Hormonal imbalances cause a whole host of unwelcome changes throughout the menopause. While the physical changes can have dramatic and often unexpected consequences, it is the cognitive effects of hormonal imbalance that can often prove the most disconcerting for women of a menopausal age.
This can take the form of anything from forgetfulness to fatigue – but there is an answer that naturally restores balance to your mind and body, without the concerning health risks of HRT, and that’s restorative medicine.
So what are the potential psychological effects of the menopause if left untreated?
Reduced levels of oestrogens circulating in the bloodstream can cause intense anxiety during the menopause. A lack of these hormones causes irregular production of serotonin and dopamine – the neurotransmitters that control your emotions. This might cause you to experience an anxiety attack, or a series of attacks in succession that can then lead to depression if left unchecked.
2. Mood swings
Mood swings are a fact of life for many, but can be greatly exacerbated by the hormonal imbalance that affects you during perimenopause and menopause. Even if triggered by something innocuous, the feeling is very real and can be debilitating. Again, this is caused by reduced oestrogens levels affecting neurotransmitters, but can also be worsened by other menopausal symptoms.
The debilitating feeling of fatigue is a sure sign of hormonal imbalance. During perimenopause and menopause, your energy levels may drop, making you feel weak and listless – like a light has been switched off. A whole range of hormones are associated with fatigue: progesterone and oestrogens control mood and sexual desire, while the relation of cortisol levels to Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can cause increased stress.
4. Foggy memory
You’ve probably heard of a ‘menopausal moment’, and while this falls some way short of a compassionate and supportive outlook, foggy memory is the reason this saying gained popularity. The signs can be subtle: you might start misplacing items, forgetting people’s birthdays or losing your train of thought. Whatever the signs, memory lapses are caused by a decline in oestrogens and the de-stabilisation of stress hormones.
Insomnia during the perimenopause and menopause is a vicious circle. Affecting women up to seven years before the menopause truly commences, insomnia is caused by hormonal imbalances – but sleep is the only process by which the hormones you need can be regenerated. Insomnia can have dramatic effects on daytime functionality, as well as raising the risk, in the long-term, of secondary health conditions such as heart disease.
How can it help?
Bioidentical Hormone Restorative Therapy not only helps you to regain your optimal hormonal composition, it also enables you to avoid the health risks associated with synthetic treatments.
Achieving this chemical balance helps to address all of the hormonal symptoms of the menopause, not just physical conditions like weight gain, hot flushes and a reduced immune system, but also cognitive faculties.
What are the benefits over conventional treatment?
Bioidentical hormones are an exact match for compounds found within the body and so can be fully metabolised, but synthetic hormones are an alien chemical make-up that cannot be read, fully understood, used and excreted by the body. A whole series of studies have found that synthetic HRT compounds create an unacceptable risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease, as well as failing to work as effectively as restorative medicine.
While the maximum length of treatment for conventional HRT is just five years as a result of these risks, bioidentical hormones can be used for life with no secondary side effects. Synthetic hormones are designed by drug companies as a one-size-fits-all solution, but in contrast, restorative medicine is tailored by specialists to each individual’s hormonal composition, helping to restore the real you.
Find out how you can use restorative medicine to re-discover your balance and avoid any loss of control over your head space.
There are a number of reasons I wanted to write my book, one was to share my story of the menopause, and the other was to share the information I found whilst researching and studying restorative medicine.
Women are suffering needlessly all the time when there is a viable, safe, and effective solution out there – The Menopause Cure. The overall goal of my book is to offer women that alternative, and to explain that there is no need to suffer in silence or be fobbed off by doctors saying, “It’s just the menopause.” I desperately wanted to share my knowledge and show women there was another way, a better way.
When I started going through the menopause, it brought changes I didn’t understand. Every day of the week there was a different problem: mood swings, lack of energy, can’t-cope syndrome, grumpy, a generally unhappy person. A personality change had occurred, and I really didn’t like myself anymore. I was tearing my hair out. Help!
However, I was determined that the menopause wouldn’t defeat me, wouldn’t stifle my career or break up my family. I decided that I had to make this inevitable destiny an enjoyable one. I set out to find the Menopause Cure.
