It’s Not the Holidays – it’s My Hormones!

Many people are negatively affected by hormonal imbalances. When you add stress to that imbalance, it can often cause chaos on our bodies, mind, and life. Holidays are known to present stress to people for many reasons.  Stress tolerance and how we react to it varies with each person.  Men and women often deal with stress very differently.  It could be concerns on money and holiday spending, or missing lost loved ones, and just overwhelming demands on your energy and time.  Some people who are already hormonally imbalanced will worsen during the holidays and make this time incredibly difficult for themselves and family.

” ‘Stress’ may be defined as any situation which tends to disturb the equilibrium between a living organism and its environment. In day-to-day life there are many stressful situations such as stress of work pressure, examinations, psychosocial stress and physical stresses due to trauma, surgery and various medical disorders.” (1)

Even if you’re not already hormonally imbalanced, undue stress can trigger an issue or imbalance.

“In response to stress, the level of various hormones changes. Reactions to stress are associated with enhanced secretion of a number of hormones including glucocorticoids, catecholamines, growth hormone and prolactin, the effect of which is to increase mobilization of energy sources and adapt the individual to its new circumstance.”(2)

Our body goes into a flight or fight mode with stress. This is not conducive for festive holiday gatherings.

“In a healthy body, once the stress has passed and Cortisol levels decrease, the hypothalamus signals to the pituitary and adrenals to stop hormone production. But this doesn’t happen when chronic stress is involved.  It becomes a loop of continual release of all the stress hormones. The result is dysfunction in the HPA axis (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal).  When levels of these hormones, particularly Cortisol, remain elevated in the body, specific symptoms will begin to occur.” (3)

The response in someone who is not healthy or already has hormonal imbalance due to menopause or andropause may result in my many uncomfortable symptoms.

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

If you have been told that your hormone levels are within a normal range, the following signs may be indicative of a potential hormonal war:

  1.     fatigue
  2.     mood instability
  3.     weight gain
  4.     “foggy brain” or memory loss
  5.     adult acne
  6.     hair loss or excessive facial hair growth
  7.     lower sex drive
  8.     extreme PMS

These symptoms can reduce quality of life and increase chances of secondary healthy concerns if you don’t regain hormonal balance. There are solutions, however, and you don’t have to acquiesce to a lower quality of life. If you suspect that you might suffer from a hormonal imbalance, the first step is to consult with a medical professional.” (4)

Sometimes you find yourself second guessing or making excuses for not feeling as you should. The holidays bring on a lot of pleasure but also stress. If you feel as if you’re not yourself, or you have any of these symptoms, contact us today so we can help get your holiday and life back on track for the new year.


(2) ibid\

Gratitude is Healthy

This month we are raising awareness of the positive implications of Gratitude.  Many people who practice or feel gratitude in their daily lives feel happier and healthier.

Our lives are busy, often stressed and can be overwhelmed with petty details or issues that may seem important in that moment yet are not life changing. We tend to focus on the negative and forget to appreciate the positive when there are so many blessings around us. Feeling gratitude is not only important for a more positive emotional and psychological perspective, but as science is finding to our overall health.

Grateful individuals experience a wide variety of social and psychological health benefits (see e.g., Emmons & Mishra, 2011; Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010 for a review). However, few studies have examined whether dispositional gratitude might also predict physical health benefits. One possible reason is that the pathways between gratitude and physical health are less easily described than those between the trait and either social or psychological health. The current study sought to test whether grateful individuals report better physical health, and explain why these effects might occur, focusing on psychological health and health behaviors as possible intervening mechanisms. Moreover, we tested whether these pathways differ across adulthood, following recent suggestions in the personality and health literature (Hill & Roberts, 2011).(1)

This study concluded that “Dispositional gratitude predicted better self-reported physical health.”(2)

How does gratitude impact our health?

By focusing on the things we appreciate, we tend to dismiss the negative and the stress that is related to those things. Stress is unhealthy.
It causes all types of health issues and leads to unhealthy behaviors.
Gratitude helps people feel happier and these feelings generate proactive and a more preventative lifestyle choices.

“Gratitude…can be an incredibly powerful and invigorating experience,” says researcher Jeff Huffman. “There is growing evidence that being grateful may not only bring good feelings. It could lead to better health.” (2)

It’s ironic that science is just confirming what makes just good common sense.  When your life and energy is directed towards positive thinking and activities, it makes you happy.

But what do you do if you’re in an unhappy or unhealthy situation now?

It’s often hard to find those bright spots when you’re not feeling grateful or happy. Take a step back and think about the positive in your life and focus on that. If you’re having issues finding anything, seek support from others as closer intimate relationships or interactions lead to happiness and more gratitude.

Are you truly grateful for the good things in your life—or do you take them for granted?

