Food For Thought: Surviving & Thriving With Menopause

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What’s that you say? THRIVING with menopause? The hot flashes, the night sweats, insomnia, weight gain. Could there really be anything good in all of that? I didn’t use to think so. Two and a half years ago, I was forced into early menopause by chemo and radiation. I was 42. My mom went into menopause at 58. To say that I was short-changed a bunch of years is an understatement. And I won’t sugar coat it, it was awful and not just for physical reasons, for emotional ones as well. In addition to insomnia, fatigue, hot flashes I gained 20lbs.  I no longer recognized myself in the mirror. My doctors put me on hormone replacement and suddenly you could add deep depression to the list. It got so bad a year in, that I was having suicidal thoughts and trying anti-depressant medication to try to keep it together. The drugs just made things worse. Then, 9 months ago, I went to a naturopath and stopped EVERYTHING. Five days later, I felt amazing. I felt like my old self again.

While I wouldn’t say that everything is perfect, I’ve started to notice some things. After I went off hormone replacement, I lost 10 lbs (still have 10-15 to go, but every pound counts). I no longer have mood swings.  I feel more accepting, more confident, more calm. I’ve also notice that I’m more comfortable and content with myself than I’ve ever been in my life.

So what changed? Hormones. Less of them. Yes, we love the glow of Estrogen. Who doesn’t? But those tiny little, size of a pin drop hormones are tidal waves. They affect how we feel, how we see situations and people and how we think. Amazing. Sadly, doctors still know very little. What I’ve learned is this: 1 Don’t self-medicate. It’s easy to grab something off the shelf at Whole Foods but without knowing what you are doing or what dosage to take, you can be making things worse.  2. Don’t jump into hormone programs 3. The best source for more hormones are natural herbs that allow your body to take what it wants. I’ve learned enough to fill a small book.

Menopause can be rough, but there’s more information every day about better ways to deal with it and I have to say, I absolutely LOVE being free of the roller coaster. Here’s to us ladies, here’s to us.

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Written by Western Bonime