Are you in your 40s and experiencing all sorts of symptoms that are new and annoying, like irregular periods with more PMS, more interest in sleep than sex, difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night, and you feel exhausted all the time?
This is very common, and it's caused by what I call "The Perfect Storm."
It's a time in life when many forces are working on you at once, tipping your hormones into chaos, and affecting how you feel.
Here are the elements of the storm:
Once you turn 40, it's natural for your progesterone levels to begin dropping. When you ovulate, you aren’t getting that big burst of progesterone that you probably were used to during your earlier reproductive years. This is normal. Lowering progesterone by itself doesn’t always cause a problem.
Add to this the stress of raising your family. By the time you're in your 40s, many of you have been doing this for a dozen years already. Maybe the kids are now pre-teens or teenagers keeping you very busy and stressed out, which causes the progesterone levels to fall even more. As a result, you experience heavy and/or irregular periods and more PMS.
Add to this that your parents are probably aging and you might be dealing with health issues or more family drama which equal STRESS.
Maybe you've been on birth control pills for many years, and a dirty secret no one told you is that they can lower the levels of the active form of testosterone, and your sex drive begins to disappear.
Combined with the lack of sleep from teenagers or work, plus the financial worries of raising a family... you're pooped, and would rather sleep than have sex.
Add to this, the new habit you developed to have just a few minutes of peace because you're busy taking care of others all day: staying up too late because that’s the only time you have for yourself. You become sleep deprived, which worsens your stress hormones, which worsens your period and sex drive!
If this storm goes on for too long, your adrenals will poop out, causing adrenal fatigue, which you experience as exhaustion. Now you know how you got here!
To help the sun come out, you need to follow simple steps to better self-care:
1. Set a bedtime. Find time for yourself during the day instead of relying on the evenings!
2. Manage your stress. While you can’t get rid of stressors in your life, you can learn to prevent them from coming into your body and making you sick. Learn to meditate, do yoga, or find other ways to relax and balance those stress hormones!
3. Investigate your progesterone levels. There are wonderful herbs, like chasteberry, that will balance and support progesterone during this time. I often prescribe bio-identical progesterone cream which is natural and safe.
4. Have your adrenals checked. The good news is: if they are exhausted, they can be brought back to life.
But, remember, healing and feeling better and quieting the storm is mostly about lifestyle change and you can do these on your own!