Take the Quiz:

Grateful people are happy people, research shows. But how grateful are you? To find out—and discover steps for promoting even more gratitude in your life—take this quiz, which is based on a scale developed by psychologists Mitchel Adler and Nancy Fagley. (4)


Maintaining High Standards in Patient Care

As a medical professional my expectations are high for my staff in how they treat others. I always strive for excellence of service for our patients.  At times where the role is reversed, and I become the patient at other medical facilities, it is frustrating for me, what so many others experience elsewhere.

Where is the kindness?

I don’t know what’s happened to medical staffing and kindness anymore.

Recently, my significant other needed an MRI. The process to get an appointment was horrific.

On two occasions, we were taken off a schedule with two different companies to have a MRI procedure.

It seems the staff in both places couldn’t be bothered to look ahead at their schedules to see they either gave us the wrong location or told us we are going to have to move you as we have booked two people at your time slot.

Guess what you’re the lucky winner who gets to move is what I heard her say to me on the phone.

How did we become so lucky?

When they made the appointment last week there was no one else there at this exact time. As a patient, I am furious. As a medical professional it makes me seriously assess the sad state of healthcare.

In today’s electronic world how does this happen? Where is the email with the appointment schedule with the correct location address? How about a reminder phone call saying you are being seen at this time and location.  How about the fact that perhaps just perhaps you make two appointments at the same time doesn’t a big red X come up on the screen shouting heads up there is someone already there.

Being in this industry I know how the electronic medical charting and scheduling process work. This is just a case of people not paying attention to the details. I’m only a number and my inconvenience does not seem to matter to anyone.  They squeezed him in late in the day.  Driving to get there on time with traffic and accidents, I kindly called to inform them we might be late.  Again, not a response I wanted to hear back was, well if you aren’t here by 6pm we are locking the doors. Shock and dismay took over and I drove the best we could to get there before 6pm.  When we walked in, you could cut the air with a knife. I felt as if she was so put out that she had to stay and help someone else.  As soon as he was checked in, she left without saying goodbye.

Where has compassion and courtesy gone when they can’t even say we are so sorry we messed up. Not one apology from either one facility.

Where do ethics come into play in the medical world when people are needing that bit of compassion and concern. Did the appointment scheduler even stop to think that perhaps pushing their appointment a week or two out might be damaging to this person’s health or life?   I’m thinking not.

The Short Straw

They are only concerned with the fact that they have two people on the same time and hey we got the short straw to move yet again.

Well, I’m not into short straws anymore and I bet you aren’t either.

It’s frustrating on a personal level and on a professional level.  I want to go in and hug my staff for maintaining higher standards and treating patients as valued customers not like interchangeable straws.

CarolAnn Tutera Guest Host on 99.9KEZ

CarolAnn Tutera will be the guest host for two hours on 11/24 on 99.9KEZ The Holiday Station helping to bring in this season with health and holiday spirit!!

Listen in and enjoy the beautiful music and CarolAnn talk about hormonal balance.




There is a saying that we have friends for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime.  Think about the people in your life and what they mean to you. Think about how their friendship has a reason.  Does it feel more like a season or someone you know in your heart you will love forever?  We have work friends, activity or play friends, close friends and acquaintance friends. They are all here to help us get through a hard time, project or just the day-to-day grind of life. They are all here to help us in that moment and place in time for a reason. They are always here to help us learn an important lesson and help us grow. When we think of seasonal friends, we can think of friends that were there during our childhood, ones we fallen out of touch with or friends that we knew a while and hung out with at various times. And then there’s the category of those friends we’ve known our entire lives or will know for the rest of our lives. They feel more like family than our family.  The hard part for many of us is knowing and recognizing the difference in these types of friends and our expectations of other people in our lives . Does it even matter – if the connection makes you happier? My one group of friends were upset with me because I held them to the same standard of behavior and reactions that I had for myself. This doesn’t seem fair because we don’t have friends who we expect to do the exact same things that we do. We need friends to challenge us, help us grow and let us know when we are off track ourselves. If we want a friend that acts and responds just as we do -then get a mirror.  Often we need friends to do the exact opposite of what we do to be a good counter balance in our lives.

Friendship becomes even more important as we get older just as it was in childhood. Our ideas and connections with friends help us grow and transform. As we age our friends become our support network. One of the biggest challenges for people as they age is loneliness. “Loneliness and social isolation are growing public-health concerns for people of all ages in the United States, from young adults to seniors. Studies have long connected loneliness to a range of health issues that could threaten longevity and well-being, including higher risks of heart attacks, strokes, depression, anxiety and early death.
In the study sponsored by the AARP, researchers from the University of Michigan surveyed a group of about 2,000 Americans ages 50 to 80. More than a third of seniors in the poll said they felt a lack of companionship at least some of the time, and 27% said they sometimes or often felt isolated; most of the people who said they lacked companionship also felt isolated, and vice versa. Almost 30% said they socialized with friends, family or neighbors once a week or less.”(1)
Science has proven what many of us already knew -friends make you feel better. Whether the friend is there for a reason, season or lifetime -nurture them and enjoy the benefits.Perhaps that is why social media is so popular as it makes us feel less isolated and more connected. But, relying on these apps is no replacement for the actual companionship found in real friends of any reason, season or lifetime.


