Managing Menopause at Work

95% of women over the age of 55 are in menopause.  The average American woman works until the age of 66.  That means that a huge section of the workforce could be affected and struggling with the symptoms of menopause.  

Although there are currently no fixed laws within the US that directly relate to menopause, but women do have protection in terms of age discrimination and gender bias.  Human Resource departments are often very willing to help with simple accommodations that can make things better.    

How can menopause affect work performance? 

Menopause is more than cessation of menstruation.  Although effects vary, most women experience some symptoms which last on average up to four years. The most common symptoms that could interfere with a woman’s working life include difficulty sleeping, fatigue and joint/muscle pain.  Menopausal women may find that their concentration and mood are affected too. Anxiety, memory problems and irritability can wax and wane.  

These can impact focus, alertness, the ability to perform manual tasks and the ability to manage stressful moments with colleagues or customers. 

75% of menopausal women experience hot flashes.  The experience is like an intense feeling of heat spreading throughout the body; it can lead to sweating and skin redness. Working in a warm or stuffy office may exacerbate these symptoms. 

Other conditions linked to the menopause include heart palpitations, urinary tract infections and even increased risk from other, more serious conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease. For many women, menopause just isn’t pleasant and can make work more of a challenge. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms, what can you do? 

While it may feel strange talking to your employer about your issues, most are understanding.  Don’t be afraid to talk with your employer or the Human Resources department and make requests based on what you feel able to manage.  

For your part, maintaining a healthy lifestyle outside of work can help.  Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals may help alleviate symptoms of fatigue; protein sources from grass fed meat, wild fatty fish, pasture raised poultry and eggs, healthy fats, lots of green veggies and minimizing carbohydrates can stabilize blood sugar and help improve energy. 

Exercise and meditation can improve mood and help ease stress and anxiety.  There are numerous meditation apps like "Calm" that make it possible for some quick stress relief that you can do during a work break. Even five minutes of slow deep belly breathing will activate the parasympathetic nervous system and put you in the rest and digest mode. Where there is a will there is a way, even in the workplace.

How Yoga Breathing Can Ease Hot Flashes

Yoga is an ancient practice, developed in India thousands of years ago. It is a powerful and effective way of maintaining health, wellness and a connection to your body.  

Yogic wisdom can help facilitate your passage through perimenopause, menopause and beyond. Not only is Yoga a form of exercise but it is also a meditative practice that helps you develop peace with and within yourself.  

For women who need support accepting the changes that menopause brings, Yoga postures and Yoga breathing can help a woman foster a healthy relationship with herself.  

The practice of Yoga has two parts:  

  1. Structured breathing 
  1. Structured postures/poses.  

Postures are held for a particular length of time that is measured in breaths.  

The beauty of Yoga is that it can be enjoyed at virtually any age and by any physical ability. Instructors are versed at creating adaptations so all can experience the benefits that Yoga has to offer.   

Yogic Breathing   

This form of breathing is deep and full. You experience the fullness of the chest expansion as you inhale and the depth of release as the abdomen and diaphragm push air out of the lungs on the exhale.    

In a 1992 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers experimented with paced Yoga breathing to reduce hot flashes. Thirty-three women who were experiencing frequent hot flashes tried this technique and reported a significant reduction in the frequency of hot flashes.  

Try the following as a hot flash is coming on: 

  1. Slow your breathing to a rate of about one breath every 10 seconds.  
  1. It helps to count slowly from 1 to 5 for each inhalation and from 1 to 5 for each exhalation.  
  1. As you slow down your breathing, you may feel your hot flash release! 

Rhythmic, deep breathing like this also calms the central nervous system, ease the mind and can help release emotions. Mood swings and irritability can be tempered by this type of breathing as well.   

4 Surprising Symptoms of Menopause

If you’re like many, when you think about menopause, you think of hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and weight gain… right? 

Here are 5 Surprising Symptoms of Menopause that you may not know: 

#1 Dental Issues 

Talk with your dentist about how menopause is impacting your oral health.  Often, they have solutions that are easy to implement and will save you from years of discomfort. 

#2 Bloating and Digestive Issues 

Consult with a Health Coach or Nutritionist to discuss ways to shift your eating habits as well as what foods to focus on to support your health.   

#3 Body Odor 

Hormonal changes can be a beast when it comes to body odor. 

#4 Dizziness 

Dizziness may be a sign of more serious health concerns, but it can be due to menopause. 

