“Peri” Doesn’t Need to be Scary!
You can actually have an enjoyable perimenopause
During perimenopause, hormones are fluctuating; sometimes wildly. This can make you feel like you’re going crazy. Symptoms are cropping up, ( sometimes ones you do not associate with hormone imbalance.) You don’t recognize yourself anymore and you can’t rely on feeling good every day. Anxiety often accompanies this stage. When will it all end, you wonder?
Perimenopause is the transitional stage from normal menstrual periods to no periods at all. It can actually start in your thirties or forties and continue until you reach the final stage, menopause, probably sometimes in your fifties. During this time, hormone imbalance generally occurs Perimenopause is a natural phase of life, but in many cases it’s a difficult transition because it can unleash a multitude of symptoms. But you can manage them and sail through it….just like I did! By the way, the average age you will reach your menopause is 51. You will probably enter menopause around the same age that your mother did.
First, let’s look at the 35 most common symptoms of hormone imbalance:
- Loss of libido
- Dry vagina
- Crashing fatigue
- Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
- Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom
- Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
- Disturbing memory lapses
- Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing
- Itchy, crawly skin
- Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
- Increased tension in muscles
- Breast tenderness
- Headache change: increase or decrease
- Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
- Sudden bouts of bloat
- Exacerbation of existing conditions
- Increase in allergies
- Weight gain
- Hair loss of thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
- Dizziness, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
- Changes in body odor
- Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
- Tingling in the extremities
- Gum problems, increased bleeding
- Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
- Osteoporosis (after several years)
- Changed in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
- Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, ‘whooshing,’ buzzing etc.
Now, repeat after me : I was not designed to suffer! I can conquer this imbalance!
WEIGHT: Let’s address one of the most common complaints of perimenopause: unexplained weight gain. You start getting “thick,” especially around the middle. Your belly bloats and you retain water, even though you never did before. You may eat less and exercise more, yet still be unable to lose weight—instead, you may even GAIN weight. Estrogen dominance is usually the culprit. When your progesterone and estrogen are unbalanced, you don’t metabolize food effectively and the calories you consume turn into fat instead of being used for energy. Exercising and dieting help a little, but you just can’t achieve the weight loss you desire. Progesterone helps support the thyroid and counterbalance estrogen dominance and also supports your thyroid (which controls your metabolism) to operate at its optimal level.
MEMORY: another common problem women face is foggy thinking and forgetfulness. You might secretly harbor a fear that this is the first stage of Alzheimer’s, but there are many, many progesterone receptor sites in the brain, so this also can be due to estrogen dominance and a lack of progesterone. For the foggy thinking and “fuzzy brain” syndrome, I love progesterone. For plain old forgetfulness, adding Phosphatidyl serine is an excellent support. I was amazed at the difference when I added Phosphatidyl serine, 100 mg per day to my regimen. I actually remembered the outfit I was wearing on my first day of Kindergarten! Wow!
DEPRESSED? ANXIOUS? This is quite common in perimenopause. Serotonin profoundly affects the brain—it is essential for a relaxed and happy brain, and serotonin is the neurotransmitter that many women become deficient in during “ Peri”. Other neurotransmitters that become depleted as women age are dopamine and GABA. If a woman’s levels are deficient or low, she will experience depression, anxiety, insomnia, and food cravings. Most women at this point feel the need for something to take anxiety, worry, and depression away. So they go to prescription drugs like Prozac, Oxycontin, or Xanax, which are readily handed out by doctors. I have even heard of birth control pills being given out for anxiety. Yikes! You have better choices…bio-identical hormones, my friends.
HEADACHES: Yes, headaches are part of the perimenopausal experience for many women. Women suffer migraines about 3 times more frequently than men, affecting up to 60% of all women at some point AND they occur more frequently during perimenopause. When the levels of estrogen and progesterone change, women are more vulnerable to migraine headaches. Too much estrogen causes blood vessels to dilate. If your progesterone is too low to balance your estrogen, leaving you estrogen dominant, the swelling blood vessel dilation caused by unchallenged estrogen can bring on those migraines. Also, insufficient magnesium levels make arteries more susceptible to spasm. Again, a reason for this deficiency in magnesium is an imbalance of estrogen to progesterone. By the way, this imbalance is also a dangerous setup for breast or reproductive cancer.
What can you do?
If you are not with a qualified doctor, he or she may prescribe synthetic estrogen and possibly a progestin drug. In other cases, your doctor may not recognize that your symptoms are hormone related and instead prescribe side-effect-laden antidepressant drugs, addictive anti-anxiety drugs, or sleeping pills. OR, they know that synthetic hormones are harmful so they prescribe these other drugs instead. No, no, no….Bio-identical hormones are the answer. A simple jar of over-the-counter progesterone crème can help with all 35 of the symptoms listed above. To see some really good testimonials, go to http://bhnformulas.com and look on the right hand side at the bottom of the page.
Okay, so now you have the scoop…”Peri needn’t be scary” because Perimenopause is a passage…a passage into the next part of your life called menopause…it does not require harmful drugs because it is not a disease!
Call me if you need more help!
Perimenopause is the transition you go through as your ovaries gradually begin to shut down. They do this gradually. So, it can last for up to 10 years. Perimenopause usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in her 30s or even earlier. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause,which is the the point when the ovaries stop releasing any egg at all and when you get NO progesterone whatsoever.
The main Symptoms Include:
- Irregular Menses
- Weight Gain
- Decreased Fertility
- Mood Swings
- Loss of Libido (sex drive)
- Feeling like an “alien” in your own body
- Breast Tenderness
- Alterations in your cholesterol levels
- Bladder Problems
- Hot Flashes
- Loss of skin tone, wrinkling
There is help! Don’t wait until you have suffered for 10 years or more, as many women do. We live in a world where toxins are affecting our hormones and we become unbalanced. So, let’s get back to balance!