Get Me My Hormones….Now! #25

Ladies, this is for those of you experiencing the ups and downs of menopause, from peri to post from normal to unfocused and from fertile to crone. It’s a transition like no other, rife with landmines and lessons. It can be confusing and enlightening. It’s also a time when changes in hormones mean changes in the way your brain operates.

Some women are hit with insomnia, others depression. Most, however, experience a decrease in concentration and memory and a burning need to find the answer to, “what do I want to do with the rest of my life!”

Our bodies naturally adjust and change to each stage in our lives. It is the power of our womanhood. For bearing children, our wombs are made ready for growing a healthy baby. For nourishing a child, our bodies produce a perfectly balanced formula and for ourselves, we get an extra dose of energizing hormones to keep us going through the long nights. The innate wisdom of our bodies is natural and illuminating.

The menopausal transition is another hormonal shift that cycle’s throughout our life time. It provides a healthy advantage by stopping the monthly loss of iron, blood and protein when our bodies assimilate nutrients less efficiently. It is not the cause of disease or degeneration but is what Nature planned.

During our child bearing years our body needs to produce certain amounts of hormones to stimulate reproduction. Hormones are substances the body secretes to maintain proper function of specific organs and tissues. These substances are like messengers telling your body what to do. They can affect basic genetic material and stimulate cell growth and proliferation. They are extremely potent and important. Estrogen is a term used for any of three hormones naturally occurring in our bodies: estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Progesterone is the hormone we produce that complements estrogen in the reproductive cycle.

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Natural Menopause

Menopause that happens without any
intervention such as hysterectomy or chemical therapy

Perimenopause

The period of time,usually six years
before natural menopause occurs and up to 12 consecutive months without a
period.

Menopause

End of menstruation after 12
consecutive months without a period.

Post menopause

The year’s after menopause.

Estradiol

The most potent form of estrogen, more
dominant during the reproductive years.

Estrone

More abundant after menopause

Estriol

Highest when we are pregnant.  Is
produced mainly by the placenta.

What About the Men?
It is interesting to note that when men hit midlife they also see similar changes caused by aging. Wrinkles, grey hair, changing sex drive, a little extra tire or two, even the old memory blip all happen to our male counterpart, who isn’t losing any estrogen. In England a large study on mid life health symptoms showed little difference between men and women, except of course for hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Lifestyle Factors
When menopause is viewed from a cultural perspective we again see the lack of correlation between disease, degeneration and estrogen decline. Japanese women rarely experience hot flashes, due in part to their high intake of soy and phytoestrogens and Indian women who live simple, low-stress lives don’t seem to have any challenges with menopause. The transition is smooth and painless.

Ultimately, the factors that determine how you move through these stages of womanhood depend on your lifestyle prior to menopause. When the body has been in a healthy state it can easily adjust to the changing levels of hormones. If on the other hand your lifestyle has been less than savory, you may experience more menopausal challenges as your body tries to balance good health and less estrogen. Great motivation for encouraging our daughters to maintain good health throughout their lives.

The Joy of Renewal and Change
Does this mean that if you’re in the middle of perimenopause, there aren’t positive and natural things you can do to ease your passage? Of course not, change for the better is always a good thing. And better late than never works well here too.

The bottom line is that menopause is a natural process every woman experiences. It is a time of revelation, wisdom, struggle and choices. It is also a time to take positive action for your health. You can’t go back in time and start over but you can begin today to create a healthy lifestyle that ensures a long and vital life.

That new start may begin with Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy or BHRT. This form of natural therapy looks at your current levels of hormones and replaces lagging levels with plant based natural ones. Much safer than chemical hormone replacement this method works with your bodies existing levels.

The bonus with this type of therapy is that for many women, you get the brain back! That’s right, your concentration improves, your memory improves and your mood improves. Which, when you think about it, is a good thing!

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