Have you ever experienced insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, depression, bowel problems, hot flashes, problems concentrating, confusion, lack of sex drive, or misplaced anger? Were you told that these symptoms were due to PMS, perimenopause, menopause, or that you were experiencing a hormonal imbalance?
What is really happening in a woman’s life? Can all her symptoms be due to PMS, perimenopause, or menopause? Is it really her hormones?
Mary-Ann, a 48-year-old nurse practitioner was diagnosed with perimenopause because of fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and a low sex drive. She tried many alternative therapies, including natural progesterone cream, to no avail. She was told that her symptoms were due to a hormonal imbalance.
However, her symptoms of overwhelming fatigue started when she moved to a new town and a new hospital job where she felt that the interests of her patients were not being met. She felt frustrated and inadequate. By the time she came to see me, it was difficult for her to get out of bed in the morning. She was very concerned since all the blood tests by her healthcare provider were normal.
Joan, 53 years old, had been working as an office manager for more than 25 years. During her last visit to the dentist, Joan felt panicky when she sat in the dental chair and had to leave without having the work done. She continued to feel anxious, especially at work. She was told that her problems were caused by hormone deficiency. Even though she did not like the idea of taking any medication, she was prescribed Xanax and HRT. This all coincided with Joan being required at work to take on much more responsibility because of budget cuts.
What was the common thread? These women’s symptoms started when they found themselves in situations where they felt out of control.
Unfortunately, women are usually in family or job settings that do not fully support them. They tend to the needs of others first, with little or no time left for self. Could symptoms be the sign of a woman’s body reminding her of her own unmet needs?
After listening to women patients and friends all over the world for over three decades, I have found that when they are diagnosed with hormonal problems many are really dealing with deeply buried childhood or adulthood traumas. Many times these women do not realize what it is really going on. They might say they had a happy childhood, but no one grows up unscathed; everyone has issues from childhood.
The more issues or traumas they have, the more unhappy they are. These include being a victim of abandonment, neglect and/or abuse whether verbal, mental, physical, or sexual. Many think problems have been dealt with after years of therapy. But sometimes the wound is so deep that some residual effects still need to be dealt with.
Women with a history of childhood sexual abuse (incest, rape, and/or inappropriate touching) first will experience anxiety, mood swings, depression, eating and sleep disturbances. Months or years after the event it is not uncommon to have phobias, nightmares, flashbacks, and gynecological symptoms. There are feelings of inadequacy, self-blame, depression, mood and anxiety disorders, alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use and abuse, eating disorders, suicide attempts and medically unexplained symptoms.
Next time you are having unexplained symptoms ask yourself:
• Could I have unresolved childhood issues?
• Do I have someone I need to forgive?
• Have I made healthy lifestyle choices?
• Do I feel good about my work, home, and relationships?
• Have I been too busy taking care of everyone else?
• Am I afraid to rock the boat because I am afraid to be alone?
• Do I stay in abusive relationships because of financial security?
• Am I afraid of changes?
• Have I been ignoring or denying intuitive messages from my body?
• Have I been reaching for a quick fix for symptoms?