Power of Doing Nothing

In life there are times you have to act and times when it’s best to do nothing. “Psychological research shows that the harder we strive to be happy, the less likely we are to achieve that goal.”(1) Our world is so busy and filled with the demand to be busy and productive all the time. Sometimes this becomes a burden and counterproductive. We all need time to just sit and do nothing. To put away the phones, television and even our own racing thoughts. I like to think of it as turning off that laptop for a bit to reset the cache and reboot.

Our minds need that kind of break too.“Doing nothing just by itself can save you from all variety of disasters. Specifically, the ability to do nothing peacefully and calmly, without any distress, is practically a super power for all the control it gives you over your life. Doing nothing is a skill that gives you freedom. It returns your life to your highest brain, letting your executive functioning rule supreme over your appetites. It also makes life less painful in general.” (2)

Obviously, it’s not practical to sit around and do nothing all the time. But, there are times where doing nothing can be helpful to your overall happiness and ultimately be more productive when you are doing something. Many people who do nothing often find a strange state of anxiety, guilt and stress from doing nothing. Some of it is due to a lifetime of pressure to do something all the time. There is anxiety of the future, finances and losing that socially mandated sense of “keeping busy.” Yet, sometimes the best things happen when we slow down and do nothing.  As a little girl, I would spend my summers in the Catskills. Each morning I would go outside of  my grandparents bungalow and catch site of adorable wild bunnies. I would chase them, try and sneak up on them, and once I even set up a trap to catch one. I just wanted one as a pet, but no matter how hard I tried -I never caught one.  One day my grandfather handed me a carrot and said just sit in the grass and do nothing. How in the world can I catch a bunny (feeling like Elmer Fudd -“Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits” ) if I do nothing? At this point, I was willing to try anything -I sat so long doing nothing that I fell asleep in the grass with a carrot still in my hand. When I woke up there was a bunny curled up to my hand eating the carrot. “Happiness really is like a timid animal. And once you stop chasing it, you might just find that it appears naturally of its own accord.”(3)  I learned that day sometimes you just have to do nothing to be happy. To note: I learned much later that my grandfather had gone to a local pet store and placed the bunny in my sleeping arms -I got my bunny and learned a lot.




Does Halloween ever get old ?

Growing up we all loved Halloween. The candy, great costumes and the opportunity to be publicly silly or scary.  We become teens and the allure of Halloween soon diminishes. It is no longer cool to knock on doors and beg for treats, unless we are taking our younger siblings in tow. You’re told you’re too old for Halloween!  As adults, it suddenly becomes ok to celebrate Halloween again.

Now we are dressing up and being silly with kids of our own. We are vicariously enjoying the fun with our children and “testing” their candy. Our children grow up and now it’s our grand-kids who are getting ready for Halloween and the ritual costumes. We standby as spectators as we are told we are too old for Halloween.

I don’t miss the candy but I do find myself yearning for the dress up and the delight of being silly and scary myself. The older we become the more we desire and feel the need to release our inner child. I finally released that peer pressure and decided I am not too old for anything including Halloween.

This year, I’m dressing up and I don’t care if it’s cool or not! 

My house is decorated with skulls and pumpkins.  It’s fun for me. Halloween is for everyone and at any age !! Be safe and enjoy your treats.

They say you are too old to Trick or Treat when:

10. You keep knocking on your own front door.

9. You remove your false teeth to change your appearance.

8. You ask for soft high fiber candy only.

7. When someone drops a candy bar in your bag, you lose your balance and fall over.

6. People say: ‘Great Boris Karloff Mask,’ And you’re not wearing a mask.

5. When the door opens you yell, ‘Trick or…’And you can’t remember the rest.

4. By the end of the night, you have a bag full of restraining orders.

3. You have to carefully choose a costume that doesn’t dislodge your hairpiece

2. You’re the only Power Ranger in the neighborhood with a walker

1. You keep having to go home to pee.

Halloween Humor Source:

Loving Life After 50

CarolAnn Tutera is the Leading Lady of Authentic Aging and recently made the front cover of Loving Life after 50!

SottoPelle® was created and has subsequently flourished because of her dedication to people and improving the quality of their lives. The next step and evolution for SottoPelle is to support the growth of empowerment in the fifty and over age demographic. CarolAnn understands and advocates that “you can be the best you want to be at any age”. Agism and the negative connotations associated with getting older are slowly dissipating under the careful watch of CarolAnn Tutera. Her newly launched podcast “Adventures in Aging “on iTunes candidly explores the complexities, challenges and obtainable joy that can be achieved with humor and balance.  Read more about CarolAnn’s efforts to lead by example and help everyone be the best they can be at ANY AGE!

Do you have a story to tell on how your life changed for the better after 50? Contact us via email at and share your positive experiences and wisdom today.