May 25, 2021

A Hormonal Happily Ever After

“Estrogen is very key to sleep. So women as they are going through this transition often have tremendous problems with sleep unrelated even to night sweats or hot flashes. Which is another thing that happens because in the brain, estrogen regulates not just the appetite systems but also our temperature control regulation system.” This powerful quote is from women’s health expert, Dr. Felice Gersh, in her interview with Dr. Stephanie on the podcast, Better with Dr. Stephanie. Tune in for more insight into the importance of estrogen and the key role it plays in maintaining optimal body function and balance. Learn how to mitigate or prevent the symptoms and side effects we experience as our hormone levels drop naturally with age. And discover safe and effective methods that are available to start treating with today.

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Uh yeah, can I get some dark undereye circles, maybe a little bone loss if you have it and a pick two, the I want to murder my partner and bawl my fucking eyes out in the fetal position. And if I could get those on the side, that would be great. Wait, actually, ya know what, scratch that! just gimme the works! A tanked thyroid and the hormones of a dead woman. Nope, that oughta do it. Okay, thanks! 

Ya know what’s weird about this order? I don’t actually remember putting it in. And I’m starting to think I got someone else's because it’s definitely not mine. Yet here it is, like a gift from the Gods, without a sacrifice or even a prayer. Give, give, give. Our biology, she is a giver. So, not to sound ungrateful, even though I am, I do have one small question...What’s the return policy on these things or can I just give ‘em back?

We’re talkin hormones. And there is not nearly enough emphasis or awareness as to how life changing they can be for women of all ages and stages. We hear plenty about the thyroid and all it’s conditions but if our hormones are off, well, that’s gonna impact the thyroid and vice versa. So, thyroid meet hormones. Hormones, thyroid. It’s a symphony, they all work together to create harmony within. Even with all the shit I’ve done over the years to right the wrongs of my body burdens, until recently I didn’t appreciate the effect they have on not only my physiology but on my looks. Because, hello, I believe I’ve already established my very real fear of gravity. Is it possible my face wouldn’t drip drop down like melting candle wax and I wouldn’t shrink like Alice going down the rabbit hole if I replenish my declining estrogen stores. Or is what the Dairy Council says true? Milk does a body good and I just need to chug a lug a few gallons a week to grow big and strong like a baby heifer?  Hmm, I’m not sure but it’s quite the pickle.

And speaking of pickle, but not. A random side note I can’t get out of my mind. I was on a walk earlier today and caught myself thinking and accepting that I am possibly a bit on the neurotic side of things. I mean, I just, okay, I see people coming toward me on this path I’m on and I’m like, again with this? Didn’t someone just pass me a minute ago? Are there no other paths in this overly populated, densely packed neighborhood? So I see them, there they are, slowly walking toward me and I them. And I think, do I stare at them as they make their approach? And if I do, do they see me staring? Are they then staring back at me and wondering what I’m staring at? Or do I look up and straight ahead like, I don’t see youuu, right in front of me there? Or, maybe I just turn my head to the side and fein interest in the utterly fascinating white lines on the street? Should I say hi as they walk by? Nod, wave, smile or nothing at all or all of the above? What’s the fucking passerby protocol here? Don’t say it, I already know. It’s like I’m in your head right? Because you have the exact same thoughts! I knew it wasn’t just me. I feel so much better now! Or you’re judging me and think less of me. I feel like you think less of me. Either way.

Anyway, I’m literally taking inventory of my mood, mind and increasing physical limitations of which there are many, as we speak. What have I been taking for granted that I thought of as “toxins”, heavy metals, mold, lyme, parasites, viruses and retroviruses, oh my! That are really symptoms of undiagnosed, unbalanced hormones. Obviously, the symptoms can overlap and one definitely affects the other but for all the cleanses and detoxes we hear about...the liver cleanse, juice cleanse, grapefruit cleanse, sugar cleanse, full body cleanse...I’m just feeling really damn clean at this point. The brain fog, thinking in slow motion, anxiety, memory loss, weight gain, muscle wasting, low energy, poor sleep, tired but wired and just the overall crazys we feel is not just A, in our heads or B, due to the environment and a deficiency in said cleanses. 

It’s interesting but I am a self professed health snob. I have, in the past, identified with and prided myself on all the natural health treatments and protocols you can and cannot name. I know most of them. I’ve tried many of them. What’s ironic is that I completely missed the hormonal piece of the puzzle. Why? Because it wasn’t talked about in either the conventional or the alternative health space. I don’t know about you but the only time hormones were ever brought up to me was in three phases...puberty, oh boy, here we go with the raging teenage hormones. Pregnancy, ahh, my hormones are all over the place and menopause, where did all the hormones go? In between and after these life events, they basically don’t exist. Sure, we bring it up in passing like if we’re being particularly assertive one day and some lovely gentleman brings it to our attention that we might be on the rag. Why thank you sir. How sweet are they? Or, it’s this catch all for anything PMS related during our monthly cycle. But it’s become this weird benign word that lacks any real meaning or understanding by not only us as women but the medical community as a whole. And, thankfully, that’s now beginning to change..  

I had just assumed that the last 10 years of my symptoms were because of all the other shit I was addressing. And they were, to some extent, but now that I have gotten rid of a lot of that, I’m realizing hormones have become my latest struggle. Yay me. So I had them tested, which I’d done before but not nearly as in depth and surprise, they were all in the toilet. Estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, Pregnenolone and vitamin D. It’s amazing I even have a sex drive honestly but I dooo! Unfortunately, it’s about all I have. But I’ve recently started taking bioidenticals and in about a year, I should, fingers crossed, see some progress. And I’ll keep you posted because once I get those Goldilocks’ed, aka, just right, I’m moving on to peptides and oh boy are those exciting!

I usually try to post a clip of the highlighted episode that encompasses the best part of the conversation in case you don’t have a chance to go back and listen in its entirety but with this one, yeah, no, there was no way. Personally, I think every single woman should listen to the full interview if they want to understand not only what their bodies are going through in midlife but why. And how we can prevent many of these slight, not so slight, inconvenient symptoms in our earlier years through managing and balancing the itty bitty beasts in our bodies that either control the chaos or cause it. 

So, a little suggestion, and I’m sure I’ve said it before but, check yoself before you wreck yoself. Because it’s a heck of a lot easier to prevent the rollercoaster ride of midlife madness than it is to try and put it in reverse. Don’t wait, like me, until things have gotten so bad that you’re reacting to every physical and emotional sign that pops up. Playing whack a mole with each one, rather than catching it before it gets to that point and going to the root of it. Start with the interview, bake your noodle with a buttload of knowledge and conduct your own interviews with potential docs to find the one that’s right for you. 

I told ya, good stuff right? Well, if you’d like to dig into the entire conversation between Dr. Gersh and Dr. Stepahnie, check out the podcast, Better with Dr. Stephanie, episode 151, Bioidentical Hormones and HRT with Dr. Felice Gersh. Links to that and both their social media are in the show notes below. 

And check out my newsletter to get a sneak peek into more of my own journey on how I’m fumbling my way through my 40’s and beyond. As always...

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