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  • Understanding The Symptoms of Perimenopause & Menopause: The Impact on Mental Health – Tips for Managing Symptoms Naturally

    Have you ever felt like you were “going crazy”, experiencing things that you have never experienced before – knowing that something is going on but not knowing what?

     

    When women reach their late 30s, 40s and 50s, they often face perimenopause and menopause, which can deeply impact mental health. This is often how they describe feeling.

     

    Did you know that 1 in 3 women are going through menopausal symptoms at this very moment?

     

    It’s a time when hormonal changes can make you feel like you’re losing control.

     

    I know I’ve heard that from many of my clients.

     

    What I’ve realized is that understanding what’s actually happening can make a big difference.

     

    Many women are surprised to find out that their healthcare often hasn’t prepared them for this phase. Medical training for gynecologists focuses heavily on pregnancy and delivery, with very little attention to perimeopause and menopause. This leaves many women and their doctors in the dark about the full impact of hormonal changes.

     

    What is Perimenopause?

     

    Perimenopause, the transitional phase before menopause, can last for 7 to 10 years. During this time, estrogen levels fluctuate wildly, leading to symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain, anxiety, depression, brain fog, and disrupted sleep. These symptoms can be so severe that they affect daily life, yet they are often dismissed or misdiagnosed.

     

    Even though you might not understand what is going on, it’s important that you recognize these symptoms are not “all in your head”. They are real, physical manifestations of hormonal changes.

     

    What is Menopause, and How Does it Impact Mental Health?

    Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life, marking the end of her menstrual cycles. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.

     

    You’ve finally made it! The ending of your cycle is an outward sign of what’s been going on inside your body for years.

     

    During this time, your body undergoes significant hormonal changes, especially a decline in estrogen. These changes can lead to various symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, issues with your gums and skin, and sleep disturbances. Menopause is a universal experience for all women, but the symptoms and their intensity can vary widely from person to person.

     

    The hormonal shifts during menopause can also have a huge impact on mental health. When you go through menopause, you may experience:

    ●      Mood swings

    ●      Anxiety

    ●      Depression

    ●      Burnout

    ●      Brain fog

     

    Stress levels can also increase, especially as estrogen declines and cortisol levels rise.

     

    So, now what?

     

    How Can You Manage Symptoms of Perimenopause and Menopause?

     

    Finding a menopause-informed doctor is key. Unfortunately, there are very few specialists in menopause care, but you can start by looking for those certified by the Menopause Society.

     

    Track Your Symptoms

     

    Start a symptom tracker by writing any unusual symptoms you experience. This can help you identify patterns and discuss them with your doctor.

     

    Recognize early symptoms like irregular periods, unusual itching, or increased bathroom visits.

     

    And don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.

     

    Hormone therapy, including testosterone, shows promise for muscle mass, bone strength, and even cognitive function. While traditionally used for sexual desire issues, more and more women are finding benefits beyond that. Engaging in discussions with your doctors and staying informed about new research can help you make the best choices for your health.

     

    Ask your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of hormone therapy. While not every woman will choose or need HRT, every woman deserves a thorough conversation about her options.

     

    4 Natural Ways to Manage Your Hormones During Perimenopause and Menopause

    1. Prioritize Supplements

    Even with a balanced diet, it’s tough to get all the necessary nutrients. Supplements can help fill the gaps:

     

    ●      Magnesium

    ●      Vitamin D

    ●      Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    ●      Evening Primrose Oil and Black Cohosh

     

    Always check with your doctor before starting any new supplements.

     

    2. Adjust Your Exercise Routine

    Your exercise needs to change as your body changes. Choose activities that support hormone balance and reduce stress.

     

    ●      Increase low intensity movement like walking and strength training. These are excellent for maintaining muscle mass and cardiovascular health without the added stress.

    ●      Avoid overly intense workouts like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and long-distance running. These can increase oxidative stress, which isn’t ideal during hormonal changes. It can also accelerate the aging process.

     

    3. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

    Small changes in your daily habits can make a big difference.

     

    ●      Manage stress: Practice mindfulness and prioritize activities that make you happy.

    ●      Limit exposure to toxins: Reduce alcohol, smoking, and processed foods.

    ●      Regular movement throughout the day: Simple activities like standing instead of sitting, taking short walks, and engaging in light physical tasks can boost your overall energy and well-being.

    ●      Build a supportive community: Surround yourself with friends and family who love you and support you.

     

    4. Optimize Your Nutrition

    Nutrition plays a key role in balancing your hormones during this time of change.

     

    ●      Increase protein intake: This is essential for muscle maintenance as protein can help you feel fuller and more energized.

    ●      Focus on plant-based foods, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid processed snacks and sugary foods.

    ●      Intermittent fasting can be particularly beneficial post-menopause. It helps regulate insulin levels and can aid feeling better.

     

     

    For many women, navigating menopause feels like another full-time job. You’re trying to keep up with your biometrics, understand personalized medicine, and make sure you’re doing everything to stay strong and healthy.

     

    It can be overwhelming. Remember, it’s all about making small, sustainable changes that enhance your quality of life.

     

    You’re not alone. Many women are going through the same thing.

     

    Don’t stay isolated. Pay attention to your mind and body. Advocate for yourself.

     

    If you need support, reach out. I’m ready and willing to walk with you through this transitional phase of life. 

     

    Reach out today!

     

    **Disclaimer: this is not medical advice. Please consult your physician or other healthcare provider for personalized medical attention*