Visit with your doctor to determine if your dizziness is related to menopause or something that requires further investigation.

3 Herbs To Ease The Symptoms of Menopause

My three favorite herbs to support and ease menopausal symptoms are:

Women and Stress

It’s true that anyone can experience stress, but women are at a higher risk for having more of it.  Stress can come from many sources such as work, school, home life, parenting, health, finances, and so much more. Women are most likely to multi-task and be the bedrock of their family. I count myself in on being a multi-tasker. It’s nothing new for me to be running two loads of laundry while roasting a chicken in the oven. I used to do three things at once and now I’ve cut back to doing two things so that’s progress for me. It's been my observation that women in general have more responsibilities than their partners when it comes to family life, so it's not wonder we need a good self care routine. Many years ago, before I was married with a family of my own, I had a client with a demanding career, a husband and baby who used to say that she could use a wife. Not for any other reason other than to delegate someone else to take care of all the mundane chores and free up more time. I couldn't relate then when I was single, but I understand now!

You may think you know what it feels like to be stressed out, but many women only notice they are out of alignment when it starts to truly affect other areas of their life.  Stress comes in many forms, and you may be experiencing it nearly every day without even realizing. By understanding the signs, you have a better chance at catching it early on and taking health supportive actions.  

Several signs you may be under stress: 

Complications and Side Effects 

There are quite a few ways stress can affect you, both mentally and physically. This doesn’t even begin to cover the fact that stress can lead to problems at home, including finances, work, and with your family or friends. Aside from those complications, it also affects you emotionally and mentally. You might have heightened anxiety, more frequent panic attacks, and severe depression. Stress also increases the risk for many physical ailments, including headaches and migraines, muscle tension, digestive issues, high blood pressure, stroke, infections, backache, eating disorders, skin problems, bowel disorders, and many others.  

What to do About it 

As you can see, stress can do a number on your entire life. As soon as possible, look for healthy and productive ways to give yourself relief in the form of self-care. What will work for you might vary based on the source of stress.  One day it could be writing in a journal, and the next taking a yoga class or going for a run. Choose healthy activities that take your mind off of your concerns, even if it’s just having tea with friends or watching a raunchy comedy with your family. Hearty laughter is one of life’s best forms of medicine. Make it a point to do it more often 😊  

What You Need to Know About Menopause

As women age, they go through various life phases:  There’s the teen years, childbearing years, and then menopause. During menopause, you can no longer get pregnant and will no longer have a menstrual cycle. When I was in my teens up to my thirties, menopause seemed so foreign to me. I never gave it a single thought until I was in my late forties. That’s when I wanted to learn more of what to expect and what tools would help me have a healthy transition into this phase of life.   

Symptoms of Menopause 

Menopause can sneak up on you, where you don’t realize what’s happening until you see your doctor about odd physical or mental symptoms. Some women do get perimenopause first, where you experience some menopause symptoms prior to actually having menopause. This is actually a good thing because you have this for about a year before menopause.  You then have plenty of time to adjust to the changes in your body. That’s what happened to me. At around age forty-eight, my periods were heavier, and would occasionally skip a month or two. At fifty, I began to have hot flashes that lasted a several minutes. It did feel strange and the fact that it could happen at any moment and anywhere made me feel anxious. One time I was at work and with a client when I felt a sense of heat rise up into my head. I just knew that my face was red and quickly excused myself. As I opened the bathroom door, I walked past the mirrors and saw blotches of red on my neck, and face. It was beyond blushing. I waited out the hot flash which was about three to five minutes. I wondered if anyone noticed and what they were thinking. I was relieved my client didn’t say anything. If someone did ask, I could have said, “I’m a hot mess,” and laugh it off. It was kind of the truth at the moment.  

Symptoms can vary. Some women have severe hot flashes accompanied by sweating, while other women don’t have them at all. With a decrease in estrogen, the ability to regulate insulin becomes more important. Eating high sugar foods that trigger an insulin spike are associated with more hot flashes, so it’s in your best interest to decrease or eliminate processed carbohydrates like wheat-based breads, pastas, sweets, soda, candy, fruit juices, and increase your proteins and healthy fats.  

Aside from the hot flashes, you won’t have any more periods. PMS symptoms will be different than they were before. You might have a little weight gain, especially around your midsection. You may also have vaginal dryness, as a result of the decreased hormone levels in your body. While you can no longer get pregnant naturally, you may still be able to carry a baby through in-vitro fertilization. 

