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On the last track, we discussed three effects of fear of a decrease in sexual drive due to menopause. These three effects of fear of a decrease in sexual drive due to menopause included: low self-esteem; loss of sexual identity; and actual loss of sexual desire.
On this track, we will examine three concepts related to menopausal stress. These three menopausal stress concepts include: adrenal exhaustion; sleep-deprived stress; and managing stress through diet and nutrients.
3 Menopausal Stressors
-- Stress Level 1 - The first is fight or flight. In this level, the adrenals pump out extra amounts of hormones, triggering the release of blood glucose to provide extra energy for the emergency situation. When the crisis is over, the adrenals quiet down.
Hilene, age 50, had carved out a successful career as a high-profile corporation attorney. Obviously, this job is extremely high stress, and Hilene was at a constant level of resistance and even adrenal exhaustion during the trial periods of certain cases. Once she started menopause, Hilene noticed severe symptoms such as fatigue that she had never experienced before. She stated, "I have always been able to handle stress in my job. I've never needed a nap in the day. I was never snippy. But now, everything irritates me! I can't concentrate and everything just flies out of my head in an instant!"
Because Hilene had entered menopause, I believed that her adrenals have been in a state of exhaustion and this has increased her menopausal symptoms. To help reduce Hilene's stress, I suggested she might try and reduce her work load. For instance, handing off her less important cases to make time for her higher-profile cases. At first, Hilene did not want to lose her reputation as a hard working lawyer in her firm.
She stated, "So everyone is going to know that I've become weaker in my old age, and I just can't handle it! How will that affect my reputation?" I replied, "But wouldn't it be a better solution to hand off the little cases, and win the big cases instead of risking losing all of them because of your difficulties concentrating?" Think of your Hilene. Does she need to lighten the work load to decrease her adrenal exhaustion?
#2 Sleep-Deprived Stress
As a result, the client loses a great deal of sleep and further stresses her adrenals. These sleep interruptions can cause the more serious psychological problems associated with menopause. Women who, to the general public, seem to "go crazy" during menopause may simply be suffering from sleep deprivation.
Donna, age 51, was continually being awoken by her night sweats. As a result, she became more irritated during the day and less able to concentrate. She stated, "I haven't had a good night's sleep in four months! I wake up, and my pajama tops are soaked with sweat! Then I have to get up and change them and then try to go back to sleep, which is made harder by my soaked sheets! I just can't win!"
To help Donna, I made some sleep suggestions that had worked for other clients of mine. I suggested sleeping in a bra so that the damp, heavy pajama top would not be so apparent. Also, other clients have slept with a fan by their beds, which helped evaporate the sweat when a hot flash did occur. Although none of these techniques are fool proof, I have found that they have helped many of my clients get a fuller night's rest. Think of your Donna. Could he or she benefit from some sleep suggestions?
#3 Managing Stress through Diet and Nutrients
However, I feel it is almost more important to find out if clients are consuming substances that stress rather than aid the adrenal glands. For instance, refined white sugar depletes the body of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. High consumption of sugar can burden the adrenals by competing for available vitamins and robbing the adrenals of the supply they need for proper functioning. Obviously, caffeine increases the body's stress levels to a much higher degree than normal functioning. However, clients who experience lack of sleep will supplement with caffeine, so the cycle continues.
Deana, age 51, was a self-proclaimed caffeine addict. Lately, though, she had been having trouble concentrating on simple tasks and experienced feelings of exhaustion during the day. She stated, "I feel really anxious lately, and can't sleep. I've been drinking more coffee, but that doesn't help very much. I've upped it to about five cups a day." I stated to Deana, "One of the reasons why you are so jittery is the fact that your adrenals are being overworked by the caffeine you are taking in. If you would like to decrease your anxious feelings and increase your overall energy, you might want to consider that you cut back on your coffee if not quit it altogether."
Think of your Deana. Is there a certain substance in her diet that is negatively affecting her stress levels?
On this track, we discussed three concepts related to menopausal stress. These three menopausal stress concepts include: adrenal exhaustion; sleep-deprived stress; and managing stress through diet and nutrients.
On the next track, we will examine three emotional symptoms found in menopausal clients. These three emotional symptoms include: anger; anxiety; and mood swings.
Depression during the Transition to Menopause:
- Kahn. D. A., Moline. M. L., Ross, R. W., Altshuler, L. L., and Cohen, L. S. Depression During the Transition to Menopause: A Guide for Patients and Families.
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