Healthy Ageing

Hormones and vague symptoms

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
Founder and Head Coach
A foggy brain, memory loss, urinary incontinence, bladder inflammation, dry skin. Feeling tired, bloated, agitated, aggressive and depressed. Muscle and joint pain, suddenly appearing injuries and trouble sleeping. All symptoms of hormonal imbalances. Stop suffering in silence. Tackle these symptoms and get your life back.

Hormones are to blame

Very regularly, female clients from the age of 35 reach out for Lifestyle Coaching with vague symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as delayed gastric emptying, constipation, or feeling bloated
  • Blatter infection or urinary incontinence
  • Dry skin and itches
  • Sleep disorders and nightly sweat
  • Shorter menstrual cycle, sometimes with heavier bleedings
  • Depression, anxiety, ungoing worries, feeling agitated
  • Brain fog, memory loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Loss of muscle mass and strength
  • Muscle and joint pain, injuries
  • Headaches

Most of these women are in good health: They do not have any specific medical issues. They try to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

By the time they reach out to us, they have already dealt with their symptoms for quite a while. And now they feel frustrated, scared, insecure and sometimes even desperate. They cannot explain what is going on and they feel out of control of their body and mind. Many of them already consulted their home doctor but were sent away with the diagnose burnout or a stress related issue. When in fact, these women knów they aren’t burned out!

It’s incredibly sad to see these women struggle with their hormones. Because that is what it is: due to the normal process of ageing, hormone levels (among which estrogen and progesterone) drop and cause all those vague unexplainable yet serious symptoms.

Stop suffering in silence

The issue we need to address is: The symptoms can be treated, and women don’t need to suffer in silence.

This requires two lines of action: from women and from health professionals:

Women, especially in The Netherlands, need to speak up

Compared to  other countries, it is not common practice for Dutch women to address hormonal issues with their home doctor or with their employer. Nor is it for the latter to recognize symptoms and to offer help. Of the 8,6  million women in The Netherlands, 80 percent suffers from hormonal issues. Thirty percent of them say these issues negatively affect their life and job. More than half of the cases of absenteeism is hormone- related. Yet, only about 2 to 3 percent of them seek help by a health professional or talk about it at work.

Women need to talk about it with other women, friends, family, their employer and doctor. They also need to demand medical guidance. Because there is no need to suffer in silence and deal with symptoms that negatively influence the quality of life, when in fact these symptoms can easily be treated.

By speaking up and demanding medical guidance, women can improve their physical and mental health and feel much better in their private and professional life. Speaking up creates more awareness among other women, (friends, husbands, kids),  employers and health professionals: They can provide these others with valuable tacit knowledge: real life knowledge and experiences. In that way, the issue of the female ageing process will no longer be the “non- issue”: the issue we all suffer from but don’t talk about. The issue “we just have to deal with, because….well… just because”.

Health professionals need to increase awareness

Health professionals need to be more aware of the female ageing process and on how female hormones negatively affect the quality of many lives. Often, Dutch doctors are familiar with the well-known symptoms like night sweats and  hot flashes in women over 55. But the “vague” symptoms mentioned above, especially in younger women who sometimes still have their period, are far less recognized and not seldom downplayed or diagnosed as stress- related. And even the more familiar are sometimes labeled as: The issue “we just have to  deal with, because….well… just because”.

For health professionals to change their view; to increase their awareness; and to offer medical treatment to women, they need to take note of the (huge amount of)  international scientific research on female hormones and the process of ageing. More up to date knowledge and more understanding can improve so many  lives so easily!

Hormonal treatment for overall health

There are simple medical treatments out there, that have been proven to be  effective with low risk of dreaded side effects such as cancer and with high changes of positive side effects for overall health. We are not talking about  placebos such as herbal products, flack seed, plants or oils. We are talking about hormonal therapy among which with 17β- estrogen and progesterone. [1]

The decline of female hormones in the body, especially fluctuations in them, cause unpleasant symptoms and increase the risk of health problems. For example, estrogen deficiency increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Hormone therapy dampens the fluctuations and thus the unpleasant symptoms, and can reduce health risks. Hormonal therapy has several benefits for overall health:

-         Lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and thrombosis

-         Improvement of cognitive functions such as memory, stress resistance and mood

-         Improvement of the quality of sleep and increased libido

-         Protection against Alzheimer’s disease and depression

-         Protection against osteoporosis

-         Lower risk of inflammatory reactions related to chronic diseases and cancer

-         Lower risk of obesity (weight gain, yes!) and diabetes type 2

When you’re dealing with vague unexplainable symptoms, speak up! Demand medical treatment from a health professional to supplement your hormone levels if that is what needs to be fixed. In the meantime, take good care of yourself in terms of nutrition (Food to avoid during menopause), exercise (CrossFit, a cure for menopause), relaxation and avoid certain products that can aggrevate symptoms (Everyday products can lead to early hormonal imbalance and early menopause). Healthy Ageing is within easy reach, just go out there and get it!

Create your own health!©


[1] Demers, S. (2012). De kracht van vrouwelijke hormonen.