Although I see a variety of cases and patients every day, my passion remains women’s health- not just hormone replacement therapy for menopause but rather a continuum of care through to senior years, focusing as well on preventing cognitive and memory decline.
During my 15-year career as a physician I have seen it all. But there is a constellation of symptoms-I called it ‘’The Thief’’-that I see almost every day.
These unwanted symptoms seem to affect up to 90 percent of my patients and especially women. It starts usually with few things here and there-not feeling up to exercise, worrying too much about small things but, quickly enough, people are developing a sense of exhaustion, generalized anxiety, lack of energy which ultimately translates into digestive and hormonal problems and weight gain.
Once people get to that stage, the physical changes further affect their emotional state, even causing depression-a vicious cycle.
I think a possible explanation for a higher occurrence in females includes tendencies for women to set up high expectations, overexertion via multitasking and lack of needed social support especially during important moments like pregnancy or illness. Many times, I jokingly tell my patients’’ We need a support group just for being a woman!’’
I also would like to mention that people can have various other symptoms-think headaches, overall achiness or brain fog- that are related to anxiety, so always pay attention to your body’s signals.
Getting to the bottom of this problem is not easy. It involves detailed testing including saliva-hormonal or nutrient testing in order to be able to design an adequate treatment plan. This is one area where functional medicine helps the most because there so many imbalances to address: is it the hormones imbalance (like adrenals or thyroid), the mitochondria(the little powerhouse we have in each cell that is producing energy), serious vitamin or mineral deficiency that slows down your body, or is it an imbalance of the neurotransmitters-the chemicals that are making neurons work?
The diagnosis, and of course the treatment, can be complex. For treatment, I think it is important to include nutrition changes, stress-reduction techniques and safe, therapeutic- grade supplements to correct those imbalances under the guidance of a skilled healthcare practitioner.
I always encourage my patients to take a close look around them and their environment, and to make safe, greener choices when they buy products-whether food, beauty or even for home.
I also believe in meeting people where they are when it comes to lifestyle changes- moderation and baby steps, and rewards as well! I also think it takes a village to get somebody healthy so I often work with a team of other practitioners including nutritionists, acupuncturists and health coaches.
A general wellness tip: Willpower is a finite product, so please don’t test it at 10 pm after a long stressful day at work by, for example, keeping unhealthy food in your fridge-there is a good chance you might lose that battle; many of us would.
Wishing you health and happiness,