Read I'm Too Young for This!: The Natural Hormone Solution to Enjoy Perimenopause Online
Authors: Suzanne Somers
Tags: #Health & Fitness, #Healthy Living, #Alternative Therapies, #Sexuality
Blending our family was a lot of work. I have to say there were many nights I would lie in the dark wondering if it was all worth
it. I have to say also that, in retrospect, during the time we were blending our family, not only were
hormones changing but they were also colliding with my teenage stepdaughter’s hormones. She was sixteen and the combination of the two of us going through severe hormonal changes was awful.
Looking back, I feel terrible I had so little understanding of what was happening to both of us at that time. Had I known anything about it I would have been able to help her and help myself at the same time. Ironically every story line we did on
was about a misunderstanding, and at home misunderstandings were our running theme. Not easy.
I had had a rocky start in life, an abusive alcoholic father, exacerbated by nights filled with fear. By contrast, my adult life was wonderful and beyond my wildest expectations. Professionally, I was enjoying tremendous success, and personally, I luxuriated in a love affair with my husband that I had never known was possible. Putting our two families together was the difficult part; feelings were fragile all around, but years of hard work was paying off. We were making it … then came perimenopause!
By nature, I’m a happy, upbeat person. I love life and even in the worst of times I tend to look at all situations as a “glass half full.” But now it was beginning to become harder and harder to feel happy or upbeat or loving or funny. I was white-knuckling through every day.
I went from doctor to doctor, getting the same explanations, “It’s a passage, dear, it will pass!” No, I would say, “It’s not passing!”
“Take this antidepressant, dear, it will make you feel better.”
“Take this sleeping pill, it will help you sleep.”
“Take this antianxiety pill and everything will be okay.”
“Oops. Your blood pressure is going up. Here’s some medication. Oops! Your cholesterol is off. Here’s another pill.”
I didn’t want their drugs! There had to be another way. I didn’t
know what, but I had to find some answer because I was falling apart!
Are you relating?
It got worse, I found myself “pissed off” most the time. What happened to
? Where was “
” gone? I found myself crying (a lot), I was unhappy, and now I was getting fat. I had the fun experience of having the
print candid pictures of me saying, “Her suit looks snug.” That’s what I needed, feeling like crap every day and now I had the tabloids commenting on every new fat little inch on my once perfect body. I would look at old
reruns and all I could see was how thin I was. Instead of laughing and enjoying the fun of the show, I was fixated by my adorable teeny little waistline.
I felt like the good times in my life were over. I felt miserable. And I took it out on my incredible husband. It’s hard to be Mrs. Wonderful when you haven’t slept for three years. My eyes looked tired and worn out, with dark circles underneath them from adrenal burnout. At that time I had no idea how important the adrenals were to health and well-being. To compensate, I’d pile on more concealer.
One day I snapped at Alan for something minuscule and stupid and he got quiet, very quiet, then he said, “You know, Suzanne, a marriage can only take so much of this.”
Oh my God! Now I was pushing away the best thing in my life: my pal, my lover, my best friend, my business partner, my husband.
I knew I had to get a grip.
I went from doctor to doctor looking for someone, anyone, who knew the answer to this premenopausal nightmare. I was stunned by the ignorance. No one, not one doctor had a clue how to help me that didn’t include drugs. I was offered synthetic hormones.
“But these give you cancer!” I said.
“It’s all we’ve got, dear,” is what I heard repeatedly. (If one more doctor called me “dear,” I was going to get a gun.)
Then I heard about an endocrinologist in Santa Barbara (from my manicurist, bless her) who was giving women something called bioidentical hormones. I did my blood work in advance, and on the day of my appointment I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway at full speed to maybe find relief.
The doctor said to me, “You poor thing.”
“What?” I asked, almost in tears.
“You have almost no progesterone. Your ratio is completely off, and your estrogen is way too low,” she said. “You must feel terrible.”
“I do!” I wailed pathetically.
What I didn’t and couldn’t know right then was that this was
when my life was going to turn around.
