My Hot MESS of a Hormone Journey


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Today is a woman-to-woman girl chat! Grab a cup of coffee and join me as I overshare about my journey through perimenopause and into menopause.

Here's what I'll cover:

  • Feeling unlike yourself...could it be perimenopause or menopause?
  • Insomnia, hot flashes, weight gain, anxiety, depression, ugh!
  • Hormones making you feel like you're going to lose it? 
  • Feeling very really alone, and like no one gets it or cares?
  • Wonder how long it takes to feel better and when it's going to end?

I have gotten hundreds of emails asking for me to share my hormone journey. I wish someone would have told me the things that I'm going to share with you today. Although every woman's hormone journey is different, and I'm not a doctor, it feels good to know that you're not alone!

Let’s dive in.

What Perimenopause Looked Like For Me

Did you know perimenopause can start in your 30s and the average for women to go through menopause is 51?

When I was 45 I noticed my periods (told you I was going to be very real) were getting very heavy so I went to the doctor. As she reviewed my blood panel she said, "Kim, you're so anemic. I am worried about you." She was concerned I had blood cancer. She suggested I avoid working out because she was worried I was going to faint, and she sent me to see a specialist. 

When I went to the specialist, I learned I was in perimenopause; I was told this causes heavy periods. As we age, our periods can get very heavy and I ended up having to have a uterine ablation which treats the inner lining of your uterus to control or stop the bleeding but it does not involve the removal of your uterus and it does not affect your hormone levels. What we were trying to do was get rid of the massive blood loss because of my blood cell count.

After four years, it failed. Around that time,I started to notice that if I had spicy food, or if I ate salsa, I couldn't sleep at night. I would wake up hot, and then I couldn't go back to sleep and I would lay there awake. I started to experience hot flashes and struggle with insomnia. I was coming to the end of perimenopause. I got some bloodwork done to check and they said I wasn't in menopause yet, but I was getting close.

In case you didn't know, you're officially in menopause when you've gone one year without a period.

Why can't I sleep? Why can't I lose weight? Why do I feel so unlike myself?

In case you don't know the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, here are a few from the Mayo Clinic

Throughout the menopausal transition, some subtle — and some not-so-subtle — changes in your body may take place. You might experience:

  • Irregular periods. As ovulation becomes more unpredictable, the length of time between periods may be longer or shorter, your flow may be light to heavy, and you may skip some periods. If you have a persistent change of seven days or more in the length of your menstrual cycle, you may be in early perimenopause. If you have a space of 60 days or more between periods, you're likely in late perimenopause.
  • Hot flashes and sleep problems. Hot flashes are common during perimenopause. The intensity, length, and frequency vary. Sleep problems are often due to hot flashes or night sweats, but sometimes sleep becomes unpredictable even without them.
  • Mood changes. Mood swings, irritability, or increased risk of depression may happen during perimenopause. The cause of these symptoms may be sleep disruption associated with hot flashes. Mood changes may also be caused by factors not related to the hormonal changes of perimenopause.
  • Vaginal and bladder problems. When estrogen levels diminish, your vaginal tissues may lose lubrication and elasticity, making intercourse painful. Low estrogen may also leave you more vulnerable to urinary or vaginal infections. Loss of tissue tone may contribute to urinary incontinence.
  • Decreasing fertility. As ovulation becomes irregular, your ability to conceive decreases. However, as long as you're having periods, pregnancy is still possible. If you wish to avoid pregnancy, use birth control until you've had no periods for 12 months.
  • Changes in sexual function. During perimenopause, sexual arousal and desire may change. But if you had satisfactory sexual intimacy before menopause, this will likely continue through perimenopause and beyond.
  • Loss of bone. With declining estrogen levels, you start to lose bone more quickly than you replace it, increasing your risk of osteoporosis — a disease that causes fragile bones.
  • Changing cholesterol levels. Declining estrogen levels may lead to unfavorable changes in your blood cholesterol levels, including an increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the "bad" cholesterol — which contributes to an increased risk of heart disease. At the same time, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — the "good" cholesterol — decreases in many women as they age, which also increases the risk of heart disease.

