Productive women need to take into account the effects of our hormones on productivity during certain important life stages. (And men who care about productive women ought to think about these things too!)
How do hormones affect our productivity?
There have been conversations in The Productive Woman community
about struggles with being productive at certain stages of life, specifically, during perimenopause, pregnancy, post-partum. I wanted to talk about these stages of life, what they are, how they affect us psychologically and physiologically, how they affect our productivity, and things we can do to stay more productive during these stages of life.
Please note that I am not a doctor. If you are going through these stages of life, please consult your doctor.
The median age for when menopause occurs is 51.4 years. One interesting article
explains it this way: “During menopause a woman’s body slowly produces less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This often happens between the ages of 45 and 55 years old. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for 12 months in a row.”
We talk about going through menopause, but it’s more correct to say we reach menopause. Menopause is a moment in time, and the 3-4 years surrounding that moment in time are called perimenopause. Most of the symptoms we hear about actually are perimenopausal symptoms.
Menopausal (perimenopausal) symptoms are triggered by changes in our hormones.
Hormones are the messengers in the body that travel through the bloodstream to start, stop, speed up or slow down your physical and chemical functions and processes across all body systems. Your ovaries are the source of estrogen and progesterone, the two key hormones that control the reproductive system, including the menstrual cycle and fertility in women. You are born with all the eggs you will ever have. The eggs are in the follicles, which are found in the ovaries. During menopause, the number of ovarian follicles declines and the ovaries become less responsive to the two other hormones involved in reproduction—Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH). As your ovaries age and release fewer hormones, FSH and LH can no longer perform their usual functions to regulate your estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These inevitable changes in your hormones and natural decline of estrogen levels during menopause can significantly affect your health for years to come.”
"How Hormone Depletion Affects You"
All those hormonal changes impact us both physically and emotionally in ways that can affect our ability to be productive.
* Typical first sign: Change in patterns of periods
* Hot flashes/night sweats
* Sleep disturbances
“The main sign of the menopause starting is often noticed as a change in menstrual period patterns, which can last up to four years but in some women can be much longer. Around 80% of women suffer from some additional menopausal symptoms, though some women have few symptoms apart from the ending of menstruation. The most common menopausal symptoms are hot flushes (termed hot flashes in the US) and night sweats. These happen most commonly within the first year after the last period, although they can occur earlier. If severe, these can cause weakness and loss of energy, particularly night sweats, which may disturb normal sleeping patterns.