In a 2013 review published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the decrease in estrogen and progesterone showed to reduce immune functioning. Due to the reduced functioning of the immune system, it’s not able to ward off germs that enter the body, leading to more viral illnesses.
Understanding how the immune system works will shed light on why this happens to menopausal women.
How the Immune System Works
When viruses, bacteria, and fungi enter the body, the immune system uses cells, proteins and chemical reactions to ward them off. When a germ is destroyed, the system remembers it and doesn’t allow it to enter the body again. In addition, the immune system filters blood to trap bacteria to keep the body healthy.
How Menopause Affects the Immune System
One of the ways the immune system fights off germs is with special cells called T-cells. These cells are responsible for destroying harmful bacteria and cancer cells. Unfortunately, the number of these cells decreases during menopause.
Inflammation increases during menopause, which affects the body’s immune response. This increases susceptibility to:
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Due to a decrease in estrogen and progesterone in the body, many menopausal women develop an autoimmune disorder. This causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the body, which then leads to a type of autoimmune disease, such as:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Celiac Disease
How Diet and Lifestyle Compound Immune System Functioning
In addition to the changes in the body because of menopause, other factors compound the decrease in immune system functioning.
- Eating Habits
- Poor Gut Health
An increase in stress, not sleeping enough, eating unhealthy foods and not engaging in regular physical activity can weaken the immune system. This makes it even harder for the immune system to ward off viruses, bacteria, and fungi, so they don’t make you sick.
Overcoming the Health Challenges of Menopause
Not all hope is lost when it comes to menopause and your immune system. In my “Boost Your Immune System at Menopause and Beyond” webinar, you will learn what you can do to fight off all those immune-related illnesses plaguing you ever since your body started menopause.
Feeling sick is not your new normal. Unlock the door to your immune system and make it work for you, so you can celebrate this stage of life healthy and happy.