Yoga Ended Menopause Misery for My Patient Yvonne
Yvonne had taken early retirement from a safe, secure job as a dental hygienist so she could start a jewelry-making business and work from home. “Being my own boss had been my dream for so many years,” she explained in my office one day. “And now I can’t even enjoy what I’m doing. Ever since menopause started, I’ve been so irritable and on edge.”
“And the hot flashes! I can’t believe how quickly they come on and how intense they are. I’m not sure if it’s the hormonal issues or the job stress that’s got me in a tizzy. But sometimes I just feel like I can’t take another day of this rollercoaster I’m on. Of course, it doesn’t help that the jewelry business has gotten so much more competitive in the past few years.”
I couldn’t offer Yvonne advice for her business, but we did talk about menopause, as well as stress. In addition to having a blood test to determine an appropriate bio-identical hormone dosage, I suggested Yvonne tackle the hot flashes with a couple of common sense methods for cooling off. First, I recommended she dress in layers whenever possible, so she could easily remove a sweater or light jacket when a hot flash hit. Second, I encouraged her to keep ice water handy to sip as needed, but recommended she make the ice cubes from filtered water, to avoid toxins and chemicals in tap water.
As for Yvonne’s stress, I mentioned a number of supplements that have worked well for my patients, including St. John’s wort, 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), and SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine). But the most important anti-stress advice I had for Yvonne was to start a regular exercise program. Research has shown that exercise improves hot flashes, sleep problems, and overall quality of life among menopausal women. In addition, exercise is also an excellent way to maintain a healthy heart, manage weight, and, of course, reduce stress. I encouraged Yvonne to consider weight-bearing exercise, as opposed to cycling or swimming, since that would also help strengthen her bones.
Not long afterward, I ran into Yvonne in the reception area of my clinic. She was picking up a hormone refill, and said the product was working better than she expected. In addition, she was practicing yoga three times a week. When I asked how it was working for her, Yvonne’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “I can’t get over how much better I feel,” she explained. “It’s like night and day. I’m more relaxed, I breath more deeply, sleep better, and just enjoy things more now that I’m not grinding my teeth over nothing all day long.”
In fact, Yvonne was so happy with yoga she that was considering becoming an instructor. “Just a few months ago, I thought my life was basically over. But look at me! Now I’m the poster girl for getting out there and trying new things.”