Don’t Read This If You Don’t Want to Read About Hormones and Female-Stuff!

Honestly, I will start posting about our homeschooling stuff again. In fact, I have all kinds of materials I’ve made for the kids and have a heap of new things to share with you all, but since I was on the topic of health and well-being (with yesterday’s post about LD’s horrible allergies) I thought I’d share with you some of the struggles I’ve personally had the past eight to ten months or so. If you’re squeamish and don’t want to hear about female-stuff, just stop reading now!

Final warning — click over onto the check out the Bob Book Worksheet Pack I made last fall or my big long list of toddler and preschool activities for more homeschool-ish related posts… or just wait for another day or so when I start sharing some of our new homeschool materials.  Okay, if you’re brave enough to read on, here it goes…

I’ve gone through my fair share of hormonal ups and downs — I’ve gone through the normal rounds of PMS. Nothing major, just some months were better than others. You know how that goes, right?! I’ve even struggled through the horrendous stress and hormonal changes that go along with IVF (infertility treatments)… talk about another stretch of crazy hormonal Liesl–infertility shots will do that to you… yes, my first two kids were IVF babies, ED our third (SURPRISE!) was not.  My infertility journey is a story for another time though… sort of like my wedding story — which you wouldn’t believe either. It definitely was NOT your run-of-the-mill wedding (!!)… but again I’ll have to share that another time too.

Okay so back to hormones and all that.  Somehow the past eight or ten months I haven’t felt like myself. The kids will tell you, my patience at times has been cut nearly in half. I’d cry or be mad at the smallest, most inane things.  Even I was asking myself,  what was wrong with me? I clued in when my monthly was extraordinarily heavy. I mean — really heavy — like don’t leave home for more than an hour that first day — or else — kind of heavy.  I know, you’re in the background going Eiew! I’m right there with you! Yuck-o, as ED would say! I’m young — at heart — but chronologically tick-tock, tick-tock… my body is — GASP — changing.

So I did what I do for nearly every situation. I turned to books.  As I read through Female Brain, Gone Insane I looked at the checklists and said YES YES YES — that’s me! There’s hope for me and for my rattled brain and for my emotions.  Maybe I’d find that easy-going Liesl that was lost somewhere along the path this year. There’s a name for what I’m going through — perimenopause… WHAT is that, you ask?  Well, it’s that next “stage of life” that you hit somewhere between 35 and 50 where your hormones start changing once again. You can have heavier or lighter periods that come more often or rarely; you can feel “foggy brained” or have difficulty focusing;  you can have hot flashes or not (I don’t… well or not yet, but my really good friend is suffering through them); you can feel anxious, fearful,  a feeling of detachment or rage; you can have crying spells; you can have sleep disturbances; you can have a low libido; you can have dry eyes or skin– and there are other symptoms.  Often these feelings will linger around rather than passing when your period arrives.  After years (sometimes 10+ years!) of all this,  then  your periods stop and after a year you can claim you’ve hit menopause.

I went to my doctor and had my blood tested. Had I known what I know now after reading three books on all this, I might have had my hormone levels checked as well, but the blood tests were revealing in that I was low on vitamin D and calcium (a surprise since I’m both outdoorsy and a big milk drinker). After reading several books, I found out this is pretty typical and that there were some steps I could take to help alleviate a lot of the symptoms I’ve been having. The book I read explained how low levels of certain vitamins (like the B vitamins) can cause different symptoms such as mental slowness, irritability and so forth.  I started taking some vitamins and supplements (since I’m not a doctor or medical expert I won’t mention all that on the blog, though if you send me an email I’m happy to share what what has been working for me because it has made such a drastic difference for me) and I also changed up my exercise routine.  Anyway, I feel lots, lots, lots better (on an even keel, clearer-headed, more energetic) though I imagine this is a road filled with twists and turns and challenges of its own.

My reasons for sharing all this is because I really did wonder if there was something wrong with me at times. It took me a while to reach out and talk about what I was experiencing with my Hubby and girlfriends. Now I realize from talking with a couple of my friends, I’m not alone in all this.  It was such a relief to have some steps to take to get things back on track. I feel SO SO much better and hope that if there’s anyone like me this might post might help.   I read through several books this past month on all this. If I had to choose just one to recommend it would be Female Brain Gone Insane, which has good explanations about hormones and all that no matter what age you are (20 to 55).

So, that’s that!  Finally, in the next day or so, I’ll get back to talking in more detail about our Homeschool plans for the next semester and some of the materials I’ve made for the kids! :)

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  1. by Kylie

    On January 3, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Glad you have answers Liesl. I’ve added that book to my list, sounds like something most women should probably read!

  2. by Liesl Den

    On January 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I have to admit, I was hesitant to talk about all this on the blog… I’m the type who is often embarrassed talking to the doctor about things so to write an entire post about it?! But then after reading the book and all the vignettes of other women that the author included I thought it was well-worth sharing. I got some fabulous advice from the book and most importantly realized that lots of other women are having many of these same symptoms.