As a physician, I am so interested in the WHY of things. I think it’s important and useful to understand what is happening in your body in general, although we’re focusing on perimenopause specifically. I think about the changes that are happening with a perimenopausal woman’s hormones a lot in helping her navigate treatment options. It’s helpful to understand what’s happening and how it relates to the symptoms your unique self is experiencing. Not all treatments work for everyone in every situation.
A treatment will work better if you understand how and why it works. Knowledge about how your treatment works and why you’re doing it can motivate you to be consistent with the treatment. You’re more likely to take the prescribed nutrients, herbs or medications on a daily basis. This routine is key for your treatments to work. You have to take the prescribed nutrients/herbs/meds in order for them to be effective! That seems obvious but is a wall I run in to often in my practice.
Consistency is key, but I know it’s difficult to be consistent when you feel like you’re on an emotional and physical roller coaster, as many women do in perimenopause. Women tell me they don’t feel like themselves. Their life experiences are sometimes radically changed and for no apparent reason; this is disorienting. I’ve found that most women have a morning routine that adjusts well to adding in a supplement or two. This is usually a good time to add in a new therapy. Bedtime routines are often pretty set, too, and since so many perimenopausal women struggle with sleep, it’s often a motivating time to take another round of meds.
It’s the lifestyle changes that are a real doozy. Change my diet? Exercise more? Get more sleep? Meditate?? Who has the time? These adjustments do take time to fit in to our lives. There’s a lot of push back about not being able to make the kinds of changes necessary to truly live well. I know this personally. I have always struggled to exercise regularly. It was never reinforced on me as I grew up in Southern Louisiana, a state not particularly known for healthy habits. Exercising regularly makes me feel better. I feel strong, proud of myself and better able to handle the stress of the day. Yet, I am constantly fighting to fit it in to my life. Restarting an exercise routine sucks. It’s hard. Being out of shape feels terrible. Constantly restarting at that place is demoralizing. I keep trying!
My point: Lifestyle change is hard. Taking pills is easy. Doing both together is what will bring long-lasting results.
It’s important to remember that Perimenopause is not a disease. Diseases often motivate people to make big changes. Perimenopause at it’s best is interesting, uncomfortable for many, and down right painful for some women. It makes sense that the women who are in pain and struggling are more likely to make changes. Anyone will take a pill (well, as I’ve said, more so if they know why they’re taking it). Fewer will make the changes that are more profound and will not only ease the roller coaster ride but also prevent disease in later life.
Here are the motivating factors I hear most commonly in my practice:
I don’t feel like myself.
I want to be kinder to my partner.
I want to want and enjoy sex again.
I want to be a good mom.
I don’t want to yell at my kids.
My periods are crazy heavy/painful.
My PMS is terrible and getting worse/longer.
I would like my hair to grow back and my skin to clear.
I want to age well and prevent disease.
I am not enjoying my life right now.
So, what is motivating you?