I went to many doctors and gynaecologists to find a solution, but to no avail. All I got was a mixture of anger and ignorance. My anger and their ignorance. I was not getting the answers I wanted! This is when I decided to begin my indepth research into restorative medicine – finally I discovered something that would change my life forever. Something other than the ‘high risk’ chemical HRT that was continually being offered to me. What I discovered was a natural, no risk solution – Bioidentical Hormone Restorative Therapy (BHRT), and its leading proponent – Dr Dzugan.
Now my life, my hormones, and my energy are back to where they should be, and yours can be too. Women no longer need to put up with being told “It’s only the menopause, it’ll pass!” We can do something about it, so let’s do it! We can restore our hormones and get back the you that you once were! This was the best decision I ever made in my life.
Women should know all the facts about menopause and what it actually is. Our hormones are declining and we are aging, and there is something we can do about it! Turn back the clock, open all those doors that have been violently closed! Shout out to the World “I am coming out, and have nothing to be ashamed of! “I am a menopausal women and I am proud of it!” I am a menopausal woman, who restored her body and got her ‘mojo’ back! Yes, you heard right, ‘there ain’t no stopping me now’. You shouldn’t stop either.
Jill D Davey’s book The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health is out on the 6th October and available to buy on Amazon.com for £8.99
Describing a hot flush as a ‘sensation of warmth’ just doesn’t cut the mustard, when we know there are woman utterly blindsided by their first attack.
You say hot flash, we say hot flush!
The standard description of the British hot flush is a sudden feeling of feverish heat. In the United States they are more commonly known as a hot flash and described as temporary but recurring episodes of flushing with a sensation of warmth or heat.
What we can all agree on, is for the 75% of women affected during the perimenopause, they can be deeply unsettling, distressing and, on occasion, make life darn near impossible. Women experiencing an abrupt decline in oestrogens often suffer the worst.
So, fans at the ready, we’ve scoured forums and the blogosphere to share the most descriptive accounts of a hot flush on the web. If you are going through hell with hot flushes you may find a little comfort in knowing you are not alone.
And for the lucky ones… read on and be better prepared to help; turn the heating down, keep a spare ice pack at home (and at work) and cover for your girlfriends when they need you too!
We’ve got your back! #WomenRock
Darcey Steinke on wanting to kill the menopause
“Hot flashes are inner apocalypses, singeing the body and the brain. During my first volcanic night sweat, a chaotic force moved through me. Heat rose, busting through the top of the thermometer, and swept through my body like the special effect I’d once seen on the set of a horror movie. Flames spread through a wire and rose up encircling a cabin. It was horrible, but also exquisite. Finally, I thought, God was going to communicate with me physically. Like a biblical character, I felt overwhelmed, scared, and sublime.”
Read the full article, What Menopause Taught Me, on NYMag.com for a wonderfully raw account with a surprisingly uplifting conclusion.
Lesley Grant Timmins on threading a moving needle
“My first hot flush started with a chill, followed by a roaming band of heat that crawled up my legs to my back, all the way to my scalp. Soon I was drenched in sweat. Within the next few months the pattern took hold, repeating every half-hour to 45 minutes, interrupting every daytime activity and, worse, sleep.”
Read the full blog, Confessions of a hot flush queen, on Alive.com
Girlywhirly answering a plea for help on Mumsnet
“My flushes feel like the blast of heat you get when stepping into a hot sauna, except that the heat is from your inside! I don’t seem to break into a sweat though. The ‘heat’ lasts for about 30-40 secs and subsides. I know what you mean about the duvet! I push the duvet on and off and stick a leg out at the side. DH and I have only a 4.5 tog duvet all winter. I think my neck sweats most at night. In my case, I am interested to note that these ‘flushes’ disappear when a period is due, for a couple of weeks before and after, although this is only twice a year now (age 51).”
