Are You Prepared for Menopause?
I have vague memories of my mom going through menopause just as I was entering my teens…oh the sweet memories of doors slamming one moment and the next we were crying side-by-side while watching 90210 and Party of Five Together on Wednesday nights. (I’m pretty sure my brother and dad were conveniently golfing a lot that year…).
What is Peri-Menopause and Menopause?
The definition of menopause is ‘the permanent end of menstruation and fertility defined as occurring 12 months after your last period.’ So what my mom was going though was what would be considered peri-menopause or pre-menopause. Peri-menopause takes 6-10 years for the transition into menopause, starting at age 35! (I had no idea either). Peri-menopause is the mirror image of puberty; a hormonal shift. My mom and I bonded over our hormonal swings: mine ramping up and hers taking a swan dive into menopause. If you are like, me, coming off of postpartum hormonal shifts was a roller coaster of a ride…but possibly compounded by entering peri-menopause. Signs of weepiness, hot flashes and irregular periods are due to fluctuations in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Peri-menopausal women also have an increased susceptibility to depression, have difficulty sleeping, fat accumulating at their waistline as well as decreased libido. I know…awesome.
A Vicious Cycle
If all of that wasn’t enough, all of these symptoms are exacerbated by stress, poor diet and lack of exercise. Lifestyle and diet play a HUGE role in balancing your hormones and managing your symptoms. If you’re feeding your stress, fatigue and mood swings with caffeine, wine and comfort food, that will make your symptoms worse, making you more tired and stressed out and so it goes. In her article, “The New Midlife Crisis,” Ada Calhoun outlines why this vicious cycle is hitting women of Gen X even harder, “An awful lot of middle-aged women are furious and overwhelmed. What we don’t talk about enough is how the deck is stacked against them feeling any other way.” (I highly recommend reading this article- it was a real eye opener). For what it is worth, you’re not going crazy (and you’re not alone). Your hormones are shifting and the good news is, you can manage your symptoms and sail into menopause gracefully and confidently. You can prepare for menopause instead of menopause just happening to you.
Why Does it Matter?
I know what you’re thinking. You’re too young, you don’t have any real health issues now, so why not just wait to cross that bridge when you get there? The reason you must pay attention NOW before or during perimenopause is because that amazing hormone, estrogen plays a HUGE role in many aspects of health (over 400 to be exact). Whether you are experiencing the effects of perimenopause or not, menopause is going to happen. And when it does, your risk for bone loss, heart disease, pelvic organ prolapse and vaginal atrophy increase substantially. All of these are important factors that affect quality of life. The good news is, you can address all of these things now and being prepared to ask the right questions of your health care provider. Being proactive is not only about reducing hot flashes and mood swings, but ensuring those golden years are in fact, golden!
The last thing we need is to feel more overwhelmed than we already are. There is so much information out there. How do we know what applies to us, what is reputable and then how to we apply it into our daily lives? That’s what I am here for! Schedule a complimentary call to discuss with me what you’re struggling with, what is standing in your way to feeling your best and reaching your goals!