When You Will Go Through it?

You can go through menopause at different ages, but the majority of women experience it between 45 and 55. Some women have it much younger, starting with perimenopause first. Other women luck out and last until 60 or older before going through menopause. The average age for experiencing early stages of menopause is about 51 years of age. I was 51 when my periods completely stopped. If you haven’t had a menstrual cycle for two years, you’re in menopause. It takes a while for your body to adjust fully to menopause, and if you’re having a hard time, I recommend an integrative M.D as they are well versed in holistic options for treatment protocols. They also have a greater knowledge of nutrition, herbs and supplements compared to a typical western trained M.D whose background in nutrition is very little.  

Potential Complications 

While menopause is completely normal and something most women will go through, there can be issues that may affect some percentage of women.  For example, you might experience a steep decline in your sexual interest due to vaginal dryness and changes in your mood and physical health.  This typically improves over time as the body adjusts to the hormonal changes. However, if you see no improvement, then, as I mentioned, seek out an experienced integrative M.D. who specializes in women’s health to do a full panel hormone test.  

There’s the potential risk for medical conditions like osteoporosis when you go through menopause, but there is a caveat to this. I’m always on the lookout for solid science - based research that disputes or challenges the conventional ideas of mainstream medicine. Yes, there is absolutely a place for medical intervention in certain situations where it is warranted, but it often comes with side effects with long term use. Over the last century, medicine has moved away from its origins of being plant and food based to being chemical and mechanized. In other words, there’s less trust and belief that our bodies have a natural intelligence to bring about homeostasis when provided with the right substances from nature and correct life style changes.  

In the article, “Reversing Osteoporosis With Hormone Balance,” on Hormones and Balance (dot com), Magdalena Wszelaki, in her blog says, “age isn’t even the primary risk factor for osteoporosis – it can be a hormone imbalance and poor nutrient absorption. She goes on to say, “Promoting hormone balance inside our bodies should be the first step in preventing osteoporosis. Our body thrives on homeostasis. When one simple hormone or nutrient is imbalanced that sends a trickle-down reaction throughout our whole body.” 

*1 In a letter to the editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), published in 2005, a British researcher Ellen C.G. Grant MD stated: “Contrary to popular belief, the evidence from past studies and the study in contention showed that the root cause of osteoporosis among post-menopausal women was not calcium deficiency and falling estrogen levels. Rather, she contended, that low serum bone alkaline phosphatase activity is responsible for the changes that cause osteoporosis.” 

“Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme that contributes to bone formation. When the activity of this enzyme is diminished, calcium is stripped from the bones. The reduced activity of alkaline phosphatase is actually due to low serum levels of 3 key nutrients: zinc, manganese and magnesium.  

“The author continues in her letter to discourage high-does calcium supplementation as well as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT has been shown to lower blood levels of zinc, magnesium and alkaline phosphatase. Studies show that people on HRT lose more zinc through urinary excretion.”   

Dr. Grant backs up her conclusions in a published observation that bone fractures among women between the ages of 35 to 65 years were the highest in countries where hormone replacement therapies are frequently prescribed.  

When I looked into the research on this topic, I felt that it gives many women hope and safer options to use for menopause related conditions such as osteoporosis.  The key to prevention is a multi-pronged approach. Diet and nutrition are absolutely integral, so is exercise and mind set.   

The transition into menopause can be a great opportunity for learning about your body, what it needs, and a holistic self-care routine to help you thrive.  

Menopause is like a magical doorway that up opens you up to the infinite wisdom that you’ve always had.  

References: 

*1 The Relationship between Zinc, IGF-1, and Osteo 

What You Need to Know About Progesterone

As a woman, you have many different hormones that affect your fertility and various other functions. When you are peri-menopausal or starting menopause, it’s still necessary to have a balance of your entire endocrine system and one of the main hormones is progesterone.   

Progesterone 

For most of my life, I didn’t give much thought to my hormones, except when my period was about to happen. Whatever my friends, progesterone and estrogen were doing three weeks out of the month, was uneventful, until the twenty-eighth or thirtieth day of the month, then, “Wham!” My abdomen would feel more bloated, I’d have an increase in appetite (especially for carbs), my complexion was pale, I looked tired and was more emotional. I’m painting such a lovely picture that's relatable to the time when we were all menstruating. Now that I’m in the menopause stage of life, PMS is a thing of the past and so is birth control. It’s one of the parts about being female that I’m sure many women don’t miss, including myself.   

