Perimenopause: P1: What It Is, Myths and Common Symptoms
There is an unfortunate epidemic of women who are tired, unhappy and overwhelmed. They tend to be in their late 30’s, 40’s and early 50’s. These women suffer from fatigue, chronic irritability, irregular and painful menstrual cycles, dried out vaginas, low libido and mediocre orgasms.
Whats worse is we have a medical community telling them “This is part of ageing” and giving them quick fix pills to quell their symptoms. But they never get to the root cause.
Perimenopause is the 5-10 years before you hit menopause. During this time, your hormones change (again) to increase fertility in order to get pregnant one last time before the whole thing stops and you advance in wisdom. Women who have had children are more susceptible for hormonal malfunctions because pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period wreak havoc on the adrenal glands. Oh, and you have had years of lack of sleep and stress about kids. And just like our muscles, immune system and attitudes, our hormones have the ability to bounce back for said disruption and overdrive - unless you don’t take care of yourself properly.
Food choices, environment, attitude, ageing, stress, genetics and exposure to endocrine disruptive chemicals all play a part in how we experience our menstrual cycles, perimenopause and menopause. Ignored hormonal issues can cause big problems; osteoporosis, breast cancer, thyroid malfunction and obesity to name a few. Not to mention, it make a huge impact on quality of life.
Some of you may not want to sleep with you husbands right now but can you imagine how awesome it would be to be hot for him again? Or at least want to have sex just for the sake of your own damn self and enjoy it? The fact is, sex is an act of transcendental intimacy that keeps couples bonded and enjoying each other on a deeper level. Any time sex goes out the window in a relationship, it is a quite a shame - and for many marriages, the beginning of the end.
The sad thing is this suffering is so common and well know, that we make jokes about it constantly. Think about the sitcom scene of the husband out in his man cave with his friends making jokes about what is more likely: Pigs flying or my wife giving me a blow job?
Meanwhile the wife is tired, grumpy and suffering from an endless stream of headaches.
Although this is common, this is NOT NORMAL way of functioning.
You can be in your 40’s full of energy, having a good relationship with food and your body. You can still get lusty eyes in your 50’s and experience enjoyable instead of painful sex. You can feel beautiful and not gain weight when you even smell cake. It’s possible!
But it does take some time, patience and self awareness.
Unlike conventional medicine, fixing hormones naturally takes time. But this is a good thing. If you haven't heard by now, hormonal replacement therapy has a whole host of side-effects itself. It is much safer to approach this slowly and take as many natural steps as possible before riding on the hormonal replacement therapy train.
Again, this is GOOD. If you are suffering like this now, it’s because you ignored the symptoms you body was giving you for so long that now there is something truly off. This is a journey to get to know your body and hoe to take care of it better. This knowledge will give you a lot more control and relief in the decades to come.
There is an inherent wisdom in the body. The body is always seeking homeostasis - or equilibrium. It knows how to correct what is on or off - but we gotta listen and give it help: making lifestyle changes and paying more attention to what we put in and around out body comes in handy.
Identifying root causes is a BIG part of your remedy. Every BODY is different and the cause of your suffering can be different too. You my have low or high estrogen, low or high progesterone, low or high cortisol, high androgen or low thyroid. All of these have specific symptoms and solutions.
But that is way beyond the scope of this article. I am here to give you an outline of healthy living and how to easily identify the most common problems so we can fix them.
Some of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance are:
Excessive weight around the midsection
A feeling of running out of time
Being rushed from task to task
Poor sleep quality
Skin issues like cystic acne, eczema, premature ageing
Feeling like you can’t get going through your day for more than 3 days a week
Sometimes, huge problems can be fixed by cutting out coffee and replacing two of your four hit classes with yoga or walking instead. Sometimes it can be solved with meditation, finding a hobby and some more polyphenols.
The point is this is not how you life is going to be forever. And if you are young, it is NOT your fate to turn into a bitter, grumpy, overweight hag like some expect us to be.
Our bodies are complex machines and it is up to us to make sure they are well maintained. Don't let a doctor tell you that your perpetual discomfort is “just part of ageing.” There is no universal law that says older equals worse. It’s bullshit.
Perimenopause is simply a transition and you just have to know how to troubleshoot it.