What is peri-menopause and what are the signs? - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Peri-menopause is considered the 2 to 12 years prior to menopause. Many women may be surprised to learn that the transition begins from 35 years of age and can often be the time of greatest onset of symptoms leading up to menopause. Physiological effects may begin to emerge in small episodes without realising the signs...

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Although the natural rhythm of hormonal fluctuations during peri-menopause into menopause coincides with some altering of the mind and body, the severity of these alterations can be supported and regulated to ease severity...

Consider the thought that peri-menopause is a woman’s 'second puberty': this may make sense to you more when grasping your symptoms.

The 4 phases of peri-menopause:

  • Very early Perimenopause 2-5 years
  • Menopause transition period 1 with irregular menstruation and flow variations – 3 years
  • Menopause transition period 2 with skipped periods extended time without blood flow – 3 years
  • Late Peri-menopause period when final menstruation fluctuations stop – 1 year resulting in Menopause

There is a sequence of changes that take place:

  1. Reduction in Progesterone
  2. High and fluctuating oestrogen
  3. Rising Histamine
  4. Lowered oestrogen
  5. Increased Insulin Resistance
  6. Testosterone ratio to Estrogen is raised
  7. Cortisol levels begin to rise

What do these changes mean?

A reduction in Progesterone can affect mood and it plays a crucial role in the body’s stress response and supports our brains connection with the calming hormone GABA.

A rise in cortisol occurs mainly in the later phase 1 and 2, having an effect by further lowering progesterone, increasing body weight, lowering bone density and elevating hot flushes.

If cortisol levels are higher in the evening there may be altered sleep patterns causing insomnia. This may affect adrenal function during the daytime hours affecting how we manage daily stress and energy levels.

A reduction in estrogen also triggers inflammatory processes, including stiffness in joints and pain, glucose fluctuations and causes commonly known hot flushes.

The fluctuation of Estrogen triggers the rising histamine and allergic tendencies are affected, there can also be headaches, heavier than normal periods that are inconsistent.

As testosterone declines slowly as we age, it often remains at a higher level than estrogen during later stages of peri-menopause, however, raised levels affects insulin resistance and menstrual cycles.

Re-calibration of body and mind!

I just love to share the term 're-calibration' as it resonates positive steps forward and allowing mind to adjust to the changes and meet the body’s demands with a positive forethought of your future steps towards menopause!

If you are experiencing debilitating daily symptoms then additional support to re-calibrate may be needed. An example of additional support may be if a woman has an existing reproductive disorder like Polycystic Ovaries or Endometriosis and their symptoms may be elevated, requiring more targeted support to bring about harmony during this ‘re-calibration of mind and body’.

The aim of natural medicine is to help the body stabilize natural processes and reduce debilitating symptoms affecting a woman’s daily life tasks and enable a more comfortable transition and finally a successful outcome for menopause.

Food & Lifestyle changes to help

  • Nurture the nervous system and encourage a healthy stress response
  • Enhance metabolic function and restore cellular processes
  • Support glucose metabolism and reduce severity of insulin resistance
  • Assist the body to clear excess estrogens and help lift progesterone
  • Assist the body to alleviate symptoms of a raised testosterone level and negligible estrogen
  • Help the body maintain body weight and maintain muscle mass
  • Assist to regulate & improve quality of sleep for recovery and breakdown of excess hormones
  • Help to reduce risk of chronic disease onset and
  • Treat existing symptoms and health conditions that may be impeding current health status and vitality

Are you 35 or older with unexplained hormone changes?

If you answer yes, there may be a need to reassess the possibility of early phase-perimenopause. Take steps towards supporting re-calibration of body and mind.

Do you have a pre-existing female reproductive illness?

If you answer yes, you may wish to consider gaining additional support to assist with hormone regulation and reduce bodily dysfunction.

Menopause will occur, it is a natural transition for a woman’s body and soul to enter into ageing as best she can, with open arms and acceptance. We are given time to adjust, to heal, to support our mind and body as best we can to enable a comfortable transition.

The fundamental principal of ‘re-calibrating’ body and mind in line with hormonal transition earlier rather than later in our life stages is the link to an improved outcome and a connected experience into healthy ageing.

Take the next step towards menopause with our help

  • Begin to reduce alcohol consumption
  • Reduce your stress load and allow increased down time in your day
  • Take up yoga or a meditation class to ease the mind
  • Begin to introduce more plant based foods into your diet
  • Begin to have flaxseeds/linseeds daily for fibre, omega oils and phyto-estrogens such as soybeans and tofu
  • Exercise moderately each day and introduce weight bearing and stretching
  • Increase magnesium, B vitamins, omega 3 oils and collagen
  • Enhance gut flora and bowel function with wholefoods, low sugar and plenty of green leafy vegetables
  • Take steps to restore a leaky gut or inflamed gut wall to improve nutrient uptake and toxin elimination

McDowells products

Menopause Transition Support
Menopause is a natural stage of life where menstruation ceases due to a decrease of hormones. There can be symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. There may also be sleep disturbances, anxiety or depression.
This mix contains herbs which have been traditionally used to support a women through this transition period and ease symptoms of menopause.

Menoplus 8
MenoPlus 8-PN has beenclinically demonstrated to reduce the incidence of hot flushes associated with menopause.

Hot flushes
Hot flushes are a common symptom of menopause and occur due to alternations in the peripheral circulatory system. This mix contains herbs traditionally used to support and regulate the hormones, and the peripheral circulatory system.

Metabolic Reconditioning Mix
This mix contains herbs traditionally used to support the endocrine system, improve metabolic balance and improve communication within the internal environment. Metabolic dysfunction, obesity, insulin resistance and endocrine imbalance are common drivers of disease in our modern society.

Article written by Fiona Hoptman
Herbalist & Nutritionist (ATMS 21935)
(BHSc. Western Herbal Medicine, Adv.Dip.Western Herbal Medicine, Dip.Nutrition)

Have a question? Contact McDowell's Herbal Treatments

McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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