Ten symptoms that signal your body is reaching menopause...
Ten symptoms that signal your body is reaching menopause…
Perhaps I should rephrase the title… Ten symptoms that your body has been invaded by aliens, someone is injecting fog into your brain while sleeping, the dryer has shrunk your favorite jeans and why the he** does everyone keep turning the heat up in here?
I was a single mother much of my 40’s and spent some time “dating” on match.com. Some of these idiots (oopsie, I mean men) would include in their description of who they were looking for; sexy, fun, slender, to have a good time but “no meds” uuugggghhh……. okay, no problem, we can’t be on meds for depressions, anxiety, hot flashes, weight loss and insomnia, but it’s okay if you take Cialis and Viagra, get testosterone replacement, buy a sports car, a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a boat!!! H Y P O C R I T E S – they know nothing about women’s lives at THIS age………. b r e a t h e…. namaste.
Fantasy: Hey boys, 40 something female, fun, fit and pretty! I like to walk holding hands in the moonlight on the beach and nice dinners. I love to work out, I am successful, love to watch football, there are no empty, crusty, day-old green smoothie cups or extra yoga clothes and kid crap on the front seat of my cute car. I will pack your beer cooler before you head out to play golf with your buddies. I have a ravenous sex drive, and will make your friends ache with jealousy when I climb all over you with obnoxious PDA! Be sure to look at my pictures of me in a bikini at the pool in Vegas with my besties!
Realty: Hey, um, 40 something trying to get fit female with stretch marks from having kids that I am quite self-conscience about. I like to walk my dog early so I can leave the house with no makeup. My skin is starting to get a little crepe, and last night I woke up with a puddle of sweat on my chest. I wanted to just change my nightgown and crawl to the other (dry) side of the bed but there were two kids a dog and a cat occupying that space. I have no idea what I like to do for fun but I’ve taken 47 selfies at the pier to find one good picture that I felt good about putting on here hoping to find a nice guy and go on a nice date. I’ll update with more photos after another six weeks at Pilates with ten less pounds of fat positioned like a child’s pool ring around my waist. When we meet, I’ll try hard to not let you see how anxious I am really feeling, at least in the beginning.
I often joke there would be fewer divorces and road rage induced car accidents if more women knew about bioidentical hormone therapies! (Think Kathy Bates “I’m older and I have more insurance” smashing the young lady’s car who took her parking spot in Fried Green Tomatoes circa 1991). I heart that movie!!
1. Are you gaining weight around the mid-section?
Symptoms and complaints of hormone deficiencies
2. Are you newly prone to anxiety and/or panic attacks?
3. Are you having hot flashes?
4. Are you having night sweats?
5. Are you having trouble concentrating?
6. Are you nervous and/or irritable, finding it difficult to control your emotions?
7. Are you lacking energy for normal everyday tasks?
8. Is your skin losing its elasticity?
9. Are you having increased difficulty finding your keys or phone?
10. Are you suffering from a loss of libido?
If you are suffering from any or all of these symptoms, your body may no longer be producing an optimum amount of progesterone. Your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, pregnenolone, cortisol, thyroid, melatonin, DHEA and growth hormone all need to work in concert. Think of your hormones like instruments in an orchestra. When all the instruments (your sex hormones) are finely tuned and playing in concert, the sound is serene and lovely. Conversely, think of a room full of third-graders having their first music lesson.
Earlier this year CNN reported the potentially life threatening side effects of treating perimenopause and menopause symptoms with pharmaceutical (synthetic) hormone replacement therapies. The CNN report cited the use of pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy with an increase in osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
The American Heart Association wrote in June 2017 “A decline in the natural hormone estrogen may be a factor in heart disease increase among post-menopausal women. Estrogen is believed to have a positive effect on the inner layer of artery wall, helping to keep blood vessels flexible. That means they can relax and expand to accommodate blood flow.
OBGYN’s do a wonderful job during our child-bearing years, however their training to balance our hormones past child bearing is very limited. There are many women who are treated by their OBGYN for menopausal symptoms with birth control pills to control bleeding and restore regularity. An IUD that emits progestin or vaginal ablation to control bleeding is another option. Antidepressants to control moods. A multi-vitamin to help with overall health and an occasional check of your cholesterol.
