Elektra #MenopauseMonday Spotlight: Cherie Fournier
Having worked in high-stress jobs for most of my career, I’ve often blamed work for any health issues that have come up.
Last year, I embarked on a planned career break before venturing into starting my own business. I expected it to take some time to feel the improvement in my health I was hoping for while not working. It was a good thirty days before I became more relaxed, less rushed and had a lower stress level.
But some of the ways I was feeling while working – anxious, moody, forgetful – were not only still present, but were worse. And, they were now accompanied by the great fun of hot flashes, new body odors, and sometimes finding myself unbearable to be around…even for myself.
It was heart palpitations and some very challenging bouts of anxiety that led me to start researching perimenopause. I actually should say I researched menopause and then discovered perimenopause – I’d never heard of it before. I realize now that my perimenopause began around age 40 when I started getting more and worse migraines.
I had no idea my hormones would start changing in my 40s – I expected that to happen in my 50s. So it took a few years of increasing symptoms before I finally figured out what I was experiencing.
As I learned more, I wanted a full picture of what was going to happen to my body, what was linked to changing hormone levels and what was potentially linked to my existing medical issues. And I wanted to learn more about coping with perimenopause…but no one was talking about it…online, in person, among friends or strangers.
I decided to change that. I started a blog called Perimenopause Pages to build a community around women in perimenopause, open up the conversation as well as share my experiences and my natural approach to dealing with symptoms…in the hope that it will help other women.
I’ve decided to take a natural approach to perimenopause – in other words – no HRT. I altered my hormones for 16 years by taking birth control pills. And while no one can say for sure, I believe manipulating my hormones led to medical issues. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid in 2008. And with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a condition that affects circulation in 2010.
The cause of Hashimoto’s and POTS is unclear. And it took years to diagnose them. I went through a lot of trial and error with treatment, and eventually opted for the most natural approaches possible, including habit and lifestyle changes.
I’d be nervous adding hormones to this uncertain time in life…and I’d like my body to take a natural course through this transition according to its own timing.
Perimenopause is a fact of life. There’s no need to cover up what’s happening with our minds and bodies, to minimize it or to be ashamed of it. You can join the conversation and subscribe to Perimenopause Pages here.
Interested in learning more? Sign up for our weekly Elektra Digest