Read the full discussion, Please describe a hot flush to me, on Mumsnet.com
Skinny And Single on how the bitch turned
“The wonder of going from cold to roasting in an instant. The wonder of bleeding through 17 layers of cotton, two towels and a mattress. The wonder of my new beard. That’s cool though, people have a new beard fetish lately, I’m good to go. I guess I’m just old, I’m going grey and getting deep wrinkles. I have random pains and the occasional limp. But hey, when I was 23, I had problems too, I’d rather be here, any day. This shit’s a breeze, I got this. PS: I just want my armpits to dry.”
Read the blog, Rest In Peace To My Uterus, on Skinny And Single
Barbara Younger on hot flashes at school
“I could barely respond. I was standing there, in the middle of the circle of students–my favorite format for conducting class– trying to keep my “cool” and remember what I was doing there. I had felt a hot flash mounting up my legs from the very bottom of my feet, increasing temperature as it ascended, until it got to its highest tension in my face and head. It then erupted in visible sweat that flashed my face and made my neck and armpits moist. It was a power surge indeed, and my face was red as a tomato and my consciousness astral travelling. When I was able to finally come back to my senses, I sat down in front of twenty faces that looked at me in horror. And then I calmly said: “It’s a hot flash!”
Read the rest of the blog to find out how she got coped through the class in Friend For The Ride
We’d love to hear more personal descriptions of a hot flush. Have you read one that should be included on our list. Can you share your own experience of a hot flush with us?
September is Menopause Awareness month and we’d really like to get the message out – no more suffering alone. Sharing experiences and tips can and do help.
If you’d like to contribute please leave a comment below.
Dont’ let it get the better of you.
“I am coming out, and have nothing to be ashamed of! I am stepping out onto the stage of life and shouting it loud and clear, “I am a menopausal women and I am proud of it!” I Am a MENOPAUSAL WOMAN… who restored her body and got her ‘mojo’ back, in its entirety. I got it all back and I can cope with anything. Yes, you heard right, ‘There ain’t no stopping me now’.”
Why is it that we feel we have to hide this fact? Maybe it’s because we don’t feel as good about ourselves as we used to, we are less confident, maybe because most people believe the definition of menopause is the end, old, finished – not so!
Maybe it is because we are less able to cope, and no one should know this. That’s a big one! I am so desperately sad when I hear from women who say they can’t cope, that they can’t keep up with their male counterparts, or younger colleagues.
“How do professional women cope with the menopause? How do women manage their high-flying career when they are suddenly hit with hot flushes, foggy thinking and/or mood swings, together will sleeping disorders?”
This is the question I am constantly asked. This is the question I am going to answer for you!
What do you do if you are sitting in a meeting with a table full of men and suddenly a hot flush hits you? Do you perspire and suffer in agitated in silence, getting redder and redder, or do you excuse yourself telling your colleagues that nature has just presented you with something that is known as a ‘hot flush’ and you just need to step out and cool down a little.
No way. You hide it, you sit there and perspire, fidgeting in your seat. There’s no need for them to know that you are menopausal, that would just start the ball rolling. We do not have to suffer these embarrassing moments anymore, there is a solution. A safe solution.
What if you have to present that all important project that you’ve been working so hard on, and for so long, when you can’t remember your words. Not good when you need a high degree of intellectual control. This is a normal perimenopausal process, but needn’t be so debilitating .
We have a hormonal imbalance and our brain is rewiring. Who wants to lose their thinking power at 40 or 50. Who wants to let go of their experienced, efficient, sophisticate and more mature brain? We are at our peak, we are at the top of our career, why let go? We do not have to, there is a solution, a safe solution!
What if you are suddenly overcome with weepiness or even heart-felt sobbing, for no apparent reason, when you are walking through an office full of people. Your professional self-esteem just hit the floor, but it’s not your fault – your hormones are playing tricks on you; you have an imbalance.
Whoever would have thought that hormones could play such an critical role in the body and be such a powerful molecule? They literally make or break us. This is why menopause can break us, our body is suffering withdrawal symptoms, our hormone levels are in a decline, and are no longer at optimal. Our body desperately needs those precious hormones to enable it to function correctly, as we did before we entered menopause.
Sleep is so important to our health, without enough sleep we cannot function correctly, we become moody, angry, put on weight, are constantly fatigued, our energy levels drop, and in some case, we may even get depressed.
