Menopause – It’s Such a Pain!

aches-and-pains-232x152I have a group of friends that I have known for a long time. Some of us have known each other since we were kids. Others, I had met when our children were little. As I was visiting with them the other day I started to take note of our conversation and I have to admit I found it both amusing and a little depressing.

I got to thinking of how many conversations we have had over the years and Oh! — How they have changed. We have gone from talking about boys in our teens, the thrills of meeting “the one” and marriage, raising kids from the baby stage through them getting married and having their own kids. And now, to sitting around the table and talking about middle age weight gain, wrinkles, body aches, fatigue and various other maladies that are plaguing our middle aged bodies and minds.

Life is such a circle isn’t it? But you know, every season has its own time to shine and since we can’t go back in time we need to learn how to deal with what issues come with each age. One of my friends was talking about how she had been dealing with various muscles and joints hurting which she had just assumed it was probably arthritis, however, after being tested her doctor said it was not related to arthritis which she found surprising. I found this interesting and wondered if other women might be going through the same thing.

After doing some research on the subject I found that it is quite common for women in menopause to suffer with generalized achy muscles, bones and joints and unless they have been diagnosed with some sort of arthritis, or other diseases like Lupus or MS, chances are the likely culprit is chronic inflammation in the body.

You may or may not be surprised as to one of the things that can contribute to inflammation in our bodies. It has to do with something that we Americans do on a daily basis, and that is consuming foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and too low in omega-3 essential fatty acids like white bread, pasta, white rice, and sugary drinks. Even most snack foods if you think about it, are made with white flour unless they are made with whole grains.

It is proven that a healthy diet can help reduce menopause pain. You know… I’m going to be real honest with you here. Is there anybody else out there who would appreciate it if just once, just once, it would be recommended for whatever ailment that is being talked about that the cure for it would be to go and eat a donut? I can’t be the only one can I? Well, sad to say I don’t think that will ever happen so I guess we will have to go with the experts on this one again. I know we have all heard it before about eating a healthy diet, but once again it seems to apply here. Isn’t is amazing how many ailments and conditions can be attributed to eating a crappy diet?

Another contributing factor can be low estrogen levels which is very common for women in menopause, and which usually correspond with low serotonin levels (an important neurotransmitter which regulates mood and pain receptors). Long term stress can also contribute to chronic inflammation due to high cortisol levels being released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Women going through peri-menopause often suffer with adrenal fatigue, and consequently, also have very high levels of cortisol in their bodies.

No matter what the cause is, dealing with all the pain is not much fun. In fact with all of the other symptoms that us women can experience during this transitional time in our lives we need to make sure we are taking care of our bodies.

Some women might opt to take hormone replacement therapy to get them through, others might want to take a more naturalistic approach with diet and vitamin supplements along with regular exercise or even something like yoga. Some might want to try a combination of both. Even though the transition period of menopause brings many changes to your life and can be quite frustrating to navigate through them all, it is comforting to know that there are things that you can do to bring some relief. The good news is that this phase of your life is going to pass just like all of the other phases that you have gone through.

Sometimes just being able to talk about your feelings and the symptoms you are experiencing with someone can bring a sense of relief. If you are in this period of life and are feeling frustrated and would like someone to talk to about what you are going through, I invite you to call me at (616) 516-1570 or use the contact tab on the lower right hand corner of the page. I would like