Throughout my 30s I didn’t really like to think about "the change of life"…it seemed so far off and kind of “oldish”. Now, that I am in my 40s I think about it a lot more. Many of my friends and clients are thinking about it too and some have even started to go through it. Yep….Hot flashes. Moodiness. Sluggishness. Weight gain (again?!?). Dry vagina and losing that sexy feeling. Wow…is this the picture of womanhood I’m destined for? Is this the fate for all women?
Today, I am going to tell you why I am heaping a ton of energy RIGHT NOW into my adrenal health so that I can do my best to have a smooth transition into menopause in the next decade and still feel sexy and vibrant.
Next time, I am going to tell you 3 things RIGHT NOW you can do to help your adrenals so that you, too, can feel saucy, radiant, and full of vitality in these transitional years (even if you are in your 20s or 30s…what you do for your adrenals impacts your sexuality now and menopause later).
First idea to solidify in your mind: Support your adrenal glands BEFORE menopause.
How do you support your adrenals? Numero uno…reduce stress as much as possible. Reducing stress is key because when you stay in a state of stress, nutrients are continually needed to produce the hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, that manage stress each day. The nutrient raw materials for stress hormones are actually the same raw materials for your sex hormones. When your body is forced to continually respond to the psychological and physiological experience of some kind of threat, your adrenal glands will rob most or all of the nutrients your sex glands need to produce all the hormones you need to feel saucy. The lovely name for this is "the adrenal steal".
Your body is going to prioritize survival (the fight or flight response caused by stress) over other fun functions like lubrication for sex, reproducing, and feeling “in the mood”.
While many things impact stress levels, my focus with women is addressing the stress in the body caused by dietary habits and nutrient deficiencies. What are the biggest dietary habits taxing the adrenals? Blood sugar disregulation from a diet too abundant in carbs and sugars, skipping meals, and too little to eat.
So, as hard as it is at times, I am doing all I can to balance my blood sugar levels and eat regular, abundant meals. I have to balance my blood sugar in order to have nutrients available to shuttle over to my sex hormones.
You see, our adrenals weren’t even designed to be involved with blood sugar management on a regular basis…but each time we spike our blood sugar (yummy donuts and coffee) and then crash, our adrenals step in to help keep our blood sugar levels in a decent range. Stopping the spikes and dips in blood sugar caused by excessive carbs and long stretches between feedings will significantly reduce the burden on the adrenals.
OK, so what does reducing the stress on the adrenals have to do with menopause?
Menopause is a time when the ovaries are handing back the responsibility of estrogen and progesterone production back to the adrenals. If the adrenals are not solid and vibrant, because they are burdened from a lifetime of having to respond to dietary and lifestyle stressors, then this additional responsibility to take care of the estrogen and progesterone production will feel burdensome. The transition of this hormone production from the ovaries to adrenals (if they are weary) is not smooth for many and symptoms of upheaval result...the night sweats, hot flashes, weight gain, moodiness, etc.
Even though the adrenals are going to be in charge of producing and balancing these hormones in the menopausal years, the adrenals will prioritize making stress hormones, i.e. cortisol, rather than the sex hormones if the body is still in a stressed state. So, supporting the adrenals through nutrients (quality proteins and fats, along with quality carbohydrates) and removing stressors (skipping meals, scant meals, and blood sugar disregulation) will help clear the path to make the proper amount of sex hormones for the menopausal years.
What can you do RIGHT NOW to support your adrenals? Stay tuned….