They say that menopause is the anniversary of your period disappearing. Twelve complete months of no menstruation equals menopause… There has been much focus on the cruel symptoms of menopause, the truth however is that years before the final onset of menopause the body starts to change. These changes may be subtle, and easily attributed to other causes. Emotional sensitivity, erratic sleep patterns and of course weight gain. These changes may very well be symptoms of the pre-menopause phase, known as perimenopause.
As early as our late thirties our hormones may become imbalanced, (mostly estrogen and progesterone). This phase, which can last as long as 4-5 years deserves just as much attention as menopause itself. Not just to make ourselves more comfortable, but also in the hope that we may be able to prepare our bodies better for the final onset of menopause.
The traditional symptoms of this phase range from hair loss, vaginal dryness, mood swings, weight gain, insomnia, anxiety and increased bloating, amongst others.
There is no general protocol for perimenopause, simply because our symptoms vary from one woman to the next. There are two words however that can be applied that will pretty much help. They are balance and support. Because there is imbalance in the body’s hormones, the easiest way to relieve some of the symptoms is to try and keep the balance. No more late nights partying if you are having problems with sleep… if you are experiencing weight gain due to an increase in cortisol.. work on your diet, incorporating more proteins and fresh whole foods. If you are feeling emotionally strained, help balance with healing techniques…yoga, meditation, boxing!
Balance alone will not work, you will need to support as well using natural remedies and supplements. Chamomile and valerian root have been used for centuries as natural sleeping aids. Maca has been used as a hormone-balancing natural supplement. Probiotics will help balance the healthy function of your gut. Vitamin E is said to work wonders for vaginal dryness, and biotin, silica, copper and zinc are known to strengthen the hair.
Maybe one more word to keep in mind is ‘investigate’. Our bodies are delicately calibrated machines, which means that what works for one may not work for you. The only way is to keep a close eye on your symptoms and how they respond to your balance and support efforts.
Here’s to aging gracefully!!