Menopause and Adrenal Fatigue
Menopause is not a disease it is a phase of our life, just like puberty. From 38 years of age our hormones can start to reduce right up until our late 50's. Symptoms in this time can be hotflushes, hair loss, menstrual cycle changes, menstruation stopping, libido drop, fatigue, mood changes, itchy skin and sleepless nights. The aim is for any symptoms above being of no consequence and no worry but for some women it can be unbearable. Every women is different so if you have no symtoms do not expect things to suddenly turn pear shaped.
The word menopause means the cessation of menses- this term comes from the Greek word MENO (month or menses) and PAUSIS (pause). This time can last for 6-13 years depending on the individual. In this day and age we are living so much longer than people born at the start of 1900's so women are expected to perhaps live in to their late 80's and beyond so for some menopause is like the spring clean preparing for the second part of life. PERIMENOPAUSE is another term you may have heard about and this is when the ovaires gradually reduce the estrogen even if you may still be menstruating.
As the ovaries produce less estrogen the adrenal glands start to have a role. Adrenal fatigue is both a physical and a psycological change. If women have been under constant adrenal stress and overdrive for a long time then coming into menopause with the adrenal demands fatigue can set in. Fatigue in menopause can be one of the most frustrating symptoms especailly if you are usually full of energy. The good news is that by balancing your hormones and minerals it is extremely treatable in most cases. Progesterone and estrogen levels can effect the quality of sleep. Melatonin levels can drop too and this effects sleep. If you are not sleeping well then of course you will be more tired and irritable. There are also thyroid changes that can be involved in chronic fatigue and even depression with menopause. Talking to your practitioner and having some hormonal levels monitored may be very helpful at this time if you have symptoms.
- Talking to your practitioners and having some hormonal and mineral levels monitored
- Have early nights
- Avoid toxins like caffeine and alcohol
- Avoid gluten (this is bad for hot flushes)
- Make some lifestyle changes if needed
- Reassess your life and happiness
- Create a healthy exercise program
- Drink lots of filtered water
- Learn to manage stress or seek professional guidance if needed
- Talk to friends so you realize you are not alone
- Nurture yourself - have some down time
- Balance your work and family life better
- Stress management - learning about reactions and knowing when to seek professional help
- Find moments of stillness
- Do regular weight bearing exercise and breathe
I find at the clinic menopause from perimenopausal to postmenopausal is like a big transformation and clearing can be very confronting and challenging if we do not hear the messages wide and clear. Sit down and write things down and really assess your life if you are at this stage hormonally. What you have done til now may have worked but now it may be a time to reassess. Friendships may change, relationships may change, what you were prepared to put up with maybe now not tolerated and that can feel scary but it is ok. Books say if you ever want an honest answer ask a menopausal women and she will tell it straight.
In saying all this it is not a bad time but an exciting time for renewal - like the caterpillar going into a cocoon (maybe the fatigue is when you are in the cocoon) and coming out a butterfly. The body has amazing adaptive ways to slow us down when we need time to rest and reassess. It is all in listening to your own needs and following your heart.