MYTH: I don’t have to worry about hormones until menopause. Meanwhile, I can do whatever I want to my body – drink like a fish, party like a rock star, skimp on sleep – without consequences.
TRUTH: This is one of those myths that even most doctors believe!Many hormone levels – such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone – start to drift downward in your twenties. Other hormones, like cortisol, often spike too high and pull other hormones out of balance. Women younger than thirty may not yet feel affected by the aging process, but perhaps they want to get pregnant (or keep the option open) or avoid the wrinkles that they see on their mom’s face.
At What Age Do Menopause and Perimenopause Start?
Menopause occurs at a mean age of 51. Perimenopause, the years from about 35 to 50, are famous for hormonal chaos, but even Chinese Medicine recognizes that subtle hormonal shifts begin at age 28.Quite poetically, Chinese Medicine teaches that your energetic meridians are focused on your pelvic region during your reproductive years, and as reach toward menopause, chi starts to flow more toward your heart. In the West, we’re far less poetic. We focus on how many ripe eggs are left in the ovaries at any given time,how’s the egg quality based on a lab test, and when am I finally going to meet the life partner so that I can get busy having babies. Here’s where you want to focus your energy:
Women In Their 20s…
… benefit from understanding that the best way to mind your hormones so that you are brimming with vitality begins early. Master your sleep (94% of us need 8 hours each night), eat nutrient-dense food (and not too much), stop sitting so much, and detox your liver periodically (off the alcohol). When you don’t indulge stress and let it overpower you, you’re actually creating hormonal grace. The reason is simple: Cortisol, the main stress hormone, controls the levels of the other key hormones in your body, including thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Women in Their 30s…
… may feel increasingly tense and overwhelmed, in need of better strategies on how to chillax. Your goal should be to prevent the high blood pressure, prediabetes, and accelerated aging that come with chronically high perceived stress.
Women in Their 40s/50s…
… may want to regain the buoyancy of their earlier life. Perhaps you want to wake up feeling more restored, without the obsessive thoughts or brain fog.
… may wish to optimize their cognitive functioning—to improve their thinking, memory, and competitive edge. My book, The Hormone Cure, was born of my passion to help women, one hormone at a time. Don’t suffer needlessly. I don’t want you to be misinformed by prevailing myths, underserved by your doctors, or miseducated by the media. With natural hormone balancing, these years can be fun and sexy. My approach is to target what is causing the imbalance, and then to systematically fix it. It starts with being fully informed about your hormonal status, regardless of age.
Sara Gottfried, M.D. teaches women how to balance their hormones naturally so they can rock their mission. She is a Harvard-educated physician, speaker and New York Times best-selling author. Download your FREE Hormone Reset Community Cookbook. She is board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and is regularly featured in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Redbook, O Magazine, and Yoga Journal, and TV including The Ricki Lake Show and 20/20. Known for effortlessly blending the seriousness of women’s health with playfulness and humor, Dr. Sara’s mission is to help women lose weight, feel great and vital from their cells to their soul.