Carolyn Carter, author of menopause blog
Mattingly Chiropractic is happy to announce the creation of a new blog series. This will be a series of 20 articles on the subject of menopause. The author of this series is Carolyn Carter, a writer and a good friend of the doctor. A self-described “experimenter,” she has run the gamut of attempts at remedies of menopausal symptoms. We are proud to have her share her experiences with you. Our hope is that she can help to provide some guidance and humor for those who are now confronting menopause.
My Flux Capacitor is on the Blitz
Navigating through menopause shouldn’t require the assistance of the great and powerful Oz, (Lions and tigers and bears . . . Oh, my!), and yet, it can sometimes feel that way. Thanks to the internet, information is everywhere, and one naturally assumes that with all this information, the answers to all of one’s problems are there as well. But the problem is, well, every body is different. Every body reacts differently to the same solutions. And every body has a different head on those shoulders with varying opinions of what they think will work for them.
See, the thing about menopause is . . . it’s personal. And it requires a personal solution. Just for you and your symptoms. It’s not the easiest subject to broach, even with a health care provider, but once you find a trusted one, talk to him or her about what’s going on with your body. Talk about the symptoms you’re experiencing, and get to working on some natural and healthy solutions to get your body back on track.
You may be asking yourself—what are those solutions? My mother just (fill in the blank) . . . made us turn the A/C down to frostbite temperature, toughed it out, started dating a younger man. Should I do that? But what about these other options I keep hearing about?
What is menopause?
Hold on . . . we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. What exactly is menopause? Does it have a starting and ending point. And what about perimenopause? What’s that all about?
Ch-ch-ch-changes . . . At the heart of it all, menopause is a change in women’s hormone levels. Estrogen and progesterone levels are declining, and to some degree, testosterone as well. With these changing hormone levels, our periods change, too. And, once a woman misses twelve monthly cycles in a row, she’s in menopause. The average age of natural menopause is fifty-one, but some women may experience it as young as forty or as old as sixty.
Since these changes don’t happen overnight, the body will experience fluctuations over a period of time. Think “Back to the Future” and the Time Flux Capacitor. Remember how Marty (aka Michael J. Fox) pounded on that Capacitor sometimes because it just wouldn’t do what he wanted it to do? Well, perimenopause is a lot like that Capacitor. A woman may have a period and then not. Or, her periods may get shorter or even longer. Accompanying these “Capacitor” changes are mental and physical symptoms. PMS may worsen during perimenopause. A lot of women many not even have PMS until their late thirties or early forties (chalk it up to hormonal changes), and if so, Evening Primrose Oil, a natural anti-inflammatory, can greatly help with most PMS-type symptoms. (Throw away the aspirin, try EPO!) Also, that fluctuating Capacitor may cause extreme mood swings. The combination of these changes can make you feel like you’re becoming someone you are not. Rest assured that these physical responses are not the real you—there is no Hulk-like creature hiding inside you—these are merely your body’s reaction to hormonal fluctuations.
Whether you’re in the throes of perimenopause, or nearing actual menopause, the best thing any woman can do is to listen to her body, then speak to her health care provider about what’s going on with it. Some bodies speak louder than others do, but they all talk. How? Through feeling well or feeling off, through hot flashes, fuzzy thinking, assorted aches, or any other changes you may notice. And, if you listen, you can respond in the appropriate manner and manage, or all-out alleviate your symptoms. Toughing it out—thereby unnecessarily torturing yourself and others around you—is not the only option available today. Many women, having heard about the side effects of hormone replacement therapy—including Prempro and Premarin (Pregnant Mare Urine) which, according to the National Institutes of Health, put women at greater risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and breast cancer—are fearful of synthetic hormones for good reason. However, today, many healthier options are available, including over-the-counter herbal medications such as black cohosh, dong quai, red clover, and soy, as well as whole food supplements and root extracts, including those from Metagenics and Standard Process. If you want something more natural, the great news is, there are products that help!
The body is talking – listen.
Listen to your body. There’s no need to suffer as your “Capacitor” starts to decline. Do your own research, then talk to someone—a naturopathic, a chiropractor, a trusted doctor, a friend who’s gone through it. Find your own personal solution. Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence . . . or occasionally, long howls of insane fury.
Doctor Dusty, D.C. has many tools that he can use to help you overcome menopause symptoms, including nutrition, pressure point therapy and Evening Primrose oil. Click here to fill out a form and request a visit with the doctor about which menopause remedies would be best for you.