You thought hormonal ups and downs ended in your teenage years. But your 40s hit and SURPRISE! You get puberty in reverse. All the hormonal roller coaster but with more responsibility and less youth.
But don’t despair – while it’s true perimenopause brings along unpleasant symptoms, there’s a lot you can do to feel better during this ‘twilight’ time of your life.
What Is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the 2-12 years before menopause. It can be the time of the greatest symptoms. The ovaries begin to fluctuate in their ovulation and production of estrogen, which can result in unpredictable heavy menstrual cycles, mood changes, hot flashes, insomnia and migraines.
Menopause, on the other hand is 12 months from your last period and usually come with no symptoms…it’s actually something to look forward to!
What Are the Symptoms of Perimenopause?
During perimenopause, the estrogen production decreases substantially and increases and decreases again. Your body must adjust to the fluctuations, putting you into estrogen withdrawals, estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency.
Perimenopause is likely happening if you have at least 3 of these 9 symptoms:
How Can You Alleviate Perimenopausal Symptoms?
Start by identifying what’s bothering you most and then working with your practitioner to address it.
Check for fibroid and endometriosis, monitor and treat iron deficiency and eliminate dairy and processed foods.
Consider low histamine and gluten-free diet, consider magnesium and riboflavin supplements, increase progesterone with herbs.
Lower the temperature at night to 16c (brrrr), eliminate alcohol, reduce coffee, consider melatonin, kava or other calming herbs, ERr731 or wild yam. These have a double whammy effect to reduce hot flashes.
If you feel like you have all the symptoms, here is wonderful action plan from the brilliant doctor Lara Briden:
Perimenopause is a normal part of life, not a diagnosis. And there are healthful, natural ways to manage the changes it can bring. If you need help navigating this stage of your life, I’m happy to chat.
I have always wanted to be a naturopathic doctor even before I knew this career existed. As a kid, I loved learning about the power of healing. I talked at length with family and friends about vitamins and minerals and, because I grew up with social worker parents, I was also passionate about mental health.
Like so many others, I ignored my heart and followed another career path. But I was miserable and lost. I worked as a flight attendant for a few years and, while traveling the world, decided to be a doctor.
Unfortunately, my personal life took an unexpected turn: I got sick, divorced, and depressed. All three, while connected, were also a painful eye-opening gift. I needed to prioritize my health and decided that I had no choice but to go back to school and become a naturopathic doctor.
It was not easy. I worked full time while in medical school and had a baby in my third year just to keep things interesting. But it was who I was meant to be and I never looked back. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping others become who they are meant to be. As E.E. Cummings stated, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are”.
Dr. Jen is a licensed naturopathic doctor. The content of her videos are intended for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Please consult your physician or qualified naturopathic doctor for medical advice.