It's a taboo topic. But the truth is if you are a woman, you deal with it. If you are a man who has ever lived with a woman, you know about it, you sense it coming, and - if you're smart - you get out of its way!
I wish I could get out of its way, but I'm going to have to deal with it. I'm coming to grips with the fact that a lot of life's unpleasantries these days are probably directly linked to hormonal imbalance. I talked to my mom, which was a stretch for both of us - this is a taboo topic after all. She said she didn't seek out medical care during menopause but looking back, she wishes she would have. So I began doing some research. Still haven't made a decision, but thought I'd share what I've learned. Hope you'll do the same.
Menopause takes hormones to a whole new level. The good news is "the change" heralds the end of an era of hormonal ups and downs. The bad news is "the end" can last ten years and be more intense than the monthly cycle.
Menopause is actually a specific date in time: the last menstrual cycle. Perimenopause is the correct term for what most mean when they say "menopause". Perimenopause is that time period when "menopausal" symptoms rear their ugly heads: night sweats that occur 24 hours a day, mood swings that make PMS look like a love pat, weight gain despite all efforts, hair loss, unilateral headaches of migraine proportion, and sleep disturbances that give way to fatigued days are only a few of a long list of symptoms hormonal imbalance can cause.
Interestingly some claim that if women will give their bodies the support it needs, menopause can be traveled symptom-free. That's a road I'd like to be on! I've found two distinct schools of thought.
The Medical Road
Diagnosis is most accurately made by saliva testing, which most insurances don't cover. If your hormones are out of kilter, you can achieve hormonal balance with hormone supplements absorbed through the skin. Right now bio-identical hormones are all the rage. They reportedly have fewer side effects than synthetic hormones. Most insurances don't pay for them either.
The Alternative Therapy Road
For a well trained medical professional, symptoms are all the testing needed to make a diagnosis. If you give your body the support it needs in vitamin/mineral/herbal supplements, rest, proper diet, exercise, and stress control, your body will balance its own hormones naturally. Most women need only three months of supplements to get in balance and then the body will continue to stay in balance, so long as you continue to treat it well. A small percentage of women need a second round. Two companies who follow this approach claim an 85%-90% success rate without the use of hormone supplements.
If you have endured hormonal imbalance will you share your story with us? If you have had success with the either the medical or alternative therapy road will you share your journey? If you have expertise in the area of hormonal balance, will you share your knowledge?