16 May 2013
OMG!!! Does Menopause Hell EVER End???
But Hilda Hot Flash and her evil stepsisters haven’t gotten the message. The fun rages on long after that date has come and gone.
What’s up with that??
The ability to cruise through menopause with nary a hot flash or mood swing relates to your balance of estrogen and progesterone. If the levels of these two hormones play nicely and drift down slowly, you’re likely to avoid hot flashes, night sweats and most of the other 34 symptoms of perimenopause.
Your experience can also depend on your body type. If you’re carrying extra weight, you’ll generally have fewer problems with hot flashes and night sweats because fat tissue makes estrogen. However, you may experience more problems with symptoms that relate to estrogen dominance such as mood swings, decreased sex drive, fatigue and insomnia.
There’s Good News and Bad
The good news is that many of these symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes and supplements. If your quality of life is being severely affected, hormone replacement is also an option.
Suffering is NOT required!
Now for the Bad News
Many of my readers ask if this will go on forever. For most women, hormone levels will even out and symptoms will go away…but it could take 5-10 years. For a small minority, symptoms CAN come and go well into old age, but this is not the norm. There’s no way to predict who gets what, although there is a genetic link between your experience and your mom’s. So, if you can, ask her about what she experienced.
Love up Your Lifestyle
The best place to start managing your symptoms is by making lifestyle changes. You don’t have to do them all at once. Take a baby step approach! Pick one to work on and move on to another as your new habits become part of what you do.
- Exercise (manages cortisol which improves estrogen/progesterone ratio)
- Lose weight (improves estrogen dominance)
- Avoid alcohol (alcohol increases estrogen production)
- Manage stress (decreases cortisol; cortisol can block progesterone receptors)
- Avoid xenoestrogens (improves estrogen dominance)
- Eat fiber (removes estrogen and improves symptoms of dominance)
Although it is impossible to tell when your menopause symptoms will end, you can make your journey easier by making small changes. Supplements can also be helpful. Chasteberry and DIM are two that can help restore hormone balance, while herbs such as black cohosh act like estrogen in the body, thus helping with symptoms of low estrogen like hot flashes and night sweats. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before trying these if you have other medical conditions or a history of breast or ovarian cancer.
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim parts of themselves they thought were gone forever.
Find out more about working with her at http://www.drannagarrett.com/work-with-me/.