What if hormones and menopause don’t have to be the dreaded duo? What if they could be a dynamic duo like Batman and Robin, or even better, DynaWoman and Wondergirl? Hormones and menopause get a bad rap because the symptoms of hormone imbalance can be inconvenient, if not downright debilitating. On the other hand, hormones and a healthy lifestyle can be the answer to settling those symptoms so you can make it through the transition.
Perhaps the most challenging part of menopause and hormone change is that, often, women aren’t taught what to expect from menopause or from hormonal changes.
In addition, they don’t always know what’s going on in their bodies during the transition between being a fertile female and being a wise woman.
Moreover, for most women, if they have any information or expectations at all, the word “menopause” is viewed in a negative or scary way.
That goes a long way to explaining why the idea of hormones and menopause becomes something to dread as you age. And the transition becomes scary – whether the symptoms have come upon you suddenly or steadily over time.
Let’s look at some myths about menopause and see if we can transform the dreaded duo of hormones and menopause into a dynamic duo that’s less scary!
Menopausal Myth: One Day You Just Stop Bleeding and That’s It
Menopause doesn’t just happen overnight. There are actually three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause.
Perimenopause can start as early as your late 30s and last up to 13 years. Doctors diagnose the onset of perimenopause by looking at your symptoms and lab results. Here’s the story of perimenopause and hormones and which hormones cause menopause!
Your ovaries start functioning erratically. This affects your estrogen, FSH, and progesterone levels. Estrogen and progesterone levels will drop, and your FSH levels will react by spiking as they try to get your body to release eggs that may or may not be there.
Hormones are dependent on each other, so your sex hormones aren’t the only hormones that get out of whack when your ovaries slow down or stop producing estrogen and progesterone. Other hormones like cortisol, insulin, and testosterone start changing too.
Your body’s ultimate goal is to stop producing estrogen in your ovaries. But, unfortunately, the decrease is not steady. Many refer to perimenopause as a hormone roller coaster because sometimes your body produces plenty of estrogen, then it produces little estrogen, then it’s back to producing more estrogen, and on and on.
This unpredictable cycle can go on for years.
This is also why you may stop bleeding for a few months, and then one day, you start your period again.
During this time of perimenopause, the most common symptoms are
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- shorter cycles
- irregular cycles
- night sweats
- hot flashes
- sleep disturbances
- vaginal dryness
- mood swings
- brain fog
- memory problems
- sore breasts
- weight gain
- urinary incontinence
- low libido
However, you could experience all of these symptoms, a few of these symptoms or none of these symptoms during your transition. Their intensity can range from 0-10, with 0 being nothing and 10 being impossible to deal with.
So we can now bust that myth that hormones and menopause conspire together, and it’s a case of all at once and done!
Luckily there are plenty of medical and non-medical options that can help support you while you’re experiencing these symptoms. And the best news is that your symptoms won’t last forever!
Myth: Menopause is the End of the Road
First off, despite the perennial public linking of menopause and hormones, menopause is only a marker. One day! So here’s how it really happens:
Medical experts use the menopause “marker” to determine that you’ve become infertile. This is important because until you hit menopause, you need to continue to use contraception if you don’t want to conceive a “late in life” baby.
Menopause therefore officially occurs on the day that you have not had a period for an entire year (365 days). If you had even one period in the last year, that counts. You have to start the count over each time you have a period. Eventually, you will hit 365 days, and that day you will be in menopause.
And although you may not notice any changes, the next day, you will technically be in post-menopause! It’s not quite fair to call menopause and hormones “the dreaded duo” on account of one day, is it?
Besides, although post-menopause may be the end of your child-bearing years, it’s not the end of your life or your sex life. The good news here is that sex hormone production in your ovaries has finally sputtered out, which means that your hormone levels will remain constant. The symptoms you experienced during perimenopause may become milder or go away completely.
Post-menopause lasts for the rest of your life:
- Your hormone levels will remain low.
- Your periods will be over.
- You can’t become pregnant because your ovaries no longer release eggs.
Myth: Everyone Goes Through Menopause at the Same Age
If only that were true! Then you could make plans! Unfortunately, there’s not an age at which women automatically go into post-menopause. On average, women go through menopause around 51 years of age, but that’s just an average.
Myth: There’s Nothing You Can Do to Help Yourself Through This Transition.
Hormones and menopause may have seemed like a dreaded duo as you approached perimenopause. But the truth is that perimenopause and post-menopause don’t have to be downers. Yes, your life will change, and you’ll have to make some adjustments and adapt your lifestyle choices if they aren’t already healthy ones. But you can still live a happy, full, energetic, and sexy life!
Moreover, hormones themselves have never been your enemy – they’re super important in the body – and they don’t have to become your enemy now. You can actually use them to make your transition easier by receiving bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
BHRT treatments replace the hormones that are now missing from your system, bringing hormone levels back to their optimal levels. BHRT can help relieve many of the symptoms associated with perimenopause and post-menopause.
Other approaches like meditation, yoga, relaxation, exercise, diet, enough sleep, and support from family and friends can also reduce symptom strength.
If you have particularly challenging or debilitating symptoms, a hormone specialist can create a treatment plan the includes both non-medical and medical solutions to get your life back on track.
Are You Ready to Turn Your Hormones and Menopause Into a Dynamic Duo?
You’re the true expert in your own body – you know when something is wrong, even if your previous healthcare providers have told you you’re fine. Hormone imbalance symptoms are much more common in women of all ages than most people realize.
You’re not alone, and there’s help on the way. Call Nava Center today to get started and get back to feeling your 100%.