I am 48, a mother of two beautiful children, a successful career woman with a loving, supportive husband — who told me,
“I love my husband to bits, he is the best thing that’s happened to me, and such a wonderful father and supportive and kind man and husband. But I swear sometimes I just want to murder him! I just tell him to stay away. And I feel terrible because I know he’s only trying to help, but I can’t help it!”
Does this sound familiar?
Well, if you only hate your husband two weeks a month, it may be your hormones and not your husband!
Feel like a cuddle but at the same time, you’re somehow filled with rage at your loving partner? Are you flipping out over things that usually don’t bother you? Bloated, gaining weight, and can’t seem to shake it off? And then you feel guilty and sad for being this “crazy” or moody?
It’s hard not feeling like yourself; a foreigner in your own body, apologizing to loved ones for snapping at them, feeling guilty, disconnected and lonely.
PHYSIOLOGY DRIVES BEHAVIOR
Rest assured, you’re not going insane. Your body is going through some changes and it feels as if you are going crazy, but I assure you, you’re not.
When I was first diagnosed, I was at such a low point, I didn’t want to get out of bed. But I needed progress. My only goal? I wanted to feel way better than I was feeling the day before.
I told myself, “You can do this Anna.” And as the tips I share below started to work its magic in my system, I started to feel better and better every day. And this is what I want for you. To see progressive change for the better until one day you wake up feeling like your old self again.
Personally, I think it is a cruel joke of nature for some us women to be going through hormone transitions while our daughters are as well! With four daughters of my own aged between 10–30, figuring this out became a survival necessity for me (and my daughters). And now I help thousands of woman balance out their hormones too!
Are You Ready To Feel Balanced Again?
What is happening in your body, that is making you feel this way?
Unfortunately for us ladies, from as young as 35 years old, our ovarian function slowly starts to decline with the aging process. Our monthly cycle or lifetime hormonal transition causes our hormones to become imbalanced.
It’s a natural part of our life cycle that happens to all females, and affects all of us differently — but it is not ok to accept feeling miserable or to medicate the symptoms without getting to the real cause!
As we head into menopause and during peri-menopause, hormonal imbalance doesn’t only affect our moods, but it also manifests as different issues in our body. It can manifest as headaches, aches and pains, menstrual irregularities, weight gain and bloating, as well as vaginal dryness, weakening pelvic floor muscles, incontinence and decreased arousal.
Yes, it also causes mood imbalances, like lowered self-esteem, depression, mood swings, irritability and more. I know, sometimes it can feel as if we’ve gotten a raw deal here, as our relationships with others and ourselves, suffer.
With a little care and addressing the underlying root cause as to why we are feeling this way, we can continue to live our best lives.
So What Is Happening?
Our body relies on a delicate balance of reproductive hormones to function in a healthy way. Hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA work together to keep the body functioning smoothly.
When we start feeling the symptoms of menopause or perimenopause, it is usually because our hormones are out of balance. Who would have thought that such tiny imbalances could wreak so much havoc?
This term can be confusing because it implies too much estrogen — but this condition is actually when estrogen levels are far out of proportion compared to your progesterone. This is usually due to the rapid decline of progesterone and not the other way around. Estrogen dominance can still be experienced even when estrogen levels are low because progesterone is lower.
Hormone disruptors and estrogen mimickers can also cause this (there are ways to superficially combat this — especially with my bio-available progesterone and pregnenolone cream Purabalance PPR.
Estrogen dominance causes all kinds of symptoms like mood swings, irritability, anxiety, bloating, irregular or heavy periods, skin conditions, feeling “crazy” but not really knowing why, and more.
Most OB/GYNs and other doctors typically recommend anti-anxiety meds like Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa and other SSRIs. They might also recommend birth control pills if still menstruating and if not, hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) — but it’s important to know what the risks involved are in this treatment as well as what else is out there.
