HORMONES 101

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One of the most common symptom I get asked to help with are hot flushes. Surprisingly it's not just peri-menopausal women who ask me how to treat it, heaps and I mean HEAPS of women ask from pregnant women, to time of the month women to young girls. Although there can be many causes for flushing, there is one thing we all have in common regardless of age and that's hormone.  

So I asked an expert who happens to be a Pharmacist herself, who loves natural therapies like me (so she is ah-mazing) and specialises in Menopause.......oh an anti-aging. YASSSSSSS!

Introducing the uber smart Irene Hogan! In this blog she tackles menopause. But don't let that stop you reading ladies, or gents (yesssss you too can benefit from this), if you aren't yet going through this phase in your life because it is filled with heaps of useful nutritional and hormonal advice that can be applied to us all. 

So over to you Irene.

HORMONES 101

Have you ever felt that your body and you are not on the same page? You look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person you’ve become. “What is happening to me?”, I hear you say.

Does any of these sound familiar?

Getting through the day is a struggle. Fatigue leaves you feeling drained all day. You feel moody and ready for a meltdown at any moment. Your body feels sluggish and achy. Hot flashes are driving you crazy. You have trouble falling asleep and night sweats are waking you up at night. Weight gain, the infamous menopot. One minute you are happy and the next minute you are ready to commit murder. Your sex drive has lost its gears. Your memory is in a fog.

These symptoms are not normal. However, menopause and the transition are!

Although, many women suffer from a roller coaster ride of hormonal ups and downs. If you suffer from any or all of these, then you are experiencing the effects of “hormone hell”. Whether you are menopausal or peri-menopausal, you may be noticing changes. It may be a bit scary. Many women feel like they are losing their femininity or fear of getting old. And, the physical symptoms make it all feel worse. But menopause is not a time for regret—it is a time for renewal and new freedom.

What actually happens at menopause?

Menopause is merely defined as the time a woman has gone one whole year without a period. Peri-menopause is the time before a woman enters menopause. It lasts on average 10 years before menopause. Hormones can be very erratic in this period. Hormones are chemical messengers and without them, proper functioning in our body does not occur. They control everything from reproduction, digestion, metabolism, our moods, and even our appetite. When our hormones function properly, we feel great, balanced and when they do not, they make us feel miserable. The key to a successful menopause is having the right hormonal mix to breeze through this time of your life.

So what hormones need to be balanced?

• Estrogen: Key female hormone for fertility, but has many other roles such as bone building, brain function, mood, and memory.
• Progesterone: Key female hormone for fertility, but has other roles such as brain health, sleeping, thyroid function, and gut health.
• Testosterone: Key hormone that helps women maintain muscle mass, libido, and bone density.

Hormone imbalance may be due to a decline in estrogen, or too much estrogen relative to progesterone termed estrogen dominance. Progesterone deficiency occurs early on and is the cause of the changes in a woman’s period that also occur.

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenals and is a key stress response hormone. Most women approaching menopause, however, are overstressed and this leaves them unable to manage their hormones. High cortisol contributes to many of the symptoms that women suffer with in menopause.

Sleep, mood changes, brain fog, anxiety digestion, and immune function are all affected by stress. High cortisol and stress are key contributors to hormonal disarray. The adrenals can convert DHEA to estrogen and testosterone as the ovaries shut down.

Solutions

The key to balancing hormones is making changes. 
•    Diet and lifestyle is the first and easiest way. Stress-reducing strategies is essential.
•    Supplements can be helpful for all of the symptoms.
•    Bio identical hormones may be a life-saver for many women and improves quality of life.

Let’s take a look at a few of my favourite recommendations for women:
•    Multivitamins and B Complex with minerals
•    Vitamin D
•    Omega 3’s
•    Magnesium, lemon balm, passion flower, and melatonin for sleep
•    Probiotics
•    Black Cohosh and Vitex for hot flashes mood night sweats
•    Rhodiola and Ashwagandha for adrenal stress
•    Tribulus fenugreek maca for libido

It takes time, but the changes you make now are worth it. Let’s face it, menopause is for life. You have the choice on how you live it.


About Irene Hogan
Irene Stronczak- Hogan is a National Certified Menopause Practitioner; Nutrition, Natural Medicine, and Anti-Aging Specialist; and a Professional Compounding Pharmacist. She graduated from the University of London School Of Pharmacy and immigrated to Canada in 1986. She has worked in women’s health for over 20 years and has built her women’s practice through consulting at DayNight, Rexall, Stonechurch, and Postmaster Pharmacies. Through her consulting, Irene offers drug reviews, weight management, nutritional and natural medicine advice, and post and peri-menopausal recommendations. For more information, visit her website at www.hotchixshotsex.com/.