By Jessica, Contributing Writer
Dear mom who thinks her hormones are out of whack,
Ha! Just kidding. There is more to the post! But seriously – that does sum it up nicely!
So many of us women experience hormonal issues! I’m a member of a local “crunchy” Facebook group where moms can post their health questions and concerns, and, oh my goodness … it is like clockwork! About once a week, maybe more, one of us will post something that goes like this:
“Ladies, help! This week I’ve been having cramps/bleeding/anxiety/cravings/fatigue/hair falling out/headaches/etc. … What’s happening to my body??”
And of course, we all respond. “Oh, me, too! I had that! It’s totally normal!”
Because here is what I have learned: If you are in the child-rearing, child-birthing, thirty-something stage of life, abnormal is the norm. Yes, that’s right. It is normal to feel abnormal. If you are a middle-aged woman who has NO irksome hormonal issues right now, then go buy a lottery ticket, because you’re one lucky duck. More often than not, something will be off.
I will often chat with my mom about my ever-changing health issues, and she’ll give me the most wise advice. “Jessica, my 30s were awful on my body. There is so much changing, so much adjusting, regulating, rising and falling. My body was so out of whack I usually felt terrible!”
I don’t know about you, but just hearing this makes me feel a little better! At the same time, it doesn’t make the actual way we feel from day to day any better, does it? Hormones are powerful things. Imbalanced hormones have been said to impact nearly every system in the body, causing symptoms including (but not limited to!):
- hot flashes
- too sleepy
- not sleepy enough
- weight loss
- weight gain
- lumpy breasts
- heavy periods
- light periods
- foggy thinking
- memory issues
- ovulation pain
- dry skin
- spotty skin
- and the list goes on!
Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
What a list! And amazingly, I’ve suffered from just about all of those at one time or another! If you, too, are exhausted from riding the hormonal roller coaster ride, here are a few tips I have found necessary to survive the epic challenge known as Middle-Aged Womanhood.
1. Learn how your monthly cycle impacts your body.
I recently did some research on what to do when in your cycle, and it was very enlightening! I realized WHY I had been feeling the way I was feeling each week of the month, which helped so much! Of course, every woman’s body is different. It is beneficial to track your own cycle – cravings, moods, fatigue, abdominal pain, etc. This will help you, and perhaps even others living in the home!
2. Do your research. There are many underlying reasons why a woman’s body is not functioning correctly.
I have appreciated Erin’s series on adrenal fatigue as well as thyroid problems, and I know many women have benefited from treating these issues. In my personal struggle with anxiety and depression, I have found many resources that treat and manage this underlying problem. I have learned that these “mental issues” can cause a myriad of physical symptoms!
3. At the same time, come to peace with the fact that your body will not work perfectly.
This has been very hard for me, a recovering Life-Must-Be-Perfect Girl. But it is true, and accepting this fact has made the most remarkable difference in my life! We live in a fallen world, and part of this means accepting that the body does not work perfectly. Of course, it’s easier to do if you suffer from occasional acne or dry skin. However, if your condition is a debilitating, crippling chronic one that has overtaken your life, this is much harder to accept. I understand this well. There was a time that I was crippled by an ailment that I could do nothing to eliminate. It was very, very hard to concentrate on anything else. Here are some tips I have for distracting yourself while something is bothering you. It is not easy, but these tips do help!
4. Cut yourself some slack.
Think of it. If your body has given birth recently, you have given birth. To a new human being. If you have breastfed recently, you have provided life-giving food. For a human being. From your body. If you’re having your period, every month your body does amazing, amazing things, escalating hormones and then plummeting them, producing an egg, preparing the womb for birth, then shedding the womb’s lining. So you know what? If I feel utterly exhausted sometimes, I think it’s okay to take a nap. If I am dragging myself through the day for some inexplicable reason and having trouble doing all I *should* be doing, I’m not going to further add guilt to the burden. It’s okay to be “less-than” for a season. It’s only a season.
5. Decide how much time, money, and energy you want to invest in discovering a cure for your hormonal issues.
Do not become obsessed, because it only brings damage to you and your family. How do I know this, you ask? Oh. Because I have been there. I have let my crazy weird elimination diets drive me (and everyone around me) crazy. I have let my health problems become the center of my marriage, to its severe detriment. I have become obsessed with my problem, to the point that my obsession become more damaging to our family than the actual health issues themselves!