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    Given that there is such a strong correlation between when people become estrogen deficient and loss in bone mass, it is important to know just when estrogen levels begin to lower. Interestingly the menstrual cycle symptoms of declining estrogen levels are seen long before a womans final menstrual cycle.

    Estrogen and the menstrual cycle

    During the menstrual cycle the levels of estrogen fluctuate, during the start of the menstrual cycle, whilst the women is bleeding estrogen levels are low, they then start to increase after about day 8 and increase to a maximum at day 14. Following the end of the follicle stage ovulation is triggered by luteinizing hormone at around day 15 of the menstrual cycle. At this stage there is a reduction in the levels of estrogen due to the release of the egg at the follicle. At this stage the follicle converts to a corpus luteum and estrogen production is stimulated (as is the production of progesterone). The levels of both progesterone and estrogen then begin to decline to very low levels at around the 22 nd day of the cycle. This decline stimulates the uterus lining to grow, if the women is not pregnant then menstrual bleeding will occur at day one.

    The final period or menopause occurs when the follicle, which no longer contains eggs, can no longer produce hormones due to lack of eggs. This results in a lack of endometrial formation and therefore there is no need for a woman to bleed.

    Change in menstrual cycle

    The approach to the final period does not happen like clockwork, as there is often a change in the menstrual cycle length and period of time between periods. Additionally symptoms are that women who are coming towards the end of their menstrual lifespan may begin to have hot flushes. These signs signal a general decline in overall estrogen levels and lead on to the climacteric phase in which the ovaries stop hormone production and the menopause occurs. In answer to the initial question of when do women become estrogen deficient, it is during this climacteric phase, that may occur between the ages of 35 and 60, but generally occurs during the early fifties.