If you’re like me and are in your 40’s, you may be noticing some weird changes with your periods. Heavy flow, mood swings, insomnia and irregular cycles? You may be entering perimenopause. Your doctor may suggest the pill or antidepressants to help manage these symptoms, but there are natural alternatives. Acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutrient support can all even out the hormonal rollercoaster of perimenopause.
What’s going on?
Perimenopause is the 2-12 years before menopause, when hormone levels can start to fluctuate. Oestrogen levels are up and down, causing the anxiety, night sweats and heavy periods that some women experience. Progesterone levels are slowly decreasing, as our ovaries get less efficient at making it.
Life is stressful and busy, and maybe you feel as though you’re not handling things as well as you used to. Many women feel anxious, depressed or just not quite themselves in their 40s. Sex hormones are powerful agents in our emotional and mental health – your brain has oestrogen and progesterone receptors too! Like other body systems, the brain has to adjust to fluctuating levels of hormones. By balancing hormones and supporting optimal health, many of the feelings you may be putting down to “life” can be reduced, helping you get back to feeling vital again.
Lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your hormone health. Acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutrient support are helpful if your symptoms are severe or you’re struggling to make changes on your own.
Eat Your Greens
Food is the best medicine! Eating a wide range of vegetables and fruit will ensure you’re getting beneficial phytonutrients, which support healthy oestrogen metabolism. Aim for at least 1-2 cups of different coloured vegetables each day.
Alcohol can reduce the capacity of your liver to metabolise oestrogen. It also decreases progesterone levels, and increases the production of stress hormones. Most women are ok to have a few standard drinks a week, but if you’re really struggling with perimenopausal symptoms, consider cutting out alcohol completely.
Stress reduction and Self Care
Stress has a strong impact on female hormones, and getting your stress levels under control is an important aspect of managing the symptoms of perimenopause. Studies suggest that women who do mindfulness or other relaxation techniques experience a reduction in hot flushes, depression and mood swings.
Acupuncture, yoga and herbal medicine all reduce levels of stress hormones, calming the nervous system and building resilience to the ups and downs of life. Taking time out to look after yourself will also have positive impacts on your mood, sleep and energy levels.