Perimenopause is the term used to describe the transit towards menopause. The perimenopause generally starts for women between the age of 40-50, and lasts for approximately 4 years, but I have treated women as young as 32 with perimenopausal symptoms.
Any number of symptoms can present during this time but the keynote is usually irregular periods, or a change in flow or duration. Of course, if you’ve always experienced irregular periods, you may not notice a particular change here. The irregularity is the result of fluctuating oestrogen (and progesterone) levels, but always ending in a peak in oestrogen again (whereas in menopause the peaks become ebbs, with a gradual lowering of female hormones generally).
Some other common symptoms of perimenopause are:
Easing your way into menopause
Menopause comes to all of us women. The perimenopause and menopause are viewed by western society as conditions of lack (of hormones). The view at Sleepability is that perimenopause and menopause are adjustments and a natural progression towards a new chapter in your life – to be welcomed, and not shunned or avoided. The body has innate wisdom and knows what to do. The problem is we often get in our own way, trying to continue with ‘business as usual’, and not yielding to the seasonal changes of our lives.
At Sleepability, I see the price people pay for not working with their body on a regular basis. The problem is, we’ve all become so busy and distracted from our natural biorhythms – and those of nature – that we can’t read the signs that our body is giving us. Whatever your symptoms, Sleepability always views them as the messenger from your body rather than the problem itself. Some symptoms shout loudly whereas others are more of a whisper, identified by expert case-taking skills acquired over 20 years.
There are lots of natural remedies to treat hormonal fluctuations which gently address and ease the body’s current obstacle to health and balance, rather than enforce ebbing levels of hormones back to how they were with synthetic alternatives.
My top tips for a healthy perimenopause
- Look after your gut! Hormones are produced in your gut, and is why a healthy microbiome also helps your sleep (it is where Melatonin is made).1 Help balance your gut flora on a daily basis by:
- eating plain kefir yoghurt, kimchi, brined veg, sauerkraut to feed your healthy gut flora. Eat a variety of fibre, fresh fruit & veg, plant based foods, pulses, wholegrains, quality protein. Avoid processed foods, and drink water to keep your gut hydrated and able to cleanse itself. Following these tips will help your hormone levels, sleep and, in turn, many about all of the symptoms listed above. See my blog ‘Healthy Gut = Healthy Sleep’. https://sleepability.co.uk/a-healthy-gut-healthy-sleep/
- Try Kegel’s/pelvic floor exercises. To support your uterus, bladder, small intestine and bowel, which change as we approach menopause, start practising pelvic floor/Kegel’s exercises. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles you can do the exercises in any position (sitting, standing, lying). Repeat 10-15 times, two to three times daily. Breathe normally and try not to hold your breath while doing these exercises. This link takes you to the NHS information page about this. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/womens-health/what-are-pelvic-floor-exercises/
NB: do not practice this while urinating as it can lead to urine retention problems.
- Yoga. Yoga has so many benefits that it is probably easier to list those it doesn’t help! Research has proven the link with improved menopause symptoms through yoga, especially the more relaxing restorative yoga practices.(2)
- Don’t worry, be happy! If mood swings or depression are a problem at this time, start taking a B vitamin complex, and especially B6, as it is a vital precursor that helps make serotonin, the happy hormone.3 B vitamins are also important for memory, cognitive function and to avoid dementia. Good food sources are pork, poultry, peanuts, soy beans, wheatgerm, oats, bananas and milk. Adult women should aim to take 1.2mg pd – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/
If you are not taking antidepressants, you might want to consider the supplement “Positive Outlook” which is a convenient combination of Tyrosine, B vitamins and 5HTP, another precursor to serotonin.
- Magical Magnesium. Medical evidence has highlighted that Magnesium supplementation is effective in the prevent of dysmenorrhea (painful periods), PMS, menstrual migraine and general menopause symptoms.4 This is because it helps the parathyroid glands – which produce hormones – function normally with sufficient amounts of Magnesium. Good food sources are spinach, nuts, wholemeal bread. Adult women should take approximately 270mg per day. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/
You can order your supplements from the Natural Dispensary via Sleepability and benefit from a 10-15% discount off of their RRP. Contact me for more details of how to claim your discount.
- Natural remedies. There are too many natural remedies to help with perimenopause to list here, because everyone is unique and ‘one size does not fit all’. So, rather than self-prescribe, why not contact me for a bespoke consultation to identify the best remedies and relaxation techniques for your unique symptoms?
To mark World Menopause Day on 18 October 2020, you can benefit from 25% discount off of all my programmes for bookings made until 31 October 2020. Contact me today and start your journey to wellness. Because your hormones (and sleep) matter.
1 Li et al, 2018: – ‘The role of the microbiome in insomnia, circadian disturbance and insomnia – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6290721/
2 Cramer et al, 2018: “Yoga for menopausal symptoms-A systematic review and meta-analysis” – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29452777/
3 Mikkelsen, K et al, 2016: “The Effects of Vitamin B in Depression” – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27655070/
4 Parazzini, et al, 2017: “Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review” –