Perimenopause: The 4 Facts


1. You lose progesterone.

Perimenopause is known as the ‘second puberty’ due to the dramatic changes in reproductive hormones during this time. With the loss of regular cycles comes the loss of cyclic progesterone being created. Progesterone has many important functions, including assisting calm steady moods, nervous system reactions, stress response, immune system health, and the health of our skin and hair.

2. Oestrogen goes on a wild ride.

Oestrogen spikes are what contribute to heavy, flooding periods, insomnia, hot flushes and mood swings. Our body notices the lack of regular ovulation occurring and starts producing increased levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) in order to stimulate oestrogen production, in an attempt to ovulate. This means that oestrogen can spike to 3 times higher than ever before, and crash lower than ever before.

3. Depression and anxiety is common.

The exposure to fluctuating hormones during the perimenopausal period is associated with depression and depressive symptoms. Studies have shown that a shorter menopause transition may protect against perimenopausal depression.

4. You can alter this course!

Symptoms during this time can include hot flushes, insomnia, weight gain, vaginal dryness, reduced libido, and weakened pelvic floor muscles. Thankfully, there are so many things you can do to have a smoother, shorter, perimenopausal transition. A smooth perimenopause usually means a smooth menopause, as the body adapts to a lower levels of oestrogen with less fluctuations.

 

What Can You Do?

  • Supplement with magnesium. This can be incredibly beneficial for helping with hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, and mood swings
  • For hot flushes, drink cool sage tea. I recommend 1 – 2 teaspoons of dried sage per cup, pour over boiling water, and drink once at room temperature. 3 – 4 cups daily is best
  • Black cohosh functions in a serotogenic manner by binding to oestrogen receptors, successfully decreasing vasomotor, psychiatric, and physical perimenopausal symptoms
  • Adaptogenic herbs are beneficial to normalise the physiological response in times of increased physical and emotional stress, as well as difficult periods of change. They help the body adapt to this time, and take some of the load off our adrenal glands
  • Consider decreasing or giving up alcohol at this time. It impairs oestrogen metabolism and detoxification, reduces our ability to deal with stress, may increase frequency of hot flushes, and depletes glutathione which negatively impacts our immune system
  • Natural progesterone can be very beneficial for some women
  • Say no more often
  • Exercise! 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days is enough to boost mood, manage stress levels, lose/maintain weight, decrease blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Increase your phyto-oestrogen intake; try sesame seeds, linseeds, alfalfa, mung beans, oats, and fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso

 

 

Thank you for reading!

Yours in good health,

Jaclyn Cave

Naturopath
BHSc (Nat)