That was fifteen years ago.
are there. You are feeling similar symptoms and they are disrupting your life. That’s why you are reading this book, to find an answer and get some help. Let me tell you right now …
Just know this; the way you’ve been feeling (and acting) is not your fault. Hormones are in control of us physically and emotionally. PMS? It feels
, right? It is. Your chemicals are messed up and
we are our chemicals
Now these little chemical messengers are running are all over
the place. But just knowing it’s not your fault won’t make you feel better. I’m sure you feel terrible about your behavior, like I used to feel the next day, when things calmed down. But I’ll tell you:
What I’m saying right now is very important; what we do when we have these outbursts is damaging. It’s not your fault—you have not been educated in body chemistry—but nonetheless, these flare-ups wound and hurt the ones you love. When you find it in your heart (and pride), apologize! Explain to your loved one(s) how out of control you’ve been feeling. Promise that you are now on a path to wellness and that it’s all going to be okay again. I cannot stress the importance and healing of this simple first step.
You must also know this; you are not alone. Men experience declining hormones also, but they are reluctant (and often clueless) to talk about their symptoms. (Most older men—starting in their late forties and early fifties—have no idea that the belly hanging over their belt, their sagging shoulders and loss of muscle tone, high cholesterol, or multiple heart medications have anything to do with hormones.)
We women begin to lose optimal levels of our female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) during perimenopause, which can last for ten to twelve years before menopause, when there is an almost sudden drop in all our hormones. That’s why the effect is so, as they say, “in your face.” Men have it a little easier, although the outcome reached is similar. On an emotional level, testosterone is what gives men their enthusiasm and confidence. When it drops too low they experience the blues and grumpiness just like we do.
At present the orthodox medical community doesn’t accept
that there are safe, effective, natural ways to deal with this challenging passage. They deal with the symptoms of this life transition by prescribing various drugs, what I call the Band-Aid approach. But these solutions promote other negative health changes in women and men, and cause many other conditions to worsen as a result.
This is the book you’ve been waiting for. I’ve been there and survived and I am now enjoying superb health and an incredible quality of life; in fact, my experience is joyous.
You too can enjoy perimenopause! Yes, I said enjoy and I mean it.
I will explain what I did, whom I learned from, and what you can expect. It’s all good. You are going to be fine; in fact, your life will be better in most cases than ever before. This book will guide you through this difficult and confusing passage.
You are about to get your life back. You are about to be able to enjoy each day and wake up happy and balanced. You are about to realize that this next passage brings with it confidence, joy, and wisdom. You are about to enter the best time of your life. What you have been experiencing—not understanding your feelings, your moods, your body changes, your lack of control—has been devastating.
You want better. You deserve better.
Your answers are here. Say good-bye to the Band-Aid approach of traditional medicine. You are going to have energy, vitality, without drugs. You are going to feel like having sex again (even if right now you don’t think you care), your moods are going to stabilize, and your weight will normalize. You are going to be okay, and you are going to be healthy … very healthy. Stay with me.
The health issues you face are fixable by restoring hormones the natural way. No matter your age or gender, restoring your
hormones to their optimal healthy levels has the same effect as giving water to a dying plant.
Before we go any further, let’s take a peek at exactly what’s going on inside the female body during our different life transitions.
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry with your girlfriends.
Today, looking at my granddaughters as they enter puberty I understand from my own life experience that they can’t know that the ease of their little girl lives is now going to start becoming complicated. Chemical changes and life itself become very difficult to understand. This is the life cycle. As we enter womanhood we grow breasts, our moods change, our bodies change, the
, uncharted new territory.
Becoming a woman, especially
before you are a woman
, is a difficult passage at best. There is so much pressure. You may be the first one in your class to get your period, or the last one; both
scenarios feel awful. You may be the one with the huge boobs, or the one whose breasts have not grown at all and the boys notice. Again, either way, other kids make fun of you, and you feel mortified.
I was the last in my class to grow breasts and the last to get my period. I was so embarrassed by this that I pretended I had my period when I really didn’t just so I wasn’t
one who was “
out of the group
.” I made up stories about my “cramps” like the other girls. There was always some girl in the class who had cramps so bad, real or imagined, that she had to be sent home. I wished so much then that it could be me. (Imagine.)
One day, the other girls found out I was lying when my mother, who did not know how to tell a lie or be dishonest, told the mother of the most popular girl in the class that she didn’t know why I was such a late bloomer.
The word was out and they all made fun of me. “How could you?” I wailed to my perplexed mother.
The year before this, the Catholic school I attended started running those scratchy black-and-white films showing sterile pictures of fallopian tubes and talking about “bleeding.”
