Before I get absolutely lambasted by a large proportion of menopausal women out there , please let me explain…..
I am 44 and my periods stopped rather suddenly about 7 months ago (up until then all had been as regular as clockwork). And before you ask – no there is no chance I can be pregnant! Added to this I was getting night sweats and was incredibly thirsty all the time. As I am aware that at this age things can start to go awry with your hormones – I let this drift for about 4 months. At the back of my mind I knew that as well as peri menopausal symptoms, what I was experiencing can be an indication of some other rather nasty diseases. Ironic I know as I pride myself on looking at the whole patient in my own practice, not just the symptoms.
So I nipped off to the GP for some blood tests – he was relatively sympathetic although he did feel that 44 was not too young to be menopausal. He ordered a blood test for FBC, Thyroid, Diabetes and cholesterol as well as some hormone markers. When I got the letter to say he wanted to see me for the results, I was understandably worried. Much to my relief everything was within normal range except the FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels – these where 3 times that of a menopausal woman. When I got home, I spent hours mulling over exactly how I felt about this. When I really delved deep and examined not only what I thought but how my body was feeling I came across some surprising positives:
Obviously this means that I can no longer have children – not a problem as that was off the table anyway. Although this has made me realise that I was fortunate to have started my family relatively early. If I had waited until my late 30s – would I have struggled to fall pregnant as unbeknown to me, my fertility was declining earlier than I would have expected? A topic perhaps for another blog?
My skin looks better than it has in years! I had always lamented the fact that I had not grown out of my teenage spots but obviously the change in hormone levels which accompanies this stage of menopause suits me and my skin.
I have more energy than since before having children. This surprised me as I would have thought that with the disrupted sleep and hot flushes, this would have got worse however I have more energy and motivation than before – my house even seems easier to clean.
I must add that I am now more careful with what I eat. I have dramatically reduced my intake of processed foods: in particular carbohydrates are no longer on the menu! An important step in dealing with any hormonal changes is getting the balanced nutrition necessary to facilitate metabolism and synthesis of hormones.
Of course there are times where I struggle with the hot flushes, disrupted sleep and snoring. Well to be fair, the snoring affects my darling husband more than me. But with a little forethought the hot flushes are manageable – note to self – “Don`t take the tube in rush hour without making sure you can strip off layers to practically your underwear at a moments notice! ”
My kids have a good laugh at my expense when I forget words and I am unable to give them quite simple instructions! But now that I know I am not suffering from early onset Alzheimers – I often have a good chuckle as well.
I do think that with all this heating and sweating, it should be easier to lose weight but Mother Nature has had the last laugh again. On the contrary it is even more important to not rest on your laurels. This is the perfect reason to take up some form of weight bearing exercise to protect against osteoporosis.
I am not a fool I realise this may be a happy temporary blip in my hormonal journey. Until you have been period free for at least a year – things can change. But for the moment I am taking it one day at a time!
If you would like help with your hormonal journey please feel free to contact me.