Progestins are a synthetic version of the naturally occurring hormone progesterone. Commonly used in contraceptives and in hormone replacement therapy during menopause, progestins affect far more than the uterus. While intended to target the uterus, progestin therapy affects every major organ system including the cardiovascular system, the brain and the immune system. It is well documented that synthetic hormone replacement can increase the risk of breast cancer along with receptors that extend beyond the hypothalamus which regulates function of the reproductive system. Replacing progesterone with the synthetic progestin may pose some serious risk to function and cognition.
Progestins are not the same as Progesterone and act differently in our bodies.
Vaginal or endometrial ablation is a procedure where the thin layer of the uterus is destroyed, ablated to control heavy menstrual bleeding. Most common techniques involve heat to destroy the lining of the uterus. Radiofrequency is inserted into the uterus through the cervix. The tip expands a mesh like device sending radiofrequency energy into the lining. The energy and heat destroy the endometrial tissue and suction is applied to remove it. Freezing is done through a thin probe inserted through the cervix into the uterus. The tip freezes the uterine lining, using ultrasound to guide the procedure. Heated fluid is another technique using a hysteroscope. The fluid is heated and stays in the uterus for about ten minutes. The heat destroys the lining.
Although I haven’t had personal experience with uterine ablation, this makes me think of when I burn the roof of my mouth by chomping down on pizza that is too hot…..ouch!
There are risks with each of these techniques that include infection, bleeding, perforation of the device through the uterine wall or bowel. Some techniques include risks of burns to the vagina, vulva and bowel. Although rare, the fluid used to expand the uterus can be absorbed into the bloodstream. This can be serious.
The wonderful news is; these procedures are not your only options!
Optimization of hormones utilizing bioidentical hormones that mimic every organ system of your body’s natural production of estrogens, progesterone and testosterone are known protectors of your heart, along with your body’s ability to generate new healthy cells. Bioidentical hormones have a chemical and molecular structure that is identical to the hormones your body once produced naturally. Remember the symphony vs the third-grade class music lesson? BHRT can be your symphony experience.
The body reacts differently to synthetic hormones because they are made differently on a molecular level than what the body produces naturally. It is well documented that synthetic hormones used for a lengthy time may increase your risk of cancer and heart disease.
There are multiple scientific studies that back up the efficacy of bioidentical hormone therapies to replace depleted essential hormones and optimize your health. You wouldn’t go buy a flip phone today when you can buy an iPhone. Technology has come a long way. Medical science has advanced as well. If you feel like ripping your clothing off in public when a hot flash strikes, there is a good chance your progesterone and or estrogen levels are taking a nose dive. The more stressed you are, the higher your cortisol. Your cortisol can affect everything from weight to moods.
Isn’t it enough that we have careers, make babies, get back in shape after each baby, continue career, still assume the majority of household responsibilities and child rearing. Then…. once our kids are beginning to leave the nest or at least drive themselves to school, we are greeted with a new “change of life”……. PERIMENOPAUSE and MENOPAUSE…. And all the accoutrements that come along with this new stage in life! What I desperately want you to know is that perimenopause is not just a phase of annoying sweats, weight gain, mood swings, vaginal dryness, anxiety and aging. (Menopause refers to when a woman stops having periods every month, Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause, when our bodies begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone).
I personally experienced a laundry list of uncomfortable pre-menopausal symptoms in my mid-forty’s. I had the weight gain, the twenty-eight-day leaky faucet periods, anxiety, night sweats, and that not-so-pretty crepe skin! I was fortunate to first have a couple of friends who introduced me to some informative books. Sex, Lies and Menopause by T.S. Wiley and Ageless by Suzanne Somers. When I met my husband, Dr. Chris Campbell, he checked my hormone levels in comprehensive and detailed manner that I have never experienced. He spoke with me in detail about optimization of my hormones and the importance of providing my body with bioidentical hormones to support healthy cell growth. He recommended supplements based on quantitative information provided in the lab results. In about a week, I began to feel like “me” again. Better moods, better sleep, no more foggy brain and I began to lose weight. In about four months, to my surprise, my skin no longer looked crepe. It feels funny to say I look and feel better than I did ten or fifteen years ago because fifty-three is supposed look older and feel worse than thirty-eight or forty-three, but it is true. As women, we are so programmed to take care of others before we take care of ourselves. Now is a good time to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Take charge of your health, take charge of this time in your life. You can just “get through it” but please know, you do not have to suffer. Make informed decisions about your health.
Love + Lunges,