I didn’t want to know anything about it, at the time, which is pretty funny considering my work now. But I digress. So there I was, the only one in my class without her period and wishing/praying for it!
It all seems silly now, but so overwhelming when you are a fifteen-year-old.
Why did I even want the process to begin? I had the freedom of living without hormonal cycles, and the relatively steady physical and emotional balance of that freedom. Yet I did not know to appreciate it. No one told me about the long, drawn-out process I was about to enter; I did not know of the cycles of woman.
Then it finally came … a spot of blood. I was thrilled! “Guess what?” I blurted out to my mother. “I’m bleeding!” She seemed
embarrassed, but later that evening without a mention she put a box of Kotex (trade name for humongous sanitary pads) in my room along with this awful-looking strap-thing-y to hold it on to my skinny little body. It felt like I was riding a horse, but I wore it proudly and complained about the discomfort to my girlfriends (for attention) while I prayed for cramps.
My mother was very Victorian, modest and shy, so she never really talked to me about it. In fact, the entire “sex talk” we had happened one day when I was standing on the kitchen stool putting away some dishes for her on a high shelf. She remarked that I had some hair under my arms (about four strands), and then she whispered, “Oh, do you have it
. That was it; the closest we ever got to talking about my changing body, my transition, my new life. A product of her time, my mother’s shame of her own body became my shame, so I kept all things girly and personal to myself.
I entered womanhood having no idea of what it meant.
A PEEK UNDER THE HOOD
The female body is miraculous and complex, capable of bringing new life into the world by way of our reproductive organs. But what exactly goes on “down there” and in there? It’s important to understand how our bodies work: our exquisite female reproductive system consists of internal and external parts.
The external parts include the labia majora and the labia minora, also called lips, that surround the vagina and urethra and protect the internal organs from infectious organisms. The internal parts include the vagina, which claims both the functions of enabling sperm to enter the woman’s body and being a birth canal. The uterus is the organ that carries a growing fetus, and the cervix is the lower part of the uterus
that joins the uterus and the vagina. The ovaries, which rest to either side, produce eggs, and the fallopian tubes allow eggs to travel into the uterus.
Our bodies are magnificent. Each month we experience apoptosis, a fancy name for the necessary death of cells. We can understand this better by an explanation of our monthly period and what happens in the uterus. Each month we shed the lining of the endometrium (cell death) and it is cleared from our bodies through the process called menstruation. This monthly bleed is a necessary form of cell death to make way for new cells and to remove cells whose DNA has been damaged to the point at which cancerous change is liable to occur. It’s a brilliant process, always clearing our bodies monthly to keep us healthy; it is only interrupted if we become pregnant, and in that case the endometrium lining holds the nourishment for the developing fetus.
If an egg released from the ovaries is fertilized by sperm, and pregnancy occurs, it will travel through the fallopian tube and implant itself in the uterus. During pregnancy, the egg, or embryo, grows into a fetus inside the uterus, which expands in size to accommodate the developing baby. A woman carries the baby in her uterus, or womb, until the baby is ready to be born.
When a woman’s body expels all the eggs produced by the ovaries during the course of her lifetime, menopause begins and the ability to reproduce ends. Menopause should really be called “egglessness.” It’s a friendlier term. Before we get to eggless, however, our hormones begin to decline subtly, in what we call perimenopause. Meaning you can still reproduce but it will become more difficult to conceive, difficult to carry to full term, and the eggs left are often not as strong and healthy. Sometimes, but not always, this leaves babies born to moms at risk for birth defects and health conditions.
As fully reproductive women we make enough estrogen each month so that it reaches its peak on the twelfth
day, stops the growth of cells, and makes progesterone receptors. Without an estrogen peak, your brain can’t send the signal to release any of the eggs you have left. With no estrogen peak there’s no feedback information to shut off follicle-stimulating hormone, so FSH pours constantly, over-stimulating your ovaries and ripening all at once most of the eggs you have left. The loss of this rhythm in perimenopause actually triggers the destruction of the rest of your eggs through the action of excessive FSH, using up the remainder of your eggs. At about this time, you begin to feel the heat of hot flashes. That’s how the system effectively shuts itself down for good. This process can take a decade—a
This is all background to explain why the healthiest woman is a reproductive woman, and once hormones begin to decline, new science has proved that replacing the missing hormones restores a woman to her healthiest prime even though she is no longer capable of making a baby.