Every month during our fertile years, your body prepares for a pregnancy by releasing an egg from one of your ovaries, something your healthy body will do about 400 times in your lifetime. For your ovaries to release an egg every month, they need to get the signal to do so from your brain; to be specific, your hypothalamus, a gland the size of an almond. Imagine this almond-size gland as the "conductor" and your female hormones as the "orchestra." When you provide your body and your brain with the nutrients they need to function, lower your stress level, and sleep at night, only then, can your sensitive "conductor" send the right signals to the "orchestra," and beautiful harmonious music will play. In other words, all the hormones will flow in a perfectly synchronized pattern and you will have monthly ovulation and a regular, normal period and feel healthy and content.
However, if your brain senses danger (stress) and starvation (lack of good nutrients), it will pull the plug on the ovaries, preventing ovulation in an effort to protect you as it is not ideal to get pregnant under such circumstances. Your body is actually protecting you from getting pregnant by doing so, but meanwhile, you might not feel that great.
From your mid-30s until the end of your 50s, your body undergoes many changes. Your female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone can fluctuate wildly, which affects the brain's neurotransmitters. The ovaries' hormone production ceases in menopause, typically at the onset, or middle, of your 50s. However, your body doesn't shut down the production overnight; the process takes more like 10 to 15 years. That is a long time to endure emotional and physical turmoil due to varying hormone levels! That is why it’s so important that you find solutions to lessen your symptoms and make yourself feel healthy and happy.
The more nutritionally balanced and calmer you are, the more you can keep your hormones and brain chemistry in check during your fertile years, and later in life you can delay and lessen the symptoms of menopause, which I talk about more in my book, The Hormone Balance Diet. These are the best foods for balancing your hormones.