You might not really understand what progesterone is or what role it plays, but it’s a type of hormone that helps with many functions in your body:   

Progesterone is among the hormones women need to keep balanced, alongside estrogen, estrone, estradiol, testosterone and others.  

Why You Need Progesterone 

The reason doctors are concerned about progesterone levels is because of how much it impacts your body, if levels are off balance. Not just your gynecological health, but also parts of your body and mind as well. Your mental and physical health both do best when you have adequate amounts of progesterone in your body.  

How to Improve Progesterone Levels 

If you suffer from a hormonal imbalance, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are natural ways you can correct your hormone levels, including progesterone, without medications. Making lifestyle changes such as eating a whole foods diet that consists of healthy fats, wild fish, grass fed meat and pasture raised poultry, organic vegetables and fruits and complex carbohydrates like yams, squash and seed grains like quinoa makes a huge difference.  Getting plenty of exercise, and eliminating negative habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol also have a positive impact on progesterone. I know it’s easier said than done, but making small changes that are doable and realistic over time will lead to life log lasting changes.

If you want an excellent way to accurately measure your hormone levels you can order the DUTCH test from Dr. Suzy Cohen. It’s a complete hormone panel that will give you a breakdown and explanation of your results that you can share with your health care provider. It’s a simple test that uses a urine sample.  Before you order, just make sure to read the info about your state’s rules on the website and email Suzy Cohen’s support department. I live in New York, where the kit cannot be mailed, so I would have to have it sent to another state where I have a friend that can fortunately receive it. She then mails it to me and problem solved. It’s a bit of a workaround but totally worth it.  

Your doctor can provide a progesterone supplement, if you’re unable to improve the issue on your own. The results of the DUTCH test will help provide a better direction, when you know exactly what your numbers are. There are natural progesterone options like wild yam cream that can be helpful and it may be a bit of trial and error until you find the right protocol. Too many women just shake their head yes and do whatever their health care provider says without questioning. Nothing against the medical profession, but it’s your body and you need to treat it like the temple that it is so ask questions and educate yourself by reading and researching. This way you are prepared to make better choices.  

Did you know that essential oils have been around for thousands of years and used to improve a variety of health issues, and menopause symptoms are one of them. The Delightful Hormone balancing serum smells and works great and you can make it yourself in under five minutes! It helps balance progesterone and estrogen and has a calming effect on the nervous system. I love DIY and have made several body care products that are a part of my self care routine. You can look up websites for where to buy essential oils or you can use the company I recommend here called planttherapy.com.  

The ingredients are essential oils of thyme, clary sage and ylang ylang. Use evening primrose oil as a carrier oil for the other oils.  

Essential oil of thyme improves progesterone production for both men and women. Low progesterone levels are associated with infertility, PCOS, depression and other hormonal imbalances.  

There is always a risk when you choose to take hormone replacement drugs. For one thing, it makes your body dependent on synthetic ingredients that are not natural to the body. Second, it increases the potential for issues in other areas of your health that can lead to serious side effects that may require other medications to offset. Before you know it, you could be on several medications that are controlling your bodily functions. When I wanted to get pregnant at 41, I was told my progesterone was low. Instead of taking drugs that were recommended by one Ob/Gyn, I did acupuncture and saw a Chinese herbalist who told me a synthetic form of progesterone would weaken my ovaries’ natural ability to produce progesterone on their own. The herbs worked for me, and I knew then that I would trust my body's innate intelligence and choose a holistic approach first. Drugs would always be a last resort. Every woman needs to trust her own intuition and decide what's best for herself.  

The second ingredient for the hormone balancing serum, essential oil of clary sage, helps balance out estrogen production in the body. Many health issues such as infertility, PCOS and estrogen-based cancers are caused from excess estrogen in the body. Some of that has to do with eating high estrogen foods such as dairy, wheat, soy (most soy is processed and contributes to an increase in estrogen) and alcohol. There is more to say on this topic but I will leave that for another post.  

The third ingredient is essential oil of ylang ylang and helps with libido and stress.