More and more women and doctors are reluctant to use HRT with synthetic progestins because of the risks involved. Some have been found to cause breast cancer, blood clots, heart disease, and strokes! Your body is going through all these changes, you don’t want to burden it with more, and especially with something that could potentially harm your wellbeing at the same time.
So how can we deal with our hormonal imbalance naturally and safely? Without side effects and other prescription medications if possible?
Let’s start with an easy but often overlooked tip.
Get Enough Sleep!
Have you heard the saying: “Sleep is the new sex”? It seems everyone is talking about it and no one is getting enough!
So true! I am a notoriously bad sleeper; a night owl through school, then as an obstetrician in solo practice on call 24/7!
So let’s get sleep — I’m talking a whole 7-9 hours of sleep, ladies! This sounds simple, but hands up if right this moment, you are not getting enough sleep. I thought so!
As hard as it is, you do need to try and get rest because sometimes, all your body needs is for you to knock out, and let it do its thing in the background.
So, create a night-time ritual.
This really does help. Sleep in a completely dark and cool room, especially if you suffer from night sweats and hot flashes — be sure you keep your room a cool 65 degrees °F (18°C) and completely dark, or as dark as you can get it.
Block out time for naps if need be. A 15- or 30-minute nap can be so restorative. Let’s get that rest!
I, myself, have a night-time ritual:
- I meditate before sleeping
- I find that deep breathing and stretching before bed really helps to relax my body and prepare it for sleep
- I take magnesium l-threonate (my Better Brain & Sleep formula)
- 3mg sublingual melatonin (Pura Snooze)
- A dose of progesterone (Pura Balance PPR cream)
- A scoop of Mighty Maca® Plus in hot water. Remember, Mighty Maca® Plus is an adaptogenic formula, so it helps when my body is overstimulated as well as understimulated
- I also recently added to my night-time ritual and online store, Vida Optimal Balance that helps with overall hormone balance naturally. My Magic Menopause clients also have loved this formula
- I highly recommend trying my night-time ritual (or part of it) if you have trouble sleeping. At the very least, take some magnesium as a supplement to support sleep (magnesium l-threonate is the best form to cross the blood-brain barrier).
- Magnesium also helps to regulate cortisol (the stress hormone that can keep you up at night), helps muscles relax, keeps you calm and is involved in over 200 processes in our body. It’s a very important mineral and supplement.
Plan For FUN Playtime
Granted, you might not feel like it at times (or most of the time), but listen up, resentment is lack of self-care. Fill your own tank first.
Best way to do this is to have fun and have playtime, enjoying activities, and people you love who make you laugh. Make room in your busy life for cuddles, connection and calm — the three Cs!
This helps your body release oxytocin, which is the hormone that creates feelings of bonding, love, connection, intimacy and helps banish feelings of isolation and loneliness.
So plan fun activities with your loved ones and just relax and enjoy yourself. You’ve earned it! It’s so important to take this time for yourself.
Nourish Your Body
By this I mean four things.
One, keep your diet alkaline and more green. These are foods that help to eliminate excess estrogen from your body and keep the crazy feelings at bay (super important!).
So you’re going to want to eat more organic foods, vegetables, and whole foods that are also probiotic rich, like fermented food as it can really help with the process of detoxification. Cruciferous vegetables are great for alkalizing the body! Eat more broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale and other dark, leafy greens. Secondly, eat foods that are high in healthy fats, like avocados, oysters, salmon and oils like olive oil and coconut oil. Add good proteins while avoiding simple carbs. Choose healthy proteins from leans sources that are also free range or organic, and hormone-free.
I’ve designed my Keto-Alkaline® (Keto-Green™) diet around these two concepts, and it’s helped thousands of women bring their body back to balance. I’m not going to get into that too much in this post since I’ve written extensively about the Keto-Alkaline way here, and here.
I urge you to read the posts linked above!
Thirdly (and also my favorite), throw some dark chocolate into your diet!