Without enough sleep our healing hormones cannot regenerate themselves, with insufficient sleep our hormones become imbalanced, with a hormonal imbalance we cannot sleep. How does that sound? It is a vicious cycle. It can work both ways! What we need is to regain balance. We need to restore our body.
Feeling lousy most of the time and having to hide it is not something women want but most of the time they do, either out of embarrassment, or out of fear of being seen as less competent. Would you ever go to HR to discuss this particular problem? Of course not! You’ve just put a black mark on yourself!
Is conventional HRT (synthetic hormone replacement therapy) an option?
In one word, NO!
HRT can help with hot flushes and night sweats, but the consequences (breast cancer, strokes and blood clots) far outweigh the benefits. The WHI study which finished early, in 2002, concluded that HRT did not protect against cardiovascular disease, strokes, cognitive loss, nor did it improve mood or sexual dissatisfaction. Do you consider this an option?
Is Bioidentical Hormones Restorative Therapy an option?
In one word, YES!
When you restore your body you restore yourself and every system in the body; mind, body and soul. Bioidentical hormones are life-giving hormones with no side-effects attached. With the use of restorative medicine you can glide through the menopause and onwards, to a new lease of life. There’ll be no more need to worry about your career.
Your brain will be sharp, quick-thinking and energetic – no more foggy moments. Hot flushes will be gone…forever! Your energy, lust for life and vitality will return to youthful levels – you’ll be better than your younger colleagues; you have far more experience and your brain is mature, remember, you can have it all? There’ll be no more crying or mood swings at inappropriate times – your professional-esteem will pick itself up off the floor. And you will sleep, blissful sleep.
And as an added bonus, you will lose weight and be able to keep it off.
A hormonal imbalance affects your everyday life and your career – it doesn’t have to. Restore your body! There is your answer. Don’t just take my word for it. Read up on the importance of your hormones here.
What to expect from perimenopause but more importantly, what you DO NOT have to accept about it!
Menopause is a difficult stage for almost all women, things don’t just take a ‘pause’ they change. The way I look at it is, menopause is the ‘change’ but perimenopause is the ‘pause’. ‘Pause’ because in perimenopause female hormones drop drastically, so the body then has to take a pause to try and adjust itself to these lower or declining levels of hormones. This, for instance, is why we get hot flushes. Hot flushes only last as long as it takes for the body to adapt to these changes in hormone levels. Once the body adapts itself, it begins to change, it has to change, as it no longer has sufficient fuel (hormones) needed to stay healthy, strong and vital, and the person you once were. In fact, this is when we begin our descent into ageing and its related illnesses – hormones protect us.
It is not always easy to tell if you are experiencing perimenopause, and in fact, some women believe it to be impossible, convincing themselves they are too young. I understand totally, but the sooner you listen to your body the better. So many women live with and suffer from symptoms of perimenopause for years, some for as long as 15, before they seek the correct treatment. Perimenopause can begin about 10 to 5 years before menopause, so you could start noticing symptoms as early as your late 30’s, which can greatly disrupt your life, both at work and at play.
You wake up one morning with a feeling of despair, but don’t know why. You are moody, irritable, and you definitely do not feel as good as you used to – your energy levels have dropped, your positive thinking is hovering on the negative side, and sex drive, it just faded away without you realising (but perhaps your husband or partner did!). Your beloved family are stepping around you carefully so as not to crush the eggshells. You’re tired all the time but just don’t seem to be able to get enough sleep; in fact, you can’t sleep. You gain weight, something you never had to deal with before. You ate like a horse at one time with no problem. But not now. And it seems like you are living in a constant state of PMS, and that’s not far from the truth. Your hormones are playing tricks, you have an imbalance, just like before a period, but only this time they are not going to get any better. Welcome, benvenute, bienvenida, bienvenue, willkommen to my world, to perimenopause, to menopause. It happens to every woman, and is apparently, something that cannot be avoided.
But the wonderful thing now is, we no longer have to face these life-disrupting events. We don’t have to take the menopause lying down, have no energy, face depression, fade away into the background, or be left with a feeling of hopelessness, of where to go, and how to resolve it. Neither do we have to face all the age-related diseases that go with it. We have restorative medicine! When you restore your hormones, you restore your health, your life, you restore you, and you obtain longevity. It’s as simple as that!
