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{Guest post by Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative}

3 tips for perimenopause

As you approach your 40s, your reproductive years are starting to wind down, and that means changes in your hormones.  These changes are inevitable, but the severity of  your symptoms depends on your overall health and your knowledge of what is going on in your body and what to do about it.

Let’s review the hormonal changes that occur at perimenopause and menopause, and then we’ll look at how to optimize your health and avoid weight gain, memory lapses, hot flashes, moodiness and insomnia.

Menopause is when your period stops altogether, and the average age for this is 51. But perimenopause, a word rarely heard in our culture, is the 5-10 year period of hormonal fluctuation that leads to menopause.  It is usually these years that are most challenging.

During perimenopause, your ovaries are not functioning as well; this is a part of normal aging.  But your brain still tries to keep the ovaries working, and some months it’s successful and you ovulate; sometimes it’s not and you don’t. The varying hormone levels that occur in these monthly attempts to keep cycling are what can cause symptoms.

 

Tip #1- Avoid Estrogen Dominance

The main hormone imbalance you’ll experience is called estrogen dominance. The amount of estrogen you have is higher relative to progesterone. (Progesterone is only produced in high quantities after a strong ovulation.) Estrogen can be extra dominant when you are are getting xeno-estrogens from things like plastics and fragrances, or if you’re overweight, as fat tissue produces estrogen.

Estrogen dominance can lead to the dreaded heavy periods, frequent periods and mid-cycle spotting of perimenopause.

You can do many things to reduce estrogen.  Here are a few:

1. Avoid non-organic, processed foods, plastics and artificial fragrances that contain xeno-estrogens.

2. Eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetable fibers that nourish your good gut bacteria.  Your gut helps you clear used estrogens!  How many strange vegetables can you buy & try?

3. Manage your weight. An easy way to slim down is to avoid sugars in coffee drinks, alcoholic drinks and treats. Stick to it for a couple weeks and watch your muffin top melt!

 

Tip #2- Love On Your Adrenals

As your ovaries slow down and produce less hormone, ideally your adrenal glands will bridge the gap and keep you feeling well.  But you’re likely stressed with working, managing a household, and perhaps raising kids or caring for elderly parents.  This often means your adrenal glands have been overworked for years as you’ve lived in ‘flight or fight’ mode. So now it’s time to really love up on your adrenals!

Here’s how:

1. Get to sleep by 10 PM.  There is a deeper level of restoration that happens when you are asleep in the hours before midnight. Try it each night for a week and notice your energy improve!

2. Get vitamin C.  Your adrenal glands use a LOT of vitamin C, especially when you’re stressed or dealing with chronic inflammation, viruses, etc.  You can use ½ lemon in water first thing in the morning and again in early afternoon.  You can also look for a supplement with vitamin C plus bioflavonoids, and take 1,000 mg /day twice a day, if your doctor approves.

3. Take rest breaks.  Do you want a break?  Of course you do! As women, we drive ourselves hard. But you have to take care of you; there is no one else in charge of your care. Try these two tips:  After lunch, take a 10 minute lie down. Yes, lie down flat and just rest.  If you work outside the home, maybe bring a yoga mat to work and find a quiet place, or go to your car.  If it’s nice you can go lie outside. Then as your day closes, but before dinner, take your 10 minute lie down again.  You can’t just read this, you really have to do it!  You’ll feel the reset when you do take these short breaks.

 

Tip #3- Get A Good Night’s Rest

Many women have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and sleep is super important at this time in life.  We produce growth hormone as we sleep, and this growth hormone repairs and rebuilds us; sleep is the fountain of youth! So here are a few ideas if you’re having trouble:

1. If you are having trouble falling asleep because of a busy mind, take time to wind down at night.  Read a book, take a stroll or take a bath.  Avoid screens and turn down the lights around the house.  If you still need help, try drinking a ½ teaspoon of nutmeg in warm almond milk a bit before bedtime.  You’ll be surprised how sleepy it makes you!

2. For an aromatherapy approach, dab a few drops of pure vetiver and pure lavender oils under your nose and at your temples. Or use a cold mist diffuser to spread this goodness into your bedroom air.

3. If you wake up during the night, you can still try the above tips, and you may need to look at your blood sugar and liver function. You should be able to burn stored energy as you sleep.  If your body can’t do this, your body will spike your energy levels to release blood sugar, and you’ll wake up. Be sure to avoid alcohol, sugar and high carbohydrate foods before bed. Try not to snack between meals and get plenty of healthy fat in your diet from coconut oil, raw nuts, avocados, grass-fed butter or ghee, etc. If you have a great diet, don’t snack, and go to bed early, waking up in the middle of the night may indicate a more complex problem.  If your liver is working overtime at night to deal with parasites or other infections, it can’t manage your blood sugar at night as well.  This is no diagnosis, just something to consider with your functional health practitioner!

There are MANY more tips on how to thrive in perimenopause and menopause on the upcoming free summit, Hormone Balance After 40.  You’ll hear 30+ experts on the topics like:

  • Boosting your Metabolism
  • Reclaiming your Sex Drive
  • Restoring Mental Clarity.

The best part is that it’s all free and you can attend online from any computer or smartphone!  Register here for your own Hormone Balance After 40!

What to do next?

1. Revise your expectations and expect resistance

If you’re familiar with The Optimised Health Formula, then you know that Step 1 of successfully pulling out a strategy to optimise your health is to shift your mindset. We’ve looked at a few things you can do to improve your health. The ball is in your court. Yes, we all know that it takes more than just knowing what to do to actually do it.

That’s why I want to invite you to revise your expectations. Know that there will be resistance along the way. You might say to yourself “I’ll have a look tomorrow again”, “that’s not so urgent”, “I’m not sure that’s for me”, “I don’t think this will work for me”, or many other things. Often when we’re stepping out of our comfort zone (a.k.a. what we’ve been doing until now) we’re finding excuses to keep on doing what we’ve always done. The first step in success is acknowledging that. So… acknowledge where you’re at. Then…

Revise your expectations bearing in mind your goals AND your life. Not everything that I’ve shared in this blog post will resonate with you. Not everything will be applicable to you either. And that’s alright! But you’ve got to start somewhere.

So, as long as you’re clear on your goals and on your vision (Step 2 of The Optimised Health Formula), take a conscious decision of what you want to apply starting from today.

 

2. Carve out time, and make a plan

That’s where carving out time, and making a plan comes in. You know yourself at that stage better than I do. Use that knowledge to implement a plan of action that will help you start making positive changes into your life, that will soon bring positive changes in your health.

 

3. Just start

There’s no tomorrow in success. Any successful path starts today, with a small change that you keep on building onto. Commit to starting today with ONE small thing, and share with me in the comments what it is. This commitment will help you start – and keep – taking action!

 

4. Get support

We tend to want to do things on our own. I’m not stranger to that either. But I’ve learnt over time, and I’ve seen both with my personal coaching clients and professional mentoring clients, as well as with myself, that getting support helps to really create the change we’re after. So, if you’re stuck wondering what’s next, and you know you need help, I invite you to check out the many online resources I have created to help you reach your best of health: free articles, online community, online books and courses. If you’d like private personal coaching guidance, you can also book a call with me to discuss the personal coaching options that are available for your special needs.

 

Note: if you’re a professional and you’re interested in getting your clients the results they’re after, I invite you to check out our sister website for professional mentoring AudreySArnold.com.