Yes! You heard me! Indulge in some yummy dark chocolate. The darker the better. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids, and minerals. And I stand behind the research that supports it! In an article published by Harvard’s School of Public Health, dark chocolate improves blood pressure, cardiovascular risks, and diabetes.
And lastly, avoid endocrine or estrogen disruptors. This is really important in healing estrogen dominance. Endocrine or estrogen disruptors are synthetic preservatives like parabens, that can be found in everything from moisturizers to makeup.
Try not to purchase products that contain: Parabens, Phthalates, Petrochemicals, Triclosan (anti-bacterial soaps!), hexane, formaldehyde and other solvents, synthetic fragrances, and colors, sulfates… even gluten.
Considering that your skin is your body’s largest organ and basically acts like a sponge, imagine how much toxin it is absorbing daily. And these chemicals don’t break down, but simply accumulates in your system.
I know we can’t shut out all these toxins from our lives — and it would be impractical to ask someone to do so — but we can try and limit our exposure to them. So choose skincare products that are non-toxic, organic and that don’t contain chemicals that disrupt the hormone function in your body.
Get Some Herbal Help
Add herbal supplements and spices such as maca, flax, green tea, licorice and even turmeric into your diet.
Maca especially is an amazing supplement that has a combination of detoxifying, alkalizing and hormone balancing nutrients.
It felt very stressful trying to live with the changes my body was going through as well as trying to make sure I got all the nourishment I needed to make that process as easy as possible. I remember wishing there was a way I could combine all the nutrients I needed into a futuristic pill that I could pop easily!
Instead what I did was to work with a leading supplement manufacturer here in the US to create a nutrient-rich formula that is safe and effective for my body, and yours — using my favorite root, MACA!
I combined Maca with other healing foods that work together to create a superfood cocktail that balances out hormones, helps you lose excess weight and bloating, and keep other menopausal symptoms at check.
My daughters and I have been taking it for years. I’ve prescribed it to my patients, I’ve had doctors call in wanting Mighty Maca Plus for their patients. And I’d love for you to try it too!
What NOT To Do:
If there is one thing that I recommend my clients do, it is — stay away from processed sugars! I can’t stress this enough. Sugar has been found over and over again to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
It is also responsible for causing a host of imbalanced hormonal symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, polycystic ovaries, infertility, acne and more.
You’re going to want to keep your body free of any processed sugars, and even keep natural sugars (found in most carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables) low. So that means no sugary desserts, simple carbs, sugary drinks or excessive alcohol.
It might sound harsh because sometimes we want to “reward” ourselves with a tasty dessert, and we can still do that, but we should also be aware of how much sugar we digest daily. Every little bit slowly adds up.
A teaspoon in our coffee, bread for breakfast, a plate of pasta for lunch, a slice of cake for tea time, and on and on. By the end of the day, we might ingest up to 66 pounds (82 grams) of sugar daily when the daily recommendation is only 6 teaspoons (or 25 grams).
Imagine the havoc all this extra sugar is wreaking in our body, especially one that is already going through its own changes. I promise you, once you start eliminating sugars from your diet and notice your energy levels increase, and your moods calm down you will be eliminating sugar from your diet like a pro, because of how good it makes you feel.
There’s a reason I want you to find time for fun in your life because it means you’re keeping your cortisol(the stress hormone) in check. An excess of cortisol can cause adrenal fatigue, and I’ve written about that here but aside from that, research has also shown that excess cortisol also affects the cardiovascular healthand your mental health.
So please make the time to keep your stress levels low, and your fun levels high!
Three-Steps To Balance
Basically, you want to incorporate the tenets of healthy eating in your daily life.
Of all the tips I mentioned above, I know the final one — keeping a healthy diet — is also the one that women find the most difficult to make happen in their lives. Which is why I recommend getting my Mighty Maca Plus formula.
Keeping your diet alkaline, and getting enough sleep and play in your life will 100% change the quality of your life. So do try it out and let me know how it goes for you.
Credit: Dr Anna Cabeca