenopause". Hence, menopause is all about *low* oestrogen. But perimenopause is, in fact, *high* oestrogen (at least in the early stages).
And hearing that we have more oestrogen made me realise...
==perimenopause is the perfect time to make strength training a priority!==
Women need strength training. We know this. And even more so later in our lives. But this hit home more than ever. Especially as I have been looking at oestrogen's effects on muscle.
Oestrogen increases protein anabolism. In a nutshell, this means that oestrogen builds muscle and bone. So more oestrogen = more muscle and bone. Providing we *do* something to stimulate the growth, i.e. strength training.
We can't sit back and let oestrogen do nothing. We need to get her working. Hence, perimenopause is the time to focus on our health, body, and strength.
Every workout, every session – no matter how small – is another penny in the bank. We may not see the benefits right away. But in the long run, it will make all the difference.
This is another benefit to perimenopause that we can [[All the Things That Can Go Right During and After Menopause|add to the list]].
**Note:** We talk about the follicular phase being where oestrogen dominates. But we can see from the image that we have more oestrogen in the luteal phase.
And this may well be the case in some women. But we don't focus much on oestrogen in the luteal phase. This is because progesterone counteracts it. Where oestrogen is anabolic, progesterone is catabolic. Where oestrogen is a stimulant, progesterone is a sedative.
Another reason? Evidence is contradictory when it comes to the definitions of phases. This is something I have written about [[Female-Based Research Flaws|before]].
- Prior, J.C. (2006) ’Perimenopause lost—reframing the end of menstruation’. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 24, 4, 323-335. Available at: [http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02646830600974071](http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02646830600974071
- Tortora, G.J. and Derrickson, B.H. (2017) Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. United States of America: Wiley Global Education.