Delightfully Balancing Hormone Serum 

1 oz. Evening Primrose oil (carrier oil) 

30 drops of essential oil of clary sage 

30 drops of essential oil of thyme oil 

30 drops of essential oil of ylang ylang  

Directions  

Mix all ingredients in a 2 oz dark colored glass vial with a dropper.  

Rub 5 drops onto neck twice a day.  

Note: Click on the links so they take you to where you can purchase the ingredients.  

Here’s to having happy hormones! 😊  

Healthy Habits for Menopausal Women

Habits are a part of life and something everyone does whether consciously or unconsciously.  Ideally, we want to increase our positive habits and put a stop to the ones that don’t support our best interests and health.  

Constructive habits are things you do on a daily basis that are good for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.  

Read on to learn what healthy habits menopausal women (and people of all ages!) are doing to stay on their A game.   

Get More Exercise 

If you don’t have a regular fitness routine, now is the perfect time to start. Exercise is wonderful for anyone, male or female, but it has some unique advantages for menopausal women. Exercise helps you lose and manage your weight, fight conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and is a preventative for ailments like arthritis and osteoporosis as you age. It’s also fantastic during any phase of your life, whether you’re a teenager, in your childbearing years, or a senior adult. Fitness is the fountain of youth and adds immeasurably to the quality of your life.

Focus on Your Nutrition 

A healthy diet goes hand in hand with exercise. I often tell clients that you can work-out like an animal, but if your diet sucks, your results will be minimal. Ideally, you want to consume “whole” foods that are unprocessed, and properly prepared. Conscientious habits are your road to eating better. Fad diets don’t work because they are short lived. Who can thrive on cabbage soup for their entire life? Not me, that’s for sure. And I doubt any one reading this can either. We need variety to make sure we receive adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and macro-nutrients (protein, complex - carbohydrates, and good fats).  

A health supportive diet is a lifestyle. Think of longevity and base your choices on foods that are good for you, provide high quality nutrition, and can be prepared easily. Many menopausal women do great on a Keto, Paleo or Whole-30 based diet because it’s higher in protein and good fats and lower in carbohydrates which helps keep insulin low. If you’re vegan or vegetarian which leans towards more grains and legumes that spike insulin, adjustments can be made to reverse those issues. Pick and choose based on what provides the most nutrition, and what is manageable for your current lifestyle. 

Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health 

Far too many people, women especially, neglect their mental health. How many times have you found yourself strung out, had a nervous stomach that sent you racing to the bathroom? Raise your hand if that's happened. The status of your mental health has a direct impact on your physical body and it’s called the “Gut-Brain axis.” Anxiety and/or depression often improves when our digestion works properly so take a look at how your gut is or isn’t working.  

Here’s several ideas that can work wonders to help support your mental wellness:  

If time is a factor, then choose an action you can do for five minutes like journaling. If I’ve had an intense day, writing down how I feel increases my self-awareness and provides a good amount of relief to let go. A good bear hug with someone you love is also quick, uplifting and raises those feel-good hormones.  

It’s easy to become a hermit and just work and sleep, so it’s important for your health and well-being to make a habit to connect with others who enrich your life. The possibilities to feel better are endless and at the end of the day it’s about doing what helps you feel most connected to your highest and best self. 

5 Signs You May Have a Hormonal Imbalance

Abnormal levels of hormones during menopause can wreak havoc and have a negative impact not only on the person suffering from such a condition, but also to the people who are near and dear.  Mood swings, are one of many symptoms of hormonal imbalances. Remember the classic old horror film, “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde?” Dr. Jekyl is a scientist who drinks one of his potions and is then transformed from neighborhood nice guy into a raging half man half beast. A beast that’ll go ape on anyone or anything in his way.

Perhaps, this describes your mood swings where one moment you feel happy and confident and the next it’s all gloom and doom. It’s important to have an understanding of the root cause of any hormonal imbalance, including what approach to take. If any unusual symptoms have lasted beyond eight weeks, it’s a good idea to seek professional help from a reliable source (typically an endocrinologist).  An endocrinologist can give you the present status of your hormone levels so you have a proper baseline of what’s going on in your body. This knowledge will enable you to explore the safest and best options to reclaim your hormonal health.  In many cases, lifestyle changes can make an incredible difference. 

