Let’s talk hormones, ladies! (Gentlemen, pay attention as well because it may make sense of some things for you!)
So let me get this straight….not only do we women get to deal with hormones in our pre-pubescent years, but we also get to deal with them in crazy amounts during our childbearing years. Then, icing on the cake, is menopause! REALLY????? So, the men keep their levels and their drive, and ours declines in EVERY way, yet we are supposed to keep up???!!!! Even YEARS after our child-bearing years, we have to deal with cramps and mood swings. So I see how it is super fair that the icing on the female cake is menopause and all that comes with it!
In my early 40s, I had a partial hysterectomy due to a condition called adenomyosis. The surgeon kept ONE ovary intact, so it has been very difficult for me to determine if I am in menopause. My doctor assured me that I would know; however, I have not had hot flashes or mood swings or depression or ANY other signs. So when I turned 53, I decided to get my blood work checked. With one remaining ovary, I needed to find out my levels. No big surprise, my blood work showed I was definitely in menopause, I just had no idea! I mean, I’m old…it makes sense! So where do I go from here?
Hormone replacement therapy gets a bad rap because Big Pharma wants doctors to prescribe meds for all the side effects of menopause instead of tackling the real issue: balance. Symptoms of menopause can bring some big money to the pharmaceutical business…anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc. You see, if our hormones are level, our body is at peace. If our hormones are not at optimum performing level, of course it’s going to be out of whack! Just like any fine tuned engine, it needs balance and more importantly, all systems firing to GO!
Let’s look at the main players: Thyroid. Testosterone (yes ladies, this is oftentimes neglected and we NEED it). Progesterone. Estrogen.
There are some other things that are going to help the menopause situation! Just like with anything in our life, food and exercise are going to play an important role. We lose a substantial amount of muscle and bone density as we get older, so the metabolism starts slowing down at a rapid pace. Because of this, it is very important to incorporate some weight work into your daily activities. It doesn’t have to be heavy deadlifts, just some hand weights or a weighted vest will do the trick!
In talking to my naturopath about my situation, I was highly advised to continue intermittent fasting. When our body goes into autophagy (literally means self eating), it does wonders. It eats all of the bad cells and fat and other bad nonsense in our bodies! So pick a time at night where you are done eating for the day, then do not eat anything for 16, 17, 18 or more hours later. You pick your fasting window. I am a huge fan of intermittent fasting for every aspect of health. (side note: read The Obesity Code!)
That brings me to the night sweats. If you control your sodium and other things in your diet, and exert enough sweat during the day during a workout, your night sweats won’t exist.
I repeat…Hormone Replacement Therapy is not a bad thing. It can help with issues such as hair loss, fatigue, anxiety, bone health, metabolism, appetite, sleep, sexual issues and more. If you feel like you are suffering from wackadoo hormones and have had to start taking prescription meds for all of the side effects of menopause, you’re not doing your body any favors. There are many ways you can attack the leveling of hormones. I am choosing bio identical HRT, intermittent fasting, and other natural approaches. As with everything I put in and on my body, I research it extensively because it is MY body. If you have any questions or guidance in how I am handling this new chapter, I am happy to answer them!
Talk to your health care provider of choice and decide what works best for YOU. Remember, you’re not alone…We’ve got this, ladies!!