Making Sense Of Perimenopause & Menopause

Its an interesting topic and on a lot of women’s minds, that’s why I put it out there, because many women may not realise that they may be in this natural phase of life, as it wasn’t spoken about often or possibly even mentioned while we were growing up.

Perimenopause can bring unexpected symptoms and changes in your cycle and body, often leaving you frustrated as if your body has a mind of its own. Many people confuse menopause with perimenopause or use the terms interchangeably, which can add to the confusion. The most challenging phase typically occurs during perimenopause when hormonal fluctuations are more unpredictable.

The understanding behind the scenes is due to the natural decline in both progesterone and estreogne levels. The entire menopause shift takes place over =/- 20 years, starting anywhere in your late 30’s to early 40’s and then into the late 50’s/ early 60’s.

Things I commonly hear from women in my practice that are going through exactly what you may be experiencing:

Q: I’m to young to be associating with the word menopause, isn’t that only for much older women

A: Menopause sets in from the ages of approx. 50, where as perimenopause is a stage on its own leading up to menopause and can come with similar symptoms, often occurring from the age of 42-50.

Q: I cant lose wight like I use to, and its all sitting around my middle section

A: In the short version when these levels of estrogen and progesterone start to drop it leads to an increased conversion of carbohydrates into fat, as well as sugar cravings.

Also low estrogen levels also cause fat to be stored around the middle as visceral fat.

Q: I’m struggling more so now with constipation, bloating and water retention than I have ever before?

A: Estrogen and progesterone levels influence the motility of the GI tract, they have push and pull effect that stimulates the peristaltic movement, so when these levels start to decline, this influences the rate in which food is pushed through the tract, leading to irregular bowel movements and bloating. Progesterone is also a natural diuretic which helps with water retention (More info on this watch this episode)

Q: How do I know when i’ve crossed over into Menopause

A: Once you have not had your period for a full year, is the main signal that you have crossed over into Menopause (its also in the name : Meno = menstruation, pause =  paused, quite simply pause in menstruation)

 Some of the most common symptoms that come with peri menopause can include the following:

  • Shorter or longer cycles with more or less bleeding 
  • Irregular periods (in spite of being regular in the past) 
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Sudden or increasing weight gain, especially around the middle
  • Mood swings, increased irritability and anxiety
  • Sleep problems (waking at 2 am?) 
  • PMS like never before 
  • Dry skin (no amount of moisturizer is enough) 
  • Reduced sex drive & vaginal dryness
  • Thinning and/or falling hair (the ponytail isn’t as thick) 

Changes to support you through perimenopause and menopause:

If you’re struggling with perimenopause, I highly recommend changing your diet. Ideally, you should make healthier adjustments to your overall eating habits. This is something I help my clients with, so you don’t have to do it alone.

Remember, your body may no longer handle carbs as well as it used to, so try to base your diet around protein sources like organic meat, wild fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, tofu, chickpeas, beans, and lentils. Additionally, incorporate plenty of vegetables, especially green leafy ones, focusing on those that grow above the ground.

Make sure to engage in the right kind of exercise. Prioritize resistance, weight training, and toning exercises, as too much heavy cardio can stress your body and counteract weight loss efforts.

Prioritize sleep, consider supportive herbal supplements, and focus on stress management. It’s crucial to take the time to support yourself during this natural transition.

Needing additional help? I get you and my 10 week programmes are specifically designed to help you to transition through this period gracefully, allowing you to feel empowered and back to feeling like yourself again.