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Olwen Anderson's Blog

The Perils of Perimenopause

Monday, March 16, 2015
For some women, the transition from their fertile years (when they have a menstrual cycle) and menopause (when their menstrual cycle stops) can be an easy transition. For other women this time of life can be fraught with problems.  Symptoms like anxiety attacks, disrupted sleep, weight gain and problem periods can make a woman wish that menopause would get itself over with faster. And yet what can happen in the transition time of perimenopause isn’t all that well known.

The move from fertility to menopause can happen suddenly, or over about 10 years.  You’ll know if you’re in that transition from how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing. An easy and regular menstrual cycle can become erratic in timing and sometimes heavier to the point where you don’t leave the house for fear of an embarrassing accident. Anxiety attacks can appear out of nowhere. You might start waking during the night and unable to get back to sleep, despite an absence of stress. It’s all due to hormones; they’re out of balance and need to be eased gently through this transition time.

One of the reasons your hormones have become unbalanced is because your ovaries are running out of eggs. In a normal reproductive cycle an egg is released from one ovary or the other every month, and for a few days after that the ovary releases progesterone. This hormone has a vital role: to let your uterus know that an egg has been released and might be fertilised on its way, so keep that womb lining in place in readiness. Progesterone has another powerful effect, on your mood. It’s known as the hormone of calm and peacefulness; the right amount of progesterone helps keep you calm and happy so you’re more fertile – if you’re stressed your fertility is very successfully suppressed.

Since your ovaries run out of eggs as you age, there are more and more cycles where no egg is released from an ovary, and therefore less progesterone is released to help keep you calm and happy.  As a result you can become more easily stressed, your sleep disrupted and anxiety levels rise. So if you were wondering why you are more easily upset than you used to be, perimenopause could be the reason!

Naturopathic support of the perimenopause utilises the natural hormone mimics in plants to replace that shortage of progesterone. You can help too with following basic good health practices (regular exercise, adequate time for sleep, healthy food, stress management) to help ease you on the path towards menopause. And, of course, if I can help you navigate this time of life more successfully I'd love to! Give me a call at the clinic on 0427 558 870 and book your appointment.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy "how being active can help you manage your hormones", here

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Olwen Anderson @olwenanderson


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