To your health!
Don’t let the perimenopause take your edge!
I often hear from women saying that they feel anxious, sad, depressed, or that they have lost something deep down inside, something emotional, something almost heart-rending; is it that they have lost themselves? Perhaps they have lost their positive outlook on life, sharp-thinking, memory, focus, sex drive. Perhaps they feel they can’t cope as well as they once did, or maybe it’s that inevitable happening of gradually blending into the background and becoming invisible, that has such an impact on their lives.
I’ve been there, I felt it. Initially I didn’t accept it – that I was going through perimenopause, that it was happening to me too – ‘impossible’ was the word that was imprinted on my brain! I preferred to put my head in the sand and attempted to power through it as usual, for as long as I could. The perimenopause took my edge away, it threw me into a world I did not recognise. So how did I conquer it? I started researching and educating myself on what happens to and within the body during menopause and the significance of hormones during that phase, and the huge impact they have on a women’s emotions and physical health, as they decline.
According to the mainstream media, menopause is all about those hot flushes, otherwise known as flashes, that rise to an all time high just when you don’t want them to. However, it’s also very common for women to feel irritable, anxious, tense and utterly exhausted long before hot flushes take over their body. If you are in your late 30s, or early 40s or 50s and experiencing any of the following, it’s not you, it’s your hormones! You have an imbalance.
A decline in female hormones during perimenopause greatly affects the way we think, behave and react, and are responsible for changes in mood; whether we are happy, sad or even depressed.
1. Anxious or feeling you can’t cope
Fluctuating hormone levels in perimenopause can often have a negative effect on emotions. We all understand the effect hormonal changes have on our reproductive system, but fluctuating hormones levels also greatly effect our brain. Quite simply, a change in hormone levels influence much more than just our reproductive system, they affect the production of our mood monitoring chemicals (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin (the feel-good neurotransmitter), GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and dopamine.
2. Feeling sad and tired
As well as waking up drenched in sweat you might also feel sad and tired. It’s frustrating that most of the lifestyle advice recommended to women today, experiencing these symptoms, is to get more sleep. Seems easy! When hormones are fluctuating and therefore imbalanced, it is almost impossible to sleep, when we can’t sleep hormones will never be balanced – it is a vicious cycle. Chronic insomnia is one of the most debilitating symptoms of perimenopause and puts the body under an extreme amount of stress. The fluctuation of the sex hormones oestrogens and progesterone, at this time, and the significant decline in DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) cause the stress hormone cortisol, to become dominant, which makes if very difficult for you to get a peaceful, uninterrupted sleep, as cortisol is partially in charge of sleep/wake patterns.
3. Temper tantrums
Many perimenopausal women feel they are in a never ending state of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Once again, this is because of fluctuating hormone levels. The ovaries produce oestrogens from about the age of twelve, in perimenopause our ovaries are incapable of balancing these two female hormones and maintaining the correct ratios that are so desperately needed. Wildly fluctuating oestrogens together with low progesterone may lead to more frequent and erratic mood swings and temper tantrums that you truly don’t understand, as well as migraines. If you are having more mood swings and can’t understand why, you may well be entering perimenopause.
4. Everyone walking round you on eggshells?
Feel like nothing makes sense anymore? One minute you are on a high, the next minute you are on a huge low that has you crying for no apparent reason – maybe someone accidentally pushed past you on the street, or said, ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’, and there you go, floods of tears. “Doesn’t make sense, never used to be like that! It’s your hormones. Your ratios are out, the two female hormones that tango together become confused. Who is leading who? Your ovaries are failing you and your hormones are abandoning you, you are suffering withdrawal symptoms.You do not have to cry anymore or expect the people around you to walk on eggshells, perimenopause can be positive event, if you restore your body and balance your hormones.
What can you do?
These emotional changes are an expected part of menopause but are something we no longer have to accept. By understanding hormonal health you can regain control of your life, and make this inevitable passage so much better. Restorative medicine is your answer. To find out more read Jill’s book, The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health.