The Effects of Isolation and Loneliness During Your Perimenopause Years
Do you have a community or support system to depend on? Friends who visit and check in on you? Family to rely on?
If not, then that isolation and loneliness could be the cause of your health problems, especially if you suffer from severe perimenopausal symptoms.
The link between poor health and lack of community has become clearer to scientists in recent years. More and more studies have come out linking mortality to social isolation. In fact, many functional medicine practitioners address this issue when treating a patient with chronic disease.
How Social Isolation and Loneliness Deteriorate Your Health
When a person suffers from loneliness, it elevates stress hormone production and causes inflammation in the body. That inflammation increases the risk of developing heart disease, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes and dementia.
Loneliness can also play a big role in your health as you enter your perimenopause years. Why? Because it has a direct impact on hormone levels.
Social isolation causes the stress hormone, cortisol, to become elevated. High cortisol disrupts the other hormones in the body, namely estrogen and progesterone. And those two sex hormones have a big impact on how we feel, especially during perimenopause. The elevated cortisol causes the estrogen in the body to increase. High estrogen, in turn, pushes down progesterone levels.
That imbalance is a condition doctors refer to as estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can lead to severe perimenopause symptoms in women as young as 30. For some it can even start in their 20’s.
The Importance of Friends and Family
If you suffer from social isolation and loneliness, then it creates an enormous amount of stress in your body- especially if you’re a parent or single parent. You need other adults in your life for connection and support.
Think about it. We are a tribal people after all. Humans have evolved living in tight-knit communities. We were meant to work together, depend on each other when the going gets tough and celebrate together when things go well. Living in a pack helps us to feel protected, safe and accepted. If we lack community in our lives, then it could have a direct impact on our physical and emotional health.
So developing a community, or at least having a few close friends to rely on, is incredibly important in helping you get your health back on track.
When healing your body, you also need to heal your heart and mind. Spending just a few hours a week with loved ones can do wonders in creating a happier, healthier you.