Perimenopause. It starts for us ladies at some point in our late 30s or 40s. The fluctuating hormones at this time in our life can make it very challenging to lose weight and be as healthy as we’d like to be. The perimenopause process can take years and it starts with a decrease in the hormone progesterone and finishes with a decrease in oestrogen.
For some women their moods become unpredictable, they gain weight, experience PMS, shorter cycles, waning libido and their energy tank feels on empty. Perimenopause is in fact a more challenging time than menopause itself due to the monthly hormone fluctuations. You can feel stressed more often than before, insomnia and night waking become a regular occurrence and your metabolism becomes less forgiving. The symptoms are numerous and if you’re experiencing four or more hormonal symptoms at a time it’s likely you have started that journey.
During perimenopause, your ovaries are not producing the same, consistent levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone and your brain is less responsive to the hormones your ovaries do still produce, in particular the happy hormone, serotonin. Some ladies do go through perimenopause with few issues, others feel like they are going crazy.
The ovaries produce less ripe eggs so the body produces more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone to stimulate the ovaries to do more. When FSH gets high enough hot flushes become the norm. The thyroid becomes sluggish which slows your metabolism down, you never have enough energy and your mood becomes erratic. The adrenals also pump out more stress hormones.
Perimenopause can be a rocky road but with the appropriate nutritional support and lifestyle changes, it doesn’t have to be an unpleasant journey. The very first thing you can do is work on reducing your stress levels – this is super important. Eating foods to support your hormones is essential and hormone testing is recommended if after making adjustments you are still experiencing symptoms. Then a Nutritional Therapist can design a diet and lifestyle regime tailored specifically for you. Life is so much more comfortable when your hormones are working for you and not against you.