I’ve been promising a post on hormones for two weeks and failed to deliver, for that I apologize. As important as it is, it’s not that fun to write about….or live through for that matter.
Do you suffer from the following?
Unexplained weight gain
Stray facial hairs
Crying for no reason
Strong desire to punch someone in the throat
If so, you might be dealing with hormones.
I have several things to talk about this fall on the topic but we’ll start with tracking. Ladies, start tracking your cycles. This is one situation where planning is literally half the battle. Start a little journal, use an app on your phone, or mark it down on the calendar.
This is what you are looking for:
Day 1: This is the day your period starts….or as I like to call it, the beginning of the roller coaster ride. Put your seat belt on tight, it’s a bumpy ride.
Days 5-10: This is a good time for us hormonally because progesterone and estrogen are playing nicely. This is an excellent time to make big decisions, tackle big projects, etc. If my whole month were these five days, I could take on the world, run for President, and be a size 6 while eating a cheeseburger. These are good days.
Days 10-15: Depending on the length of your luteal phase, most women tend to ovulate within this window. This is the time of the month you gain 2-3 pounds of water weight overnight, feel a little crampy, get swollen fingers, and want to eat everything in your pantry.
For those of us wrapping up our childbearing years, this phase arrives earlier than it did in our twenties because we aren’t actually ovulating as often. Thus, we either ovulate and/or fail to do so earlier in the month. It’s also the reason why many women get their periods MORE often in the early stages of peri-menopause. Personally I get one every 21-25 days lately which means I feel like I’m either on my period or about to start my period all the time. It affects my mood, my ability to lose weight, etc. If you are in this phase of life, it’s hard to make fitness progress. Be patient with yourself. It’s not impossible, just slower and you have to stay diligent.
Days 16 – 21: I call these the “your mileage may vary” days because everyone is a little different. If you are having difficulty with PMS each month, you may be progesterone deficient and you might benefit from a progesterone supplement during these days straight up until the time you start your period. You can purchase these over the counter at your local health food store. I’m currently trying Pro-Gest and will write more about it later once I can tell whether or not it is helping anything. If you try one, be sure to use it as directed, find one that is paraben free, and USP grade. Don’t just grab some wild yam cream and go nuts, ok?
Days 21 – 28: These are what I’d like to call the “back up off me” days. These are the days I will cry over the sad Kleenex commercials or something as stupid as dropping my pen. These are the days I would just as soon slap you as look at you days. If you want to give me advice, please don’t do it during this week or I will punch you in the throat (ok, maybe not but I’ll really want to). This is not the week to make any decisions, start a diet, etc. These are the days I pray hard to get through so that I can be as kind to my family as possible. It has taken time but I’ve finally learned to bite my tongue and communicate to my husband that these are days I’m best not teased, joked with, or looked at for too long.
I have a friend who taught me the phrase, “You feelin’ froggy? Then jump!” As in, let’s start a fight because I’m ready to rumble. These are definitely my “froggy” days. These are the days I might need to excuse myself and go scream into a pillow. Can you relate?? It’s not real, the sky is not falling. It’s just hormones messing with us.
Shortly, after that it all starts all over again….and again….and again.
If you go to your doctor, he might prescribe birth control pills to even all of this out and that probably helps a fair amount of women. For me, I’d rather tackle this naturally, because birth control pills come with a whole host of risks that I’m not interested in at all. I’m arming myself instead with natural supplements, knowledge of when each month I need an extra bit of grace, and if necessary a muzzle to keep me from going off on people. We all do what we need to do for our bodies. Drugs aren’t my path.
That’s it in a nutshell. Towards our late 30′s and 40′s our bodies intensify everything as one last big estrogen dominant surge before the onset of menopause. That’s a whole new ball of wax with it’s own set of issues.
In my next post on the topic, we’ll discuss what we can do within our diets to help us through this tricky phase. Sadly, I’m not going to tell you to drink more coffee and wine. I know, I can’t believe it either. Oh, and don’t forget exercise….we’re going to have to do that too.
Just a reminder, I’m not your gynecologist and make no claims to be a medical professional. I’m just a near 40 year old women making her way through peri-menopause, one rough cycle at a time.