If you ever want to experience the pinnacle of pre-teen angst, go to a school’s maturation lesson and watch as kids squirm uncomfortably in their chairs as they learn about the hormonal changes their bodies are about to go through.
While this information is important, it is by no means complete. That is why Dr. Amanda recently spent an evening with several women at Sandstone Wellness to discuss the hormonal changes and unpleasant emotional, physical and psychological symptoms women experience as they age.
Hormones Play a Bigger Role Than You Think…
We often think of a woman’s hormones only as they relate to the reproductive cycle. In reality, hormones play a bigger role in your overall health than you realize. As a woman, your hormones play a role in every biological process in your body from digestion to sleep. When your hormone levels are out of whack, you are more likely to experience headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, sleep disruption, depression, anxiety, and weight gain in your belly and hips.
…And Hormonal Changes Happen Sooner Than You Think
Most women understand the hormonal changes associated with menopause, but a woman’s hormone levels can begin to change as early as 30 years old. Perimenopause symptoms, the changes you notice like hot flashes, fatigue and weight gain, can happen five to ten years before a woman actually begins menopause. Most women go through menopause between the ages of 51 and 53. This means you can begin having menopausal symptoms when you are 40 years old.
It’s Not Just Women
Men go through something very similar to women. After the age of 30, men lost one to two percent of their body’s testosterone every year. Studies have also shown that as many as 50 percent of men will experience some form of andropause, the male version of menopause, complete with many of the same symptoms women experience.
The Role of Estrogen
Estrogen, one of the key hormones found in women drops precipitously during perimenopause and menopause. When these levels drop, women are more likely to experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness and a loss of libido. What most people don’t realize is that estrogen has an effect on the amount of dopamine and serotonin the brain can process. These “happy hormones” control our reward system, memory, motivation, and neuromuscular function in the body. Estrogen also plays a role in bone density and skin elasticity. As your estrogen levels decline over time, you are more likely to develop osteoporosis and wrinkles.
Testosterone is Important Too
Yes, women produce small amounts of testosterone. Not only does this hormone play a role in your libido, it plays an important part in maintaining high energy levels and remembering information. Too little testosterone and women run the risk of developing dementia, breast cysts, bone fractures, and heart disease.
What Can I Do!?!
Fortunately, if you are experiencing any symptoms associated with unbalanced hormones, all is not lost. You can experience more energy, a better night’s sleep and necessary weight loss simply by balancing your hormone levels for optimal health. And it’s easier than you think. Schedule your hormone assessment and find out how Dr. Amanda can help you live a fuller, happier, healthier life.