Scott: Are menopausal problems worse now than they were 20, 30 years ago? Seems like every doctor we talk to, no matter what their area of specialty is, they say things are more pronounced, and in large part because of the diet. The diet's gotten so bad over the last quarter century or so. How big of a factor does that play?
Dr. Erin Lommen: I love that you asked. One of the areas that I study and teach on a lot is adrenal function, and if you remember, adrenals are the stress gland. And so I think diet is included in that discussion because it's a broader blanket of saying what's changed. And definitely, other factors are playing a role in why we're seeing a more pronounced set of symptoms in women.
And, the adrenal gland I think is also shifting with modern culture. Wherein we've always had stress, human beings have stress, but the types of stress that we're programmed to deal with. That gland that regulates adrenal function is very primitive, and so it doesn't know the difference between ambient noise, of us sitting in a room and there's a telephone ringing, or that kind of thing, versus real danger. It's that primitive. And so, it's heightening its awareness and arousal in a sense to respond in fight-or-flight far more often due to modern stimuli.
Think of computers. Think of all the things we do without a real thought to it. It's not stressful, and we don't even report that it's stressful when they do these studies. And yet, actually, your cell phone buzzing on vibrate changes your adrenal awareness. That's stimuli. You become aware of it, and you would say, no, that's not stressful, yet blood pressure goes up. Some things change. That's just a small example, but my intent is to say so much is rapidly changing around stimuli. Adrenals are trying to handle all that, and so we set the stage for being compromised, or a little burned out by the time women come into the menopausal transition, and so then, those symptoms are far more pronounced.