Women in ever-increasing numbers are seeking alternatives to traditional health care—and for good reason. Imagine a woman between 35 and 60. A spare tire is developing around her middle, and bags have made unwelcome appearances beneath her eyes. Hot flashes come and go throughout the day, and night sweats interrupt her sleep. She is exhausted, can’t seem to concentrate, and alternates between depression and flying off the handle. Upset and anxious, she seeks help for the unpleasant physical and emotional changes that are crowding the good times out of her life. After a physical exam and a few questions, to her dismay her medical provider suggests that what she’s going through is perfectly normal-- menopause—and the disagreeable symptoms she is experiencing are part and parcel of getting older, which of course is not what she wants to hear.
So…How Do Hormones Tip out of Balance?
Let’s start with the basics. Hormones are essential to life. They are chemical
connectors to the brain, muscles, sex organs, and virtually every part of the
body. If you were suddenly without the intricate communication conducted
via hormones, you would quickly die. As it is, a missed message, a broken connection, or unclear communication from one hormone to another can cause
an imbalance, upsetting the whole shebang. As early as a woman’s mid-30s, a drop in estrogen or progesterone, or a break in the ovulation cycle, can cause the domino effect of mood instability, weight gain, skin problems, and many other changes. Despite the fact that just about every woman knows she will eventually experience menopause, these changes can come as unpleasant surprises. In addition diet, stress, sleep patterns, environmental toxins, and genetics can create a hormone chaos that will leave you feeling terrible for years to come.
Hormonal Highs and Lows
Something happens, whether it’s stress, diet, medications, or a genetic
predisposition, and your hormones either revert to a normal state or they
don’t. It depends on how healthy you are to begin with. The key is to take care
of yourself so you’re not as susceptible to inevitable hormone fluctuations. Even
though much of what happens in life is beyond your power, you can control
what you eat, how much you exercise, how many hours you sleep, and whether you use vitamin and herbal supplements. In menopause, (or early menopause) some women adjust to the chronically low levels and some (most) do not.
Be sure to catch my next article Women's Hormones--What do Female Sex Hormones do? as we take a closer look at each of the female sex hormones and what each one does in the body.
Nisha Jackson, PhD, MS, WHCNP, HHP
Nisha Jackson is one of the nation's leading bio-identical hormone and wellness experts. She is the host of the nationally syndicated radio program "Just Ask Nish", columnist, lecturer, and continues to be in high demand in her Southern Oregon-based specialty practices. With no hidden agendas Nish is relentless to uncover health solutions that work! If it's effective and good for you, it's good medicine!