At 50, I discovered that I had very, very little estrogen, and progesterone but my thyroid was fine. This is what was causing all of the symptoms.

I kept telling myself the hot flashes and night sweats, insomnia, anxiety, were all going to end, my body will just adjust and I'll be fine, but that wasn't the case.

One symptom that was particularly awful was what menopausal women call the dreads. It is caused by the surge of adrenaline that you get from hot flashes that feel like anxiety. The dreads feel like something bad is going to anxiety.

In case you don't know what a hot flash is? It feels like anxiety. For those of us who have anxiety, this is important to know. People who suffer from anxiety and have hot flashes get a double blow.

Hot flashes are surges of adrenaline that automatically wake the brain and activate your body's fight-or-flight response. They can lead to sweating and the body's temperature changing, which can be uncomfortable and make it even more difficult to fall back to sleep. Yep, that was me!

When your hormones aren't balanced, sleep is so hard, because progesterone calms you down, but you don't have any. And if your estrogen is low, you're in this constant fight or flight feeling. This can make you feel exhausted, restless, and short-tempered because you're not sleeping and everything you eat seems to stick to your midsection because your cortisol has gone up.

I remember saying to my doctor, I just want to sleep!  

My Wake-up Call

So, after two years of living like this, I hit a breaking point and I called my integrative doctor. We tested my blood and I had 0 progesterone and 4 Estrogen. This was really bad.  For reference, I was told normal levels are 50 for estrogen and progesterone should be at least a tenth of that.

My Dr. said something that made me change my mind about going on hormones. He said, Kim, did you know that not having any progesterone or estrogen is very hard on your heart, brain and bones? 

Those words changed everything, because my dad had a stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, a quadruple bypass, a kidney transplant and died of a massive heart attack. 

That was my wake-up call.

Be Your Own Advocate

Be particular and do your research when choosing a Dr.

If any of this hot mess sounds familiar, you don't have to live the way that you're living and white-knuckling it daily, Be particular and do your research when you're choosing a doctor. One doctor tried to put me on an estrogen patch but my integrative doctor told me that it could have been potentially harmful to my liver because there was no progesterone involved, and it could raise the risk for cancer. You want to have a full working knowledge of your hormones and the prescription that you need for your body because we're all different. 

There are many treatment options, but my Dr. felt that a compounded cream specific to my hormone profile was what would work for me. I apply it twice daily and I've been doing that for five months. I wanted to be able to quickly adjust doses to find what worked for me by monitoring my blood. This is another reason I did not do pellets or patches.

 Ask your Dr. what's best for you. I prefer and trust my integrative Dr, because he will do anything and everything natural before he writes an Rx.

He told me that quite often women come in and say they have anxiety or depression and they get put on an anti-depressant but what they really need is to balance their hormones.

 My Top Tips

Going through this made me feel desperate for answers, so I read everything I could find. Here’s are the tips I collected along the way: 

  1. Don’t make an idol out of menopause. Make a decision that this is not going to ruin your life. Your emotions are going to want to boss you around and be on the throne, so spend time with God daily to protect your mind and heart. 

Prayer and breathing are so good for you right now. Try taking just 5 minutes a day to listen to Christian music and breathe or sit with your eyes closed and pray. Calm yourself by talking to God. Go outside get some vitamin d and meditate on scripture. 

Jesus was my rock through this, turning to Him held me and gave me hope. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have Him to talk to.

  1. Food is a big deal during this phase of your life. Food is so important. Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol are like pouring gasoline on hot flashes, and your body is prone to store fat right now, so avoid sugar and man-made processed foods, they will stick to you like glue. 

