01 Jul 2015
The Answer to the #1 Question about Menopause
When I speak to groups of women, one of THE most common questions I get is, “when does this menopause hell end???” Many of them assume that when they pass their official menopause date (that’s a year after your last period, in case you’re unsure) that all of their symptoms will just disappear.
Unfortunately, the fun may rage on long after that menopause date has come and gone.
What’s up with that??
The ability to cruise through menopause with ease and grace (and without a fan) depends largely on your balance of estrogen and progesterone. If the levels of these 2 hormones drift down slowly in step with each other, you’re likely to avoid hot flashes and night sweats which are caused by abrupt drops in estrogen.
But the majority of us aren’t that lucky.
Your body type and race may make a difference in how you experience menopause. Overweight women generally have fewer problems with hot flashes and night sweats because fat tissue makes estrogen. However, they may experience more problems with symptoms that relate to estrogen dominance such as mood swings, decreased sex drive, fatigue and insomnia.
Underweight or average weight women are more likely to have issues with low estrogen (like hot flashes and night sweats). And a recent study showed that African-American women are more likely to be plagued with hot flashes longer…up to 14 years!
There’s Good News and Bad
The good news is that many of these symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes, supplements and modalities such as acupuncture. If your quality of life is being severely affected, hormone replacement is an option to consider unless you’ve had hormone sensitive cancer (breast, uterine).
Now for the Bad News
For most women, hormone levels will even out and symptoms will go away…but it could take a few 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 her journey.
Love up Your Lifestyle
You can’t control your genetic makeup, but there are many things you CAN do. The best place to start managing your symptoms is by making lifestyle changes. There’s no risk and little expense. 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.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Exercise (manages cortisol which improves estrogen/progesterone ratio)
- Lose weight (improves estrogen dominance)
- Avoid alcohol (alcohol increases estrogen production and increases cortisol)
- 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 you when your menopause symptoms will end, you can make your journey easier. Small changes can have a BIG impact. If you’re looking for support and answers to your questions, please come join me in the Hormone Harmony Club on Facebook. We’re talking solutions there 24/7 and we’d love to have you!
About Dr. Anna
Dr. Anna Garrett is a pharmacist and menopause expert who 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. But her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim pieces of themselves they thought were gone forever.
Dr. Anna offers a complimentary 30-minute Get Acquainted Call to anyone who’d like to learn more about working 1-1 with her. You can schedule that at your convenience by clicking here.
Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.