“Oh, honey, it is just part of getting older.” It’s as if women and aging are synonymous with misery and ill health.
I have heard this time and again and it drives me crazy. I hear these platitudes from not only older mothers and friends, but from colleagues as well. Imagine… my OB-GYN telling me that feeling tired, overweight, sleepless, and irritable is normal and part of the aging process. If you are anything like me, this is not acceptable.
First, some facts about women and aging
Being a woman is amazing. But…
- Do you know that women in our sixties are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than we are to develop breast cancer?
- We are also twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as our male counterparts?
- We are also more likely to develop thyroid disorders and disease, breast cancer, and stroke than men are.
Also, not OK with me.
Why does aging affect women unfairly?
Do you ever wonder why we have this unfair disadvantage? Think estrogen. It is the thing we have in abundance over men. Estrogen is amazingly protective during the childbearing years. It keeps your body in tip-top shape before, during and after pregnancy (when it functions properly).
This amazing system can be and is often disrupted long before menopause. Women in their 20s and early 30s can have hormone disruption.
Signs of a hormone disruption:
- Weight gain
- Problems with menstrual cycles
- Mood swings
- Low libido
What is disrupting women’s hormones?
Estrogen and all the other hormones in your body are produced in an intricate system called the endocrine system. Both men and women have an endocrine system and can develop imbalances.
The world around you assaults your endocrine system. Chemicals in foods, chemicals in body products, chemicals in food packaging, medications, even birth control pills. All hormone disruptors.
What’s worse is that so many of these hormone disruptors specifically impact your estrogen levels. This affects women more than men. For example, BPA is a common chemical in plastics–including the plastics you eat and drink from. BPA mimics your natural estrogen level. When researchers have tested women for BPA levels, it far exceeded natural levels of estrogen, or even synthetic levels in birth control. These are just the external factors.
Stress affects your estrogen. Sleep affects your estrogen. There is not a single body system that is untouched by these external factors. Now for the good news: it can be repaired!
Three steps to age well with healthy hormones
- Get some answers. Have your hormone levels checked. Find out if your estrogen is behaving like it should. Knowing and making some changes can make the difference between “Oh, honey.” and “How do you stay so healthy?”
- Build a relationship with a clinician who can give you guidance and support. There is a lot of evidence out there about hormone restoration. You do not have to find it all on your own. The best clinician has not only been through the process him or herself but has trained to know how to get you to where you want to be in the fastest, safest, and most cost-effective way.
- Get your family and friends onboard. You will need some support as you consider some of the changes needed to optimize your hormones. Are you ready to change it up? Eat some new foods? Try some new beauty products? Maybe train for that 5K you have been thinking about?
When I hear “Oh, honey, it is just part of getting older,” I push back and choose to fight for my vitality as I age. I encourage you to do the same.
“I always get to where I am going by walking away from where I have been.” -Pooh