Are you noticing that you don’t quite feel like yourself anymore? Maybe you are feeling more anxious or depressed. Or maybe you just feel kind of flat and unmotivated – you have to push yourself to do the stuff that you really have to do, but the other things (the things you used to really enjoy!) just don’t get done. Exercise often falls into this category. But even if you are forcing yourself to walk or go to the gym, it can seem next to impossible to lose weight (especially that darn belly fat!).
You may be waking at 2am and 4am, and then having a hard time dragging yourself out of bed in the morning, or having a crash in energy in the afternoon. You may have brain fog, or forget things, like why you walked in the room or where you left your keys. Maybe you struggle to find that word you want. You may even secretly wonder whether these are the first signs of impending Alzheimers!
You may have already complained to your doctor and been handed a prescription for a sleeping pill or anti-depressant, when the real problem may be your hormones!
Hormones affect MANY things!
We all go through hormonal changes with age, and hormones affect MANY functions in your body!
Hormones affect your:
They are important for the health of your:
- Urinary tract
- Vaginal lining
The interplay between your various hormones is complex and is affected by many factors that are in your control. Your nutrition, stress, sleep, exercise, and general outlook on life all have an impact. The good news is with some lifestyle changes you may find that you feel much better very quickly.
Hormone replacement is an option
Some women may feel better with hormone replacement. Since we are all very unique, measuring your hormone levels to learn about your unique hormone pattern is an important first step. You may be deficient in estrogen and progesterone. Your next-door neighbor may have too much cortisol and not enough testosterone.
What are bio-identical hormones?
Remember that synthetic hormones are not a match to the hormones your body naturally produces. They are not likely to have exactly the same effects as hormones that ARE an exact match. Hormones that are an exact match are called bio-identical hormones.
If you do elect to start on bio-identical hormones, watch for symptoms that may indicate that the dosage is not quite right. Some symptoms of estrogen excess, for example, can include breast tenderness and fluid retention. It could mean that the dose of estrogen was too high for you (we are all very unique and respond differently to the hormones) or it could mean that the balance between estrogen and progesterone is not quite right. A simple dosage adjustment should do the trick and resolve your symptoms quickly. Hormone replacement should help you feel normal again—there should not be any negative symptoms if dosed appropriately.
If you want to learn more, you can check out my book which is available here.
Don’t guess – test!
Once you have been on your treatment for a few months, your hormone levels should be retested. The type of test chosen (saliva, blood, or urine testing) will depend on the form of hormone replacement you are using (topical cream, patches, pills, or pellets, for example).
Tips for best results….
But what if your hormones are balanced and you still don’t feel your best? Remember that hormone replacement is not a magic pill. You will need to do your part to make sure you are taking care of yourself – eating healthy foods, managing your stress, getting 8 hours of sleep, drinking enough water, and exercising regularly will all help you get the best results from your hormone replacement.
There are also underlying health factors that can diminish the results you get from your hormone replacement. In fact, these factors may be the reason that you are having hormone problems in the first place! Some examples of hormone-disrupting health issues included;
- Hidden food sensitivities
- exposure to toxins
- chronic inflammation
- digestive problems (like constipation and IBS)
- nutritional deficiencies
- chronic stress – this is the most common factor that we see.
Addressing all these issues (treating you in a holistic way, and not only focusing on your hormones) is the best way to get you back to feeling great!
You deserve to feel great!
You don’t have to put up with feeling exhausted, bloated, foggy brained, or irritable. If you are told by your doctor that you are “normal”, but you KNOW that you don’t feel well, don’t give up! Find a doctor who can help you, because you deserve to LOVE the way you feel.
Best wishes on your journey to wellness.
Deborah Matthew MD