Do you know what the #1 symptom of Menopause is? I bet it’s not what you think!
There are many different menopausal symptoms (three dozen or so!) and each woman experiences menopause differently; which symptoms cause the greatest disruption to YOUR life will be unique to YOU. But even so, with my patients at Women to Women, I’ve seen a few symptoms rise to the top of the complaint list over the years.
For the longest time, the biggest complaint women had during perimenopause was around hot flashes. Hot flashes are still a big concern for women, don’t get me wrong, because they are really disrupting and 4 out of 5 women will experience them at menopause.
But over the past few years, I’ve seen a shift in symptom complaints in my patients. The number one symptom I see at Women to Women today is no longer hot flashes: it’s anxiety.
Anxiety can show up in your life in many ways. You may have heart palpitations, trouble breathing, a nervous stomach, or feel like you are scattered, distracted or compulsively worrying. So what’s changed to make anxiety so much more prevalent among women transitioning through menopause today?
In my opinion, much comes down to stress. The way we live our lives today and the amount of stress we experience on a daily basis running our homes, our families, our jobs and trying to do it all takes its toll on our bodies.
And when you have that high stress combined with changing hormones, the likelihood of experiencing anxiety is that much greater. That’s because progesterone has a soothing effect on our nervous systems and as the ratios of progesterone to estrogen decrease during perimenopause, anxiety is often the result. And when we have increased amounts of stress for long periods of time, pregnenolone, a precursor to progesterone gets pushed down a different pathway to make cortisol. Then, often, women will have a low progesterone level and imbalanced hormones.
So what can you do about it? I’m not going to be the first person to tell you that you have to find a way to slow down and reduce stress. I know it can be hard with so much going on in your busy lives but I can tell you that finding a practice that works for you and taking the time to implement it into your daily routine is going to go a long way toward feeling better.
Your anxiety is a call to action from your body, telling you to listen. If you don’t take action, not only will you be living with the anxiety and the uncomfortable, life-disrupting symptoms it presents for longer than you need to, but over time, that stress is going to cause other more serious problems.
So take your anxious moment as a message from your body to say: Hey there! You’re running me ragged and I need a little rest and a break. How about a good night’s sleep, some healthy nutritious food and some me-time? Maybe some deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, chi gong, a hot bath or journaling and a cup of tea? Or perhaps a nice long walk outside?
Whatever you decide to do is up to you. It should be something that slows you down, gives you time to relax and free your mind, to take deep breaths and step away from the crazy stress of the day. Finding some time for yourself every day will not only reduce your anxiety, it will make you happier and re-fill your cup so that you can give more to others than you can when you’re running on empty yourself.
And taking a little time every day to relax and de-stress will help you get your body back on track so that the stress won’t do more damage. Stress is connected to heart disease, cancer and more, so ignoring this wake-up call won’t serve you well now or in the future. But the good news is that it just takes a little practice to build some de-stress time into your daily routine.
You can also look to add some more protein to your meals and snacks. The addition of protein will help to reduce blood sugar spiking and lessen internal inflammation or the stress caused by food additives, allergens, and chemicals. Consider lean meat, grass-fed cheese, nuts, or nut butters, without added sugars.
At Women to Women, we’ve seen that a daily de-stress ritual coupled with getting a good night’s sleep and making sound nutrition choices can restore your health, relieve your symptoms and get you feeling great again. Try to avoid sugar and processed foods, which can cause internal stress on your body and choose organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, and wild caught fish instead.
And because we know that even if you try, it’s really hard to get the nutrition you need from today’s food supply, we recommend a high quality pharmaceutical grade multivitamin and omega 3 oil to restore inner balance, reduce inflammation and manage the stress within your body. We believe every one needs to take both a multi-vitamin and an omega-3 product for optimal wellness.
If you are experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance, you will also need additional nutrients to support your body’s healing such as the all-natural herbs we have formulated in our proprietary Menopause Support product.
Diet and lifestyle changes combined with nutritional support through high quality supplementation leave most of our patients symptom-free. So if you’re ready to get rid of anxiety, hot flashes and other life-disrupting symptoms so that you can restore your health and feel like yourself again, we can help. We’ve helped thousands of women to feel better and we can help you too.
To learn more about our menopause support system, click here.