#1 Consistent Weight Gain 

Are you engaged in a strict diet and exercise routine, but don’t see any positive changes? There are many possible reasons, but if you’re packing on the pounds in spite of your disciplined efforts, there’s a strong chance it could be a hormonal imbalance. Your metabolism dictates how much weight you will lose and if your hormones are out of order, it negatively impacts your metabolic furnace. During menopause, fat storage is more common, especially in the midsection, which makes this area harder to tone. Not impossible at all, but that’s another blog post where I will discuss why it’s essential for women in menopause to build muscle. Muscle is more metabolically active tissue that burns fat, gives your body shape and increases your confidence just to list a few of the many benefits.

#2 Desire to Eat More

Another sign of a hormonal imbalance is your appetite can increase. Even after a full course dinner, there’s a strong desire to raid the refrigerator in pursuit of last nights’ left overs. Pushing your plate away feels like some herculean effort. Will power? Gone.  “What’s happening to me?” you ask. During menopause, there’s an increase in the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin, and there’s a decrease of the hormone, leptin, which is responsible for the feeling of fullness after you eat. Menopause, in an odd way, is like having a second adolescence minus the pimples. In addition to persistent hunger, you may also have some unusual cravings similar to pregnancy. When I was pregnant, I craved lemons and steak. I think the pickles and ice cream idea comes from Hollywood movies. I never knew anyone that ate that during their pregnancy. The desire to eat more doesn’t describe all women who go through menopause, but it can affect a good percentage. Look for future blogs about how to balance ghrelin and leptin and get control of your appetite. 

#3 Lack of Sex Drive 

Let’s face it, sex is a normal part of an adult’s life and when you suffer from hormonal irregularities, it’s not unusual to find your mojo M.I.A. Comparing my sex drive in my twenties to my fifties, is like comparing a Porche to a Mercedez Benz. I may not be speeding down the highway at 75 miles per hour like I did as a millennial but I find a slower speed in a luxury car is equally, if not more than satisfying. It’s quality over quantity.  Regardless of whatever your partner does to ignite your fire, the answer is more complex.  Abnormal levels of estrogen, thyroid, and cortisol, which are all essential hormones in a woman’s body, can create vaginal dryness which makes sex painful. If something is painful, the tendency will be to avoid it or do less of it.  Extra weight gain from menopause can do a number on a woman’s physical image of herself. That alone can make her want to avoid nocturnal action. No matter how much your partner compliments you, it's important for you to believe it yourself.

#4 Mood Swings 

Mood swings are another strong sign something is off. Especially, if you’ve always been pretty even-tempered. One moment you feel happy and filled with gratitude and then, “Wham!” out of nowhere, sadness smacks you upside the head. Your eyes even well up with tears. The smallest things cause you to explode and you often feel irritable. You may experience that friends, family and co-workers seem to avoid you because your mood swings make them feel uncomfortable. This can lead to depression and the unnecessary over prescribing of anti-depressants that many doctors dole out to menopausal women, which is like putting a band-aid on a broken bone. It’s necessary to get to the root of the problem and dig. Many mood issues can be corrected by addressing the gut which is where the majority of serotonin lives. A majority of women I know have digestive disorders from constipation, bloating, SIBO, to IBS which affects your mental and emotional state. Changes in mood can also be the result of your monthly cycle, if you still have a cycle. Women with balanced hormones are less prone to experiencing extreme highs and lows of their emotions. Your mood swings can especially peak, if you're already in menopause.

#5 Fatigue

The last sign is daily fatigue. Even if all you did was buy groceries, check your email and binge watch your favorite Netflix series for three hours, you may feel wiped out. Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning?  Do you find yourself wanting to take a nap at least once a day? That sounds like fatigue. Cortisol is the hormone that’s released when we are under stress and if your levels are elevated that can cause tiredness. Menopause can also cause sleep disturbances because of the imbalance of cortisol. Cortisol should be elevated in the morning and low at night. If cortisol is high at night, then you’ll feel wired and energized.  Hot flashes and night sweats also negatively impact sleep making the ability to concentrate a challenge. 

If you said yes to one or more of the five signs of hormonal imbalances described above, a functional medical doctor that specializes in women’s health can be an excellent resource. Functional medicine takes the WHOLE person into consideration and the consultation is often longer compared to a regular general practitioner. You may be asked to fill out a five-day food journal, bathroom habits (Bristol Stool Chart), along with an extensive health history time line from child hood to your present age. It truly is personalized and will get to the root cause of your situation. 

As you can see, optimum health depends on advocating for yourself so you can have a life that thrives and be the vital woman you’re meant to be.