You can stop giggling now.
Women are not really ever “complete beginners” to the menopause because by definition a woman embarks on that journey the day her first period begins. Nonetheless, the advent of genuine menopause does take many of us by surprise–we’ve all heard of the hot flashes and mood swings–but when that first heat wave hits, you ARE a total beginner navigating the wonderful world of menopause.
An interesting thing that’s happening as more women delay having children until they’re in their thirties is that in many happy households, menarche (the first period a teenage girl has) and menopause are happening simultaneously. In families with two or more teenage girls and a menopausal mom, it’s an even bigger party. Since hormones magically talk to each other, and coordinate cycles, we can say that the good news is that hell week only comes once a month, the bad news is that it’s “doubly” (or “triply”) dramatic.
For dads and brothers, these are trying times indeed. However, information on the how and why of menopause will help them understand what’s going on with your body. It will help them be more empathetic to the mood swings, forgetfulness, and the need for sweaters in the summer.
Menopause in Five Minutes–If Only
Females are born with a finite number of eggs, which are nested in the ovaries. The hormones estrogen (a three-hormone cocktail) and progesterone lie dormant until a girl reaches puberty. This is when the pituitary gland fires them up and they release an egg every few weeks for the next forty years or so. Remember when you got your first period, and all you could think was, “I have to go through this every month for FORTY years??” and you could hardly see beyond what color nail polish you were going to buy with next week’s allowance? Time does fly.
Women’s bodies are pre-programmed to stop producing estrogen and progesterone in their late forties or early fifties, and that’s when the fun starts.
As all good things must come to an end, so does the hormone production that not only makes you fertile but makes you look good for mating purposes (that’s just evolution). You know–the shiny hair, bright complexion, great posture, trim body. As your body stops the regular egg laying, so the benefits of those hormones grind to a halt. It’s the end of the menstrual road.
Your body has become addicted to the hormones it produces during childbearing years; it loves the smooth skin, how easy it is to shed pounds without much effort, and the strong bones that let it carry children (in utero and through preschool). When your body eases off the hormonal taps, you’re literally going through withdrawal and adjusting to a new hormonal normal. Then comes the day you realize that your previously smooth and supple body has betrayed you so completely. You’ve traded hot flashes and losing the car keys of perimenopause for the devil-may-care years post-menopause–and you too, get to be one of those majestic ladies who can get away with anything!
Don’t Go It Alone
If you’re in the midst of the menopause, it can seem like a lonely and overwhelming place to be. To be sure, there are plenty of online resources where you can reassure yourself that leaving the sink running is perfectly normal, but what you really need is a meno-coach. This is someone to help you through these transitional years with not only life experience, but with holistic remedies that will ease some of the symptoms that make you and everyone around you miserable.
Dr Allie recognizes that every woman experiences the menopause differently, and creates a treatment plan based on your symptoms. This includes holistic therapies–treatments that encompasses body, mind, and spirit–as well as Bio-Identical Replacement Therapy–BHRT. BHRT is a natural approach to replenishing some of the hormonal advantages your body loses during and after menopause, to alleviate some of your symptoms. The humble yam is the source for bio-identical hormones, although they do undergo a glorious lab transformation that makes their chemical structure absolutely identical to your natural hormones.
If the symptoms of the menopause are making you crazy, get your head out of the freezer and contact Dr .Allie; it’s a much better approach than building an igloo in the backyard.