The holiday season is all about family, gatherings and celebrations — but for many women, it can be a time of stress, chores, planning and exhaustion. For women also dealing with the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, the holidays can seem unbearably overwhelming.
During this time of giving, it can be hard to remember to put yourself and your health needs before the holiday hustle and bustle. Keep reading for some helpful tips for managing your menopause during the holidays and more information about how KC Medical & Wellness Center can help with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy!
How Holiday Stress (and Winter Weather) Affects Your Hormones
According to a study from University College London, “stress is well-documented to worsen menopause symptoms.” These symptoms include:
- Emotional changes, such as anxiety and irritability
- Hot flashes and/or night sweats
- Dry skin
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased libido
- Inability to focus
- Joint pain
- Increased body odor
- Memory lapses
- Oral burning sensations
- Dental issues
- Electric shock sensations
Perimenopause, which can also be intensified by stress, lasts between four to six months and happens as women’s estrogen and progesterone levels begin to drop when they near menopause. During perimenopause, many women experience similar unpleasant symptoms, including the following:
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Memory problems
- Loss of sexual interest
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood swings
Multiple outside factors besides holiday stress can make the symptoms of menopause worse this time of year, including the shift to winter weather. According to Pause Well Aging, the SWAN Menstrual Calendar Study investigated that changing seasons impact women’s periods and onset menopause, “including a significant increase in hot flashes and night sweats being a strong predictor of the approach of the final menstrual period.” Additionally, the study found there is “a link between seasons and menstrual symptoms, with cooler, darker months being associated with the start of menopause. It appears menopause pain points may be worse in winter and the darker, colder months can bring about the start of menopause in many women.”
Colder temperatures and the change in exposure to daylight impacts your vitamin D production, thus contributing to your menopause symptoms. Plus, in general, people are less active in the winter which can also impact hormone production and hormone imbalance.
Luckily, there are ways to ease your symptoms and your stress this busy time of year.
Don’t Sweat the Holidays — or Menopause!
According to Gennev, “Heightened stress and more frequent or intense menopause symptoms aren’t going to help you spread any kind of good cheer this year. Make a plan for less stress with an informed approach, a few boundaries and a smart intention for fun and enjoyment for all, including yourself.”
Before letting the holidays overwhelm you, take a moment to remind yourself how last year panned out. You made it through, despite the stress! Gennev suggests asking yourself these questions to mentally prepare for holiday stress:
- Did anything happen last year that made you feel overwhelmed, anxious or sad? What about lonely or depressed? What about joyful, calm or content? Take a moment to reflect on the good and the bad feelings.
- What, if anything, from last year, would you like to repeat and enjoy again this year?
- Can you identify the top three things that may inspire overwhelm, anxiety or loneliness again this year? How can you mitigate those that stress from happening this year?
- What are some ways you can feel at peace? ie. writing in your journal, taking a walk, enjoying time with loved ones.
It’s difficult to tackle both the holidays and unpredictable menopause symptoms. Having a plan to decrease stress factors within your control can help!
As for your menopause, you may feel like your symptoms are beyond your control. At KC Medical & Wellness Center, we have some solutions to help ease your menopause symptoms and get you back to feeling like yourself again — Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
What is BHRT?
Bioidentical hormones? Hormone Replacement Therapy? We know these terms can be confusing. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, or BHRT, uses hormones that are identical to the ones you have lost with the onset of menopause. Although your body is no longer producing these hormones, BHRT re-introduces the hormones you’ve lost — safely and effectively.
Hormones are special chemical messengers created by glands in the body’s endocrine system. The body has many different hormones, but certain types play a bigger role in the body’s health and well-being. At KC Medical & Wellness Center, we mainly focus on the hormones most directly impact sexual health, including:
- Estrogen: For women, estrogen is the main sex hormone.
- Progesterone: Progesterone is similar to estrogen but is not considered the main sex hormone. Like estrogen, it assists with the menstrual cycle.
- Testosterone: Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men. Among other things, It increases bone density and causes muscle mass growth and strength.
During the peri-menopausal years, the hormones in your body will begin to fluctuate. After you enter menopause, your estrogen levels have dropped sharply and progesterone levels are nearly non-existent, creating a serious imbalance between these two hormones.
At KC Medical & Wellness Center, we use customized hormone treatments for women who are peri-menopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal — but anyone experiencing symptoms relating to hormonal imbalance is a good candidate for BHRT.
Bioidentical hormones are manufactured hormones that are chemically the same as those the human body naturally produces. We use hormones created from plant-based sources, such as hormones from wild yams. These hormones are actually more identical to a woman’s natural hormones on a molecular level than synthetic hormones. Plus, since this treatment is comprised of the identical chemical and molecular structure that your body naturally produced, it has numerous benefits over synthetic hormones.
Unlike women who take synthetic hormones, bioidentical hormones are natural and identical to what is already in your body and patients using this treatment experience fewer side effects. Plus, the hormones and BHRT treatment are FDA-approved, so you can rest assured that they have been rigorously tested and are safe.
Your symptoms will begin to disappear soon after you begin your customized treatment. Once your original hormone levels have been restored, you’ll begin to look and feel like you did years — even decades — earlier. Plus, the risks associated with menopause and post-menopause — including increased risk of osteoporosis, cardiac issues and higher cholesterol — will be to reverse themselves.
The pellets we use at KC Medical & Wellness Center are small — about the size of a grain of rice — and made from organic plant materials. Pellet therapy is particularly effective because the pellets are placed under the skin, and they administer the specific dosage of hormones that are needed over a specific period of time directly into the bloodstream. For more information about our pellet therapy, check out our blog!
Put Yourself First This Holiday — Treat Yourself to BHRT with KC Wellness!
Just like the stress of the holiday, most women face the changes that menopause brings with some trepidation. Once a woman has reached this stage, her body no longer produces the same level of estrogen or progesterone hormones. Because of these decreased hormones, menopause is often accompanied by a host of physical, emotional and sexual health problems.
When you visit KC Medical & Wellness Center, we will set aside time to talk to you about your overall health — including your health history — and the changes you’ve experienced with the onset of menopause. Then, we will give you a comprehensive medical exam and blood tests that will help us determine your customized plan. This plan is designed just for your body and may include various levels of natural estrogen and progesterone. After your treatment begins, we will ask you to return to our center for weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly follow-up appointments.
We’ve helped many women regain their physical and emotional health and well-being through BHRT. Call 816-214-5276 or contact KC Medical & Wellness Center today to make an appointment.