Remarkably, “it has been found that the fluctuating hormone levels most women experience in their perimenopause and menopausal years do NOT, in and of themselves, cause the distressing emotional and psychological symptoms of menopause …” (Dr. Christiane Northrup, “the Wisdom of Menopause”) As a matter of fact, female hormones ebb and flow widely much their whole lives.
Probing hasn’t been capable to identify for what reason a portion women languish more due to it than others. What HAS been found though, is that the women who languish the most have a kind of “pre-existing brain biochemistry” that causes them more susceptible to the harsher menopausal manifestations.
For example, take your immune system — if you chafed your arm in dirt backwards and forwards, probabilities are you would only get a dirty arm. No other complications. Though if you broke the skin beforehand and ground your arm backwards and forwards in the dirt, you will undoubtedly get an infection. You turn out “susceptible.”
So exactly how does our brain chemistry come to be susceptible to the following harsher manifestations then?
In America, I imagine we’re coming to be susceptible because of a “Triple Threat” that is emerging as more and more commonplace: hormone & brain-chemistry disruption that happens through repeated use of Diet Sodas (Aspartame), Chemical Birth Controls, and Antidepressants.
Pretty much any one of these three may cause serious imbalance in our hormones and brain chemistry, but all three combined, in my viewpoint, are big variables in setting us up for that “pre-existing issue” discussed before. Let’s take a brief look at each one of the three.
First up : Diet Sodas (Aspartame, aka NutraSweet, aka AminoSweet)
Lots of women have been downing Diet Sodas for decades in an attempt to drop weight and stay clear of calories. We all thought they were great. But according to Newsmax Health Reports, these soft drinks include certain items called “excitotoxins” that disrupt hormone balance . They also are rumored to provoke headaches, grumpiness, sleeplessness, variation in heart rates, memory loss and more (doesn’t that seem a lot like menopause?) The most frustrating of all is that it tampers with leptin and insulin, and so the dearth of calories does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help you lose weight. What an insult of a drink.
What makes it worse is that the top two soda trade names out there both use “BPA” in the linings of their cans. BPA mimics estrogen. The Endocrine Society concluded (in 2009) that because of BPA’s hormonal action at token levels, there may be “no safe level of exposure” (ArizonaAdvancedMedicine.com). BPA shows up in 95 % of American’s urine according to a study by the CDC. Pretty shocking stuff.
Next off, let’s take a look at Antidepressants
Double as many women as men experience depression and ingest prescriptions for it. Depression is a complex subject. I won’t try to tackle it here, and I’m not ever implying that anybody should stop consuming their meds. I just want to put the awareness out there that it, too, bears on our endocrine balance and brain chemistry. Some of the recognized side effects of the most prevalent, present-day antidepressants include things like anxiety, confusedness, headaches, aggression, sleeplessness, memory omissions, sexual dysfunction, heart attacks, weight gain and even cardiovascular problems. Again– doesn’t that sound a lot like menopause? I personally think it is well worth the effort to investigate some of the natural approaches that exist for depression (ie: 5-HTP, St. John’s Wort, SAMe, etc), since as I said in the beginning of this article, it seems that these chemicals we’re depositing in our systems may really be part of the setup in the “pre-existing brain chemistry” that makes our menopausal flux so difficult here in the West.
Lastly, the final suspected offender: Birth Control
This is a big deal. Since from very young ages, many women are on some type of chemical form of birth control that specifically alters their endocrine system. Of course it is a VERY controversial subject to begin with, but to put all polarizing issues out of the way, let’s talk candidly what’s going on in your body, hormone-wise, when you’re taking that pill. Most varieties of birth control are “combination pills” that contain estrogen and progestin. Simply put, they function by suppressing the ovary from releasing eggs, among other things. Some of them may even stop the menstrual cycle completely– and when you try to discontinue those, it can take 9 months to 2 years for the menstrual cycle to re-regulate itself. That is pretty much total endocrine disruption. If you’re in perimenopause or menopause now, there’s no doubt that you were probably on some sort of chemical birth control for many, many years.
After potentially 3 decades of shifting our entire endocrine systems with various birth control chemicals, and our brain functions with chemical sweeteners and antidepressants, it’s no wonder we’re screwed up when we inevitably start to enter the age of menopause here in the Western World. But that’s the downer side … I want to give everyone a bit of OPTIMISM! There is a CONSIDERABLE positive side to all of this: we’re just now learning the effects of all the things we’ve put into our bodies over the decades. We’re seriously not to blame. But now that we have the internet, we can share our wisdom with many. What’s neat about menopause is that it’s CELEBRATED as “The Age of Wisdom” in the East. Let’s celebrate it here too! We ultimately are coming into the fullness of our true selves. We have SO MUCH to give out. Our voices can and will be listened to. And changes will be made for the better. Not only for ourselves, but for our children and for all future generations to come.