It’s Just Menopause! (6-Minute Read)

Four Women having coffee and talking about menopause
Connie Pretula Headshot

Connie Pretula

Connie Pretula is an inspiring health coach and Menopause Navigator to mature women, using a holistic approach to nutrition and life.

June 7, 2023

In early 2010, I was 48 years old, I had just gone through a heartbreaking relationship breakup.  

Shortly after the breakup, I started a new job with a company that required me to move from the city I had been living in for 31 years of my life, to a new city where I knew two people. My stress levels were very high.

I had been experiencing various health symptoms prior to the relationship and they were becoming more prevalent while we were together. The stress of a move and heartbreak caused them to start to affect my quality of life.

My doctor quickly stated it was probably due to being in perimenopause and nothing could be done. At the time, I accepted that answer, and there were very few resources to learn about menopause, which is hard to believe. Unfortunately, allopathic medicine provides very little training around menopause other than treating it with hormone replacement therapy. As well, in 2010, the internet was still fairly new as far as a source of information, people were still relying on physical books.

Over the last 13 years, I have learned a lot about my body from personal experience and through my education while studying holistic nutrition and my thirst for continuing education. There are so many resources now both online and in print. I think the baby boomers helped to bring about the change as well.

With allopathic medicine, typically a doctor will request blood and or urine tests. If nothing shows up there, they will request additional diagnostic testing. 

These tests can be beneficial and provide some answers but in my case, my blood tests said I was very healthy, it provided no answers to why I was in so much pain and other symptoms I was experiencing.

I was not willing to accept that because my blood tests were normal that I had to continue to live in pain for the rest of my life.

This is when I turned to other healing modalities, one being naturopathic medicine. It was through a specialized blood test that I started to get answers and my health started to change for the better. 

When I received my diploma as a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, I decided to focus on women in menopause and I would use the testing options available to me to help my clients. 

I’m unable to order blood tests or urine tests from laboratories that doctors work with. What I love about alternative healing modalities is there are many tests available to better understand a client’s body that allopathic medicine does not typically use.

One of the tests I use with my clients is DNA analysis. Most people are familiar with 23andMe or Ancestry which are great if you want to understand your ethnic background or makeup.

My genetic curiosity started after my mom passed away from a major stroke and my dad had very high blood pressure later in life, even though he was active and not obese.

I decided to order both 23andMe and Ancestry as I wanted to understand more about my ethnic background. They both offer some health profiling which left me wanting more and that is why I then decided to look for companies focused on the health side. The company I have chosen to work with is DNA Labs, their focus is on the genetic profile of a person and how it can affect many aspects of their health.

When I received my DNA Labs results I loved the amount of detail it provided and it also answered a few questions about why certain blood tests were showing up the way they did consistently.

In my early 20’s I was diagnosed with high cholesterol. This really concerned me because of my dad’s high blood pressure and my maternal grandmother passed away from a heart attack. I was active, not overweight, mostly ate a healthy diet, even in childhood. How could I have high cholesterol? Of course, in the early 80s the fad at that time was low fat and it was promoted by both the Canadian and American Heart Association.

Under advisement of my doctor, I needed to eat a low-fat diet if I was going to live a healthy life in the future. Of course, now we know that was not good advice as fat is an important part of supporting our body, especially our brain and hormones.

Fast forward 35 years and sending my DNA kit in to be analyzed, I discovered I have a genetic expression in which my body is unable to break down saturated fat. You might say okay, so what does that mean? Well, it means I need to limit the use of coconut products when I cook, such as coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut meat. I need to be dairy free because my specialized blood test in 2014 showed me that my body is also unable to break down one of the proteins in dairy, so coconut products were one of my go-to replacements.

How do I know this was a factor? My blood test in February 2021 showed I had very high levels of cholesterol. I knew two factors causing this was my emotional eating of confections and lack of exercise. I needed to start to focus on bringing my cholesterol down.

I worked on getting my emotional eating under control. I set a goal of lifting weights three times a week, I also cut out coconut products. One year later, my cholesterol levels were close to high normal. Without the DNA test, I would have never known that my body was unable to break down saturated fat.

I’m not discounting the value of allopathic medicine, not at all, and I still see my family doctor for blood tests to monitor where my body is at, I’m being proactive rather than reactive.

I’ve had clients who were frustrated by not getting answers from their medical doctor. The allopathic medical system, unfortunately, has many challenges.

So back to, what does all of this have to do with menopause? By the time a woman starts her transition, her body is tired because she has gotten used to pushing herself, even when she doesn’t feel good. A lot of the exercise advice has been cardio, cardio, cardio, the ratio of women to men lifting weights in the gym is low.

A tired body, potentially some weight gain, maybe some signs of high blood sugar and cholesterol levels, then add in all of the hormonal changes brought on by menopause. It’s a lot for a body to handle! I felt like I was in fight or flight mode a lot after age 45 and so did my body. It had no idea how to support me as it was trying to keep me going with all of the demands I needed to deal with.

There is a very simple quote in medicine, test, don’t guess. The Love My Health Pro DNA test gave me so many insights as to where my body needed support and it is a key component when I’m working with my clients.

Menopause is inevitable, and there are symptoms that go along with it. By giving my body the right support, over time, my symptoms went away. When I hear women say they have been going through it for 5 years or 10 years, I say, it doesn’t have to last that long, there are other underlying issues and it’s time to get to the root cause. It’s not just menopause.

Every woman deserves to feel her best as each year goes by.

If you would like to know more, click here to send me an email.

I will share more in my next blog.

Thank you for reading my words.

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