“Just feeling lousy,” a new patient lamented the morning I met her in my office for a consult. She went on to tell me she did not feel like working today, but she had no choice.  She was the owner of the business.   “Already stressed to the max with kids and homelife, my office has taken on undercurrents of bickering, gossiping and in-fighting among the staff. I just can’t deal with it anymore.”

A 52-year-old mother of two, she was experiencing irritability, hot flashes, weight gain, sleep disturbances, fatigue, depression and loss of libido; now strife at work was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.

As she fretted over her present situation, she slumped in her chair in front of my desk.  It was 9:00 in the morning but all she felt like doing was going back home and getting into bed.  “The thing is,” she said. “Before menopause, I could cope with the stresses of business ownership.  Now, it seems, I’m less able to deal with it.”

These complaints are not unusual. For most women, the challenging symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are related to decreasing levels of sex hormones, particularly estrogen, progesterone, pregnenolone, testosterone and DHEA-S, but symptoms can be worsened by stress, certain foods, lack of regular physical activity, and poor general health. In this case, her lifestyle choices were good.  Her physical exam and routine lab work showed no health problems either.  So, the most likely diagnosis to be considered is hormonal imbalance exacerbated by low functioning adrenals, commonly known as Adrenal Burnout.

According to Lorna Vanderhaeghe, author of Sexy Hormones, “Healthy adrenals are the key to an effortless menopause.” The adrenals, two small glands that sit atop our kidneys, are an important part of the endocrine system.  But often, by the time a woman reaches the menopausal years, her adrenal glands are so depleted they are unable to produce adequate amounts of cortisol (the energy hormone).  This can worsen menopausal symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, irritability and weight gain. And, unless all the hormones are balanced, it will be difficult for a woman to get her body and psyche back to normal.

In this case, our initial assumption proved to be correct.  A full hormonal workup revealed low levels of many of the major hormones: gonadal, thyroid and adrenals.  Her cortisol levels were so low, in fact, that it explained why she was having a recent problem dealing with the stresses of business ownership.

A month after we began balancing the deficiencies with Natural Bio-Identical Hormones, Herbs (to support the adrenals), and Natural Cortisone, she was sleeping much better and she could literally feel energy return to her body.  Within three months her coping mechanisms were back to normal, her libido improved, and the brain fog cleared.

The next time I met with her, she smiled. “I feel like my old self again.”

With over 30 years experience in hormone balancing, a Post-doctoral Certification in Metabolic Endocrinology, and a Fellowship in Anti-Aging, Regenerative, and Functional Medicine, Dr. Watts has put together a hormone balancing program that has helped thousands of patients.   If you have any of the issues that were talked about or listed in this article, we recommend that you schedule an appointment ~ we can help!  To schedule an appointment, ask questions, and/or get more information, you can call us at 941-926-4905 or email us at [email protected].