Being female and in your 40’s can lead to some very noticeable changes in your mental and physical health. For some women it marks the beginning of health problems that they did not have before.
Often women are asking themselves:
“Why am I feeling so tired?”
“Why am I overheating throughout the day at inconvenient times of the day?”
“Why am I struggling to shift that 5kg of weight I have gradually put on despite eating well and exercising?”
“Why am I having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?”
“When did I become so snappy, irritable and short fused with those around me?”
It is not uncommon for women to experience chronic tiredness, problems with keeping their body temperature stable, sleep problems, mood changes and weight gain that becomes difficult to shift no matter how well you eat and exercise.
Why is this happening to you?
That is the 64 million dollar question.
Many of these health issues arise when when your hormones are out of whack. What exactly are your hormones doing?
Hormone fluctuations are a HUGE factor at this age stage. The usually well-balanced thyroid, blood sugar, stress and women’s reproductive hormones you may have had in your 20’s and 30’s start to change. How this impacts your health cannot be understated.
Peri menopause can begin in your early 40’s
Once we hit our early 40’s we start to have episodes of not releasing an egg at every ovulation. Estrogen and progesterone levels tend to drop around this time and we can release a follicle but not an egg. As your egg reserves drop your hormones get more out of control and this looks like peri menopausal signs and symptoms.
Think flushes, insomnia, night sweats, irritability, vaginal dryness and low libido. Awesome.
More hormones changes!
What we also see is a change in other hormones once we hit our 40’s. It’s like playing dominos. You see one hormone affected and it sets off a chain reaction of other changes to hormones in the body.
Your stress hormone, cortisol, increases. When cortisol increases we see insulin (our blood sugar regulating hormone) also rise. So add in sugar cravings and too many carbs and you see a trigger of cortisol release AND insulin.
We also see a drop in thyroid function. Thyroid hormone’s role is to stop you getting fat, keeping your body’s thermostat in balance, maintaining good energy levels and keeping your mood balanced among other things. That may explain why they call the thyroid the master gland.
So with high cortisol, high insulin, declining thyroid function and a drop in estrogen we can see less ovulation, irritability, that lovely increase in weight distributed across your mid section, exhaustion, feeling short fused, poor stress tolerance and hot flushes! Sound a bit like menopause come early.
By investigating your gut and hormone function with diagnostic testing you can begin to unpack what is driving your signs and symptoms. Once you have that you are armed with the information to tackle these gut and hormones issues head on. Then you don’t have to feel like you are on a hormonal rollercoaster ride.