A couple days ago a follower on IG asked me, “Do you ever sleep?” What I think she meant is…Damn girl, you are non-stop busy!! LOL!! Well it’s because these days I feel like I’m on top of the world. This year marked my big 4-0 birthday, but I tell you it’s more like the little 2-0!! Just call me Superwoman!!! I had no idea what to expect in terms of post-hysterectomy symptoms, but I surely didn’t expect to be feeling this amazing.
No kidding I feel like my body has been revitalized with a tremendous surge of power and stamina. Not quite invincible but you catch my drift. For starters, I wake up no later than 6 am everyday ready to go! I go from task to task all day long with very little weariness. I mean hello darlings have you seen my current DIY library remodel?! I’m all pumped up kicking ass on projects I would never have thought to take on before my surgery!! That’s my “side job”. Somehow, I’m sure through God’s Grace, I am able to flight attend, blog, handygirl a project, Mommy, and play housewife as if the surgery never happened!
Well to my surprise, there is an actual physiological explanation to all this energy. Do you guys recall a couple weeks ago I went to visit Ron’s Teegaurden in Santa Monica? Ron’s Teegaurden specializes in Chinese herbs and their resident herbalist broke down my “menopause induced” symptoms from A-Z.
As you all probably remember, my body is not producing estrogen via ovaries. Smaller amounts of estrogen are still being produced by my liver, adrenal glands, and fatty breast tissue (which ain’t much comin’ from there that much I know…lol). According to the herbalist, my body has less “Yin” or “Female Energy” or estrogen. Leaving me with more “Yang” or Male energy. During this time I have a flux of Yang which equals “heat” and “strength”. He continued to say I may feel like I can do anything, no task will seem too challenging and I may feel stronger than ever before. Let me just say I am not Coco Puffs cookoo!! This gentleman doesn’t know me, yet after a brief consultation he summed up my post-hysterectomy symptoms in 3 minutes flat. Alternative medicine may be discredited by some but I fully believe and understand everything this chaga guru was saying.
Now don’t get me wrong. While I feel pretty darn lucky for my newfound stamina and the fact that I don’t have any pain or discomfort from the actual surgery, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about my not so great post-hysterectomy symptoms: hot flashes and constipation with bloating. Sounds glamorous right? Not!!
- Hot Flashes: The hot flashes began about 2 weeks after surgery. They come on whenever they want, but more frequently when I experience any rapid environmental temperature changes and at night. They happen suddenly and quickly. Summer use to be my favorite time of the year, but like yeah I can not wait for the September cool down. I will say the only blessing is they fade away as quick as they come on. But boy o’ boy those 30 seconds are fierce and intense!!! The heat seems to radiate predominantly in my torso and head. I’ve never been one to sweat on my forehead but I do now! My scalp gets all wet and heated too. I’ve started washing my hair more often as well. This by the way is a HUGE change for my curls, but it can’t he helped. The frizz the sweat creates in my curls ain’t cute at all!! These pesky hot flashes that sneak up at night is fairly common. There really is no relief while they radiate my body. I simply wait for it to pass.
- Constipation & Bloating: In my opinion the constipation and bloating has been way more problematic than the hot flashes. I pride myself on being in tune with my body…at least I try to be and even still I have spent the last 4 months working out what my tummy can digest and process without the impending constipation the next day. Bloating on the other hand has been even harder to nail down. Both symptoms I can say without doubt are truly frustrating!! Eating “clean” is NOT enough. It comes down to a careful balance of fiber filled foods, water intake, how much I eat at one time, is it cooked or raw, and avoiding sugar of all types. Mike is so through with me over it. I can’t say I blame him. He misses going to late weekday breakfasts and grubbing on tapas at a trendy pubby-bar counter. He keeps hoping it’ll pass, but I’ve come to accept this as my new normal.
Tips for Managing Post-hysterectomy Symptoms
Managing Hot Flashes
To help keep my hot flashes at bay I take 3000 mg or 3 g of turmeric. This is 3 times the recommended dosage. All I can say is this natural anti-inflammatory has helped tremendously! I take 3 pills with my wheat grass water when I first wake up and 3 more sometime in the evening generally right before bed.
Recently I began taking pill form herbs “prescribed” by my herbalist to bring more “Yin” back into my body and lessen the “heat”. I have only been taking them for about 2 weeks. I need to take them just a bit longer before I give you any feedback. To be honest, the environment heat aka the hot armpit known as the San Fernando Valley with temperatures over 95 degrees has not been helping! All I feel is hot and sweaty alllll day!!
I do have a secret instant heat relieving MAGIC TRICK you darlings have got to try!! Peppermint Oil on the nape of your neck (try this essential oil kit). The cooling sensation is absolutely amazing!! It gives the feel of cool air blowing on you. Best believe I carry a bottle with me everywhere. Only side effect is smelling like a piece of gum…lol!!
The constipation has improved HUGELY!! YAY!! Here are my tips for managing constipation:
- Drink tons of water everyday;
- Eat oatmeal everyday;
- Stay away from gluten, processed sugar and fried foods;
- Try to eat raw foods for the remainder of the day after my oatmeal;
- Drink 1 kombucha each day; and
- Really really try to limit my dairy intake…just a bit of half and half for black tea.
Basically my neurotic eating habits have only gotten more strict and disciplined.
Remedies for Bloating
Bloating on the other hand, as I said before, is another beast all together. I am almost positive dairy and sugar causes the most bloating. In the morning whether I’m at home or on the road I drink about 2 cups of hot water with the juice of ½ a lemon & a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (see the benefits of hot water with lemon). Before bed or at some point in the day I drink a fennel ginger chamomile tea that aids in digestion. The combination of ALL those things…the eating and drinking allows my body to expel wastes thoroughly. You could say I am a slave to my bowels. I don’t have to be, but I know I’ll pay for it the next day if I don’t.
Essential Vitamins for Managing Post-Hysterectomy Symptoms
Other essential vitamins I take to support my “menopausal” state are:
- Vitamin D w/ Zinc & Magnesium: Estrogen depletion leads to brittle bones so it’s vital that I support my body with these supplements that aid in calcium absorption and preventing osteoporosis.
- Flaxseed Oil: My adrenal glands are under fire and working overtime making Cotisol and Andreniline to help combat my stress that estrogen normally minimizes. As a result my heart is also working overtime, so it’s very important that I supplement my body with heart healthy omega-3s.
***SUPER IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE:***
I learned that woman who are in menopause are in a much higher danger for heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Quite simply our bodies are not built to sustain high levels of stress after a certain age. With a significantly lower production of estrogen, the adrenal glands begin to carry the body stressors which in turn weakens the heart. Thus putting a menopause female at a high risk of a sudden heart attack or stroke!! I mean this blew my mind. This is also why women are less likely to recover and survive a stroke or heart attack…real talk right there darlings!!! Why am I saying this?? Well because like it or not we all will reach menopause. We all need to be diligent to supplement and support our aging bodies with gorgeous whole food nutrition, muscle strengthening exercise, and tons of shopping and spa days to lower our stress levels!!!
Part III of my hysterectomy saga will be all about hormone therapy and why I am taking an alternative all natural approach. To paraphrase my doctor, “Your body is not ready for menopause, maybe in 10 years or so. Until then we need to hormonally supplement you so your other vital organs can be relieved, sex drive can be maintained, and control the hot flashes until you reach menopause age.”