“Confessions of a Naturopathic Doctor” might be a better title, for as I come up on my 45th birthday it’s time to accept that my hormones are not at all what they used to be, and to confront the following truths:
- Throwing the covers off at night is NOT because of the flannel sheets.
- Wiping sweat off my upper lip on the drive to work is NOT because of the heated seats.
- My crabby attitude is NOT because of my family and the shoes at the door.
- The surge of heat followed by a slightly nauseous feeling is NOT a “flu” coming on.
Yep, it seems that peri-menopause is upon me. And yes, the naturopath who “should know how to avoid this stuff”, is suffering with hot flashes, night sweats, no sleep and plenty of crabbiness.
In my younger years, I was always sympathetic to the plight of my peri- and post-menopausal patients. I would recommend herbs and diet changes, and counsel patients to be patient. “It’s a natural change,” I’d say. “It will run its course in good time.”
And if that didn’t do the job?
“Embrace it,” I’d suggest, “as a powerful time in a woman’s life.”
I can’t believe I didn’t get stabbed.
Because in the middle of a third night of no sleep, after changing my shirt yet again and resisting the temptation to choke the life from my happy, deeply-sleeping husband, I know with certainty that if one of the other ND’s in our office suggests I stop drinking wine the next day, I will strangle her with my own sweaty hands.
But, I digress. (Because I’m tired, okay? Do you really want to mess with me?)
The short story is this: The transition from our “reproductive” years to our “post-reproductive” ones is not a straight line with consistent symptoms. It’s tricky to manage, and tricky to treat. But I can give you some solid advice based in my experience as both a doctor and a sweaty, homicidal woman. 🙂
My Best Menopause Advice
- Get real about the mood changers. Coffee starts my engines and a glass of wine is magic by the end of the week – but how much is really in my head and is it too much? The hot flashes may be a sign it’s time to take an honest look.
- Take care of your adrenal glands. Not surprisingly, after moving StoneTree Clinic to it’s new home, my adrenal glands have taken a bit of a hit. Lots of 7-day weeks, problems to solve, and money for renos, makes for a very stressed Tara. The adrenals are responsible for helping transition gracefully to our post-reproductive years. Lots of support with herbs, natural hormone replacement, and IV therapy are in order.
- Make sure you keep moving. Exercise is shown time and again to help manage menopausal symptoms. Every day I commit to finding time to make my 10,000+ steps happen.
- Learn to enjoy the heat. My 30’s were years in which I was constantly cold. It is actually lovely to be able to have a window open in my room in the winter. I love the fresh air!
So, to all the women who have come before and all of you coming after – enjoy this powerful time of transition in a woman’s life…
…and hide the knives!