Do enzymes really influence menopause?

Early menopause, also known as premature ovarian failure, occurs when the ovaries run out of eggs too early. Early menopause is commonly an indicator of autoimmune problems women and it occurs before the age of forty.

At birth women’s ovaries contain about 300,000 – 400,000 unripe eggs, each held in a small sack or follicle. Though, in maturity only ten or so follicles grow each month and only one of these goes on to carry an egg bursting to release its ripened egg into the fallopian tube. But, in about one woman in every hundred, eggs exhaust before the age of fifty (the most common age for menopause) and the woman loses ability to bear children before (and sometimes long before) the natural age.

Early menopause is usually unplanned and unexpected, and that’s why entering this new state can have a devastating effect on premenopausal women. The unwelcome and fearful news about the fact that you’re suddenly infertile makes the woman believe that she has become less of a woman or perhaps no longer sexy. A big part of hopes and expectations concerning future life are suddenly gone. And these feelings won’t disappear right away without special psychological and physical treatment.

But it is clear that before choosing any method of treating early menopause one should identify the real cause of it. Well, there are plenty of them and the most common premature menopause causes are: autoimmune disorder, chromosomal irregularity, oophorectomy and total hysterectomy, ovarian damage due to other surgical procedures, viral infections, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. In this article I would like to draw your attention upon one cause, precisely an enzyme that controls the ovulation process in women and is responsible for early menopause in women.

This enzyme is called Phosphatase and Tensin homolog (PTEN). PTEN is a human enzyme that functions as a tumor suppressor gene. It means that the protein encoded by this enzyme helps regulate the cycle of cell division by keeping cells from growing and dividing too rapidly or in an uncontrolled way. When the PTEN enzyme is working properly, it acts as part of a chemical pathway that signals cells to stop dividing and causes cells to undergo programmed cell death when necessary. And consequently, when PTEN keeps immature eggs from ripening prematurely. Sounds astounding and unreal enough? But there is much scientific prove to it.

The investigation with mice lacking PTEN in their eggs, showed that the entire group of immature eggs is activated prematurely, becoming ripe and thus the mouse consumes it’s store of eggs more quickly and consequently becomes infertile earlier. And the same with humans – mutations in the PTEN gene are associated with premature menopause in women.

PTEN restrains follicle activation, and theoretically it is possible to culture a piece of the ovaries in the petri-dish and trigger the follicle growth with a synthetic PTEN inhibitor. Thus, PTEN can be used to prevent or treat early menopause and demonstrate how quickly a woman’s biological clock is ticking.

With this knowledge physicians can develop new ways of early menopause treatment but that will be the subject of another article.

You can find more information about menopause, premenopause and early menopause at Menopause Remedy, a profound website that covers all aspects of menopause, its causes, symptoms and treatments. To learn more about natural menopause treatments visit Menopause Treatment Store.

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