Many of the traits we brush off as just part of being a woman might actually be symptoms
Moodiness, exhaustion, cravings…we’ve all experienced them at some point and may have even written them off as part of "being a woman" or "that time of the month." They could be... but maybe not, says Dr. Sara Gottfried, a Harvard-trained integrative physician. Some of the common ailments women convince themselves to deal with could actually be treatable.
Alert every man who’s ever given you a hard time for “PMS-ing”! Your moodiness could actually have a genetic root. “Your genes are inherited from your parents, and 50 to 80 percent of how the genes are expressed is determined by how you eat, move, supplement, sleep and think,” says Dr. Gottfried. A genetic test can help your physician determine if your diet and supplements are helping or hurting your mood.
Excessive sleepiness can actually be a result of adrenal fatigue. “Many women have issues with adrenal fatigue and don’t realize it,” says Dr. Gottfried, adding that this condition is underdiagnosed in the conventional medical world, and overdiagnosed in the alternative medicine world. Diagnosis can be accurately achieved with a simple blood or saliva test for cortisol and DHEA, the main stress hormones.
Yes! Dr. Gottfried recommends natural solutions like vitamin B6 (especially if you’ve determined you’re genetically susceptible to PMS), chasteberry and St. John’s wort.
There’s a good chance it is. The stress hormone cortisol causes your blood sugar to increase, blood pressure to rise, and moderates your immune system. Great if you’re being chased by a wild animal—not so great if you’re constantly chasing the animal crackers! High cortisol leads to fat deposits, especially belly fat because your belly has four times the number of cortisol receptors as anywhere else. The key is to de-stress. (Not sure how to start? Check out these expert tips to cope with anxiety and improve your quality of life).
Suffering through the symptoms of perimenopause is just that—sufferable! Sure, you can make it through, but there may be some natural remedies that can ease this transition for you as well. “Rather than presenting the view that hormones are bad—the black/white or polarized thinking that dominates the media and traditional medicine—I prefer to present women with options,” says Dr. Gottfried. “I ask them if they want to try chaste tree Vitex, an herb for PMS proven in several randomized trials, or something else.”