I learned you can eat perfectly but it still doesn't get rid of hot flashes, it helps but it’s an estrogen issue. You can eat estrogen-boosting foods you can take supplements but if your levels are really low, you may need more help. Here’s a truth no one wants to hear, as we age, we don’t need as much food as we once did. Eating smaller meals that are nutrient-dense, and made with the highest quality God-made ingredients will make you feel so much better. Really listen to and love on your body right now. Journal the foods that cause hot flashes and avoid them. Fill your plate with God-made goodness, your body needs it. Take charge of your foods and drink plenty of water because these hormones changes are very dehydrating. 

  1. You might need to adjust your workouts. More is not always better when it comes to intense workouts, the stress hormone cortisol can be elevated during this time and it’s not your friend when it comes to belly fat or anxiety. You might need to back off intense training if you’re doing it frequently. I started walking with my husband, weight training, taking barre classes, and doing a lot of stretching and breathing to take care of myself.

It helps to tell yourself to move every day to take care of yourself, and not just for weight loss but for your emotional, mental health, and better sleep.

  1. Let perfectionism go and let grace reign

You will need to remind yourself that this is a phase of life and it will pass, talk to friends who are going through it, laugh about it, pray about it, take back your emotions, don’t be hard on yourself, and don’t let it run your life

  • You’re not crazy
  • You’re not losing it
  • You’re not alone
  • You still have a whole life in front of you, beyond hormones full of memories to make!

Let the things go that can wait, this is not the time to stress yourself out with more. 

Bless my Mom’s heart she was always there to listen she told me a story one time she was in a grocery store and she was having hot flashes and these two older ladies said, "Don’t worry honey, there is life after menopause." LOL

5. Understand hormones so you can make educated decisions. Hormonal balance is the key to helping you burn fat, improve your mood, sleep, and get yourself back to feeling like you again!

Here's my call to action for you today, If you're struggling to sleep, can't seem to lose weight, suffering from hot flashes, or feel like you need help, please call your Dr. and get a hormone panel done. You don't have to live this way. 

When you have balanced hormones, you have strong bones, hydrated skin, a healthy heart healthy metabolism, and a balanced mood.

How I feel now

I remember the first night I used the cream. My husband had taken me on a date. I’m telling you the moment my body got the faintest whiff of estrogen and progesterone, I felt better. I’m not kidding.  Progesterone is calming, so I finally slept. I thank Jesus and don’t laugh, but I pray when I put that cream on... Father, bless these hormones to my body!

I remember hearing Joyce Meyer say, "Sometimes you get healing from God and sometimes you get it from medicine." 

I want to thank God that I feel so much better. I sleep now, my body fat is lower, my weight went back down, my hot flashes are gone and I no longer feel that anxiety dread that I once lived with.  

A Prayer for You

Dear God,

I know someone needed to hear this. There are women going through this that feel so desperate for answers and alone as I did. Father, at this moment, comfort their hearts, put it on their hearts, whether or not they should seek help. In my heart, I don't want anyone to suffer or feel like she's the only one who feels this way. Be with us God and show us that this is merely a chapter in our story and soon you will turn the page and it will be behind us. 

You are living hope God. Help us take the best care of ourselves through this time and not give up in the overwhelm of it all. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, help us eat the foods you made for our bodies and take care of our temples the very best we can. Guide my sister's Father at this moment guide them, speak to their hearts if they need medical care. And lastly, thank you for the gift of my sisters. Let this remind us that we never know what someone is going through so we can remember to be loving and kind to each other and even give ourselves grace.

In Jesus' name, amen. 

Faith Fuel 

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). The aging process, including menopause, is not to be feared, and we have the assurance that God’s grace is sufficient to get us through whatever life throws at us: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). We can be assured that God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

If you’re going through menopause, you do not need to feel helpless or alone. We are known intimately by God, and He cares for us. “If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:9–11). This is God’s promise to all who love Him. Let Him be your refuge and your strength. And take comfort in knowing that this, too, will pass.

Well there it is, my hot MESS of a hormone journey. I pray sharing this has helped you dear sister-friend.

With SO much love,

P.S. If you prefer videos, you can watch this episode here.

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