Got the Menopause Blues?

Magnesium Could be the Solution

Studies show that magnesium benefits symptoms of anxiety, irritability, insomnia and water retention ― all common symptoms of menopause. In addition, magnesium increases levels of the mood-elevating neurotransmitter serotonin, which is important to improving sleep and memory, as well as depression.

When the perimenopause or menopause arrives, you may find yourself hit with an avalanche of life-disrupting symptoms. Could a precipitous drop in your magnesium level be the cause?

Over the past half century, magnesium intake has plummeted, thanks to mineral depletion in soil and water, resulting in mineral-poor diets. Consequently, around 75% of people in developed countries are now magnesium-deficient.

Most of us are unaware that our bodies rely on magnesium to perform more than 600 metabolic functions. However, we may become very aware of the effects of magnesium depletion.

Lack of magnesium can make itself felt in a number of ways ― stress, anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability and insomnia, to name a few.

Depending on your magnesium levels over time, you may have previously escaped these problems or experienced them only irregularly. But with the advent of perimenopause and menopause, some or all of these symptoms commonly appear or worsen for many women. Some may be severe.

One can’t say that all menopausal symptoms are due solely to magnesium deficiency, but it can certainly be a major contributor.

And it may hold a key to relieving these distressing symptoms.

Why Magnesium Levels Fall with Menopause

Beginning with perimenopause, your oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone hormones fluctuate widely.

During your child-bearing years, when you need more minerals, oestrogen promotes magnesium absorption to accommodate pregnancy. However, as oestrogen levels begin to fall with perimenopause, your ability to absorb magnesium diminishes.

The result is hypomagnesemia (magnesium deficiency), which, if not addressed, will continue to worsen with age.

How Magnesium Helps Manage Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety rank high among complaints of menopausal women. The reason? As oestrogen levels drop, you also lose the ability to effectively regulate cortisol levels.

Cortisol is commonly known as “The Stress Hormone,” and in some instances it serves a useful purpose. For example, it can help you respond instinctively to emergencies, summon courage when threatened and weather daunting challenges.

However, too much cortisol for too long leads to chronic stress, which isn’t good.

In addition to producing stress, high cortisol impairs normal cell regeneration, production of vital hormones, cognitive function and healthy digestion.

Stress begins with your pituitary gland, which releases ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), and in turn, ACTH stimulates your adrenal glands to produce cortisol.

However, if you have enough magnesium, it can:
· moderate the amount of ACTH released from your pituitary
· lessen your adrenal glands’ response to ACTH, preventing a massive release of cortisol
· block the blood/brain barrier, preventing cortisol from entering your brain

Dr. Carolyn Dean, who authored the bestselling The Magnesium Miracle, explains how, under stress, “your body creates stress hormones causing a cascade of physical effects, all of which consume magnesium.”

It becomes a vicious cycle: Stress robs you of the magnesium you need to prevent stress, which makes stress still worse. If your magnesium level is low to begin with, it can be difficult to break the cycle.

To make matters worse, during periods of prolonged stress, you further reduce your magnesium store by passing it out with urine!

And Relieve Depression

Under the relentless assault of excessive cortisol and chronic stress, people may abandon healthy mood-regulation strategies. Consequently, the longer you’re stressed, the more likely it becomes that you will find yourself on a downward slide into depression.

There is, however, hope. There’s good reason magnesium is called “the chill pill”, “nature’s relaxant” and the “anti-stress/anxiety mineral”. In one study, researchers found magnesium equally as effective as antidepressants in relieving depression, often within a week.

An interesting article by researchers George and Karen Eby theorizes that stress, together with magnesium deficiency, can cause damage to brain neurons that results in depression. On the bright side, they observe that “Magnesium was found usually effective for treatment of depression in general use.”

Studies also show that magnesium therapy benefits anxiety, irritability, insomnia and water retention ― all common symptoms of menopause.

In addition, magnesium increases levels of the mood-elevating neurotransmitter serotonin, which is important to improving sleep and memory, as well as depression.

Is Magnesium Right for You?

The magnesium in today’s refined flour is only 16% of what used to be contained in whole wheat flour.
The soil in which we grow food is depleted of minerals, and flouride has banished magnesium from our drinking water in many localities.

A hundred years ago, when magnesium was plentiful, depression occurred in only about 1% of the population. In the US, it’s now around 6.9% for adults. And as of 2014, 19.7% of people in the UK aged 16 and over showed symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Many women find upping their magnesium intake is a simple, natural way to ease menopausal symptoms, relax and get a good night’s sleep.

And because magnesium deficiency is so common and so important to many bodily functions, it may be wise to consider increasing your magnesium prior to menopause. (It can even prevent a sudden heart attack!)

There are tests to measure magnesium levels, but the serum (blood) test often fails to detect deficiencies. Some physicians recommend the red blood cell (RBC) essential mineral test as being more accurate.

You can bolster magnesium levels by including high-magnesium foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit and dark chocolate in your diet.

However, since magnesium in food is limited, you may also want to consider topping up by suing a high-quality magnesium supplement.

References

Alban, D. 8 Ways Magnesium Relieves Anxiety and Stress. Be Brain Fit.

Curb, J.D. Endocrine Function and Magnesium Menopause and Premenstrual Syndrome. National Health Federation.

Deans, E. Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill, June 12, 2011.

Eby, G.&K. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. George Eby Research, Medical Hypotheses, Jan. 2006.

Magnolia. Food and Medicine: Magnesium for Anxiety & Panic Attacks in Perimenopause. The Perimenopause Blog, Jan. 27, 2017.

Pick, M. The Destructive Effects of High Cortisol Levels. Women to Women.

How to avoid becoming an invisible woman

The menopause is a time of change that can strip away your femininity and youthfulness, leaving you feeling like an invisible woman.

However, the hormonal turbulence that comes with the menopause can be treated entirely naturally as can all those nasty symptoms that come with it.

Restorative medicine can help you find hormonal harmony: it is now possible to safely and efficiently  re-balance your hormone levels with bioidentical hormones that avoid the risks of conventional HRT, helping you shine on into a new and liberating stage of life.    

What is it about the menopause that can make you feel invisible?

Ageism

Ageism affects everyone, but we women really feel the sharp end of it. Last year, Business Champion for Older Workers Dr. Ros Altmann found that “talent progression stops for women around age 45”. You only need to switch on the TV and work out the ratio of older male/female presenters and news reporters. Unfortunately, while older women have done more than enough to show they’re just as valuable to society (one might be in the White House by the end of the year), negative perceptions have been slow to change.   

Body image

Much of this ageism is tied up in body image – something that an untreated menopause can affect greatly. But, our changing body image also challenges our own perceptions of who we are. Hormones are the life-giving force for all  of our body’s systems, that even a slight imbalance can cause changes in the body that polish off our shine and leave us feeling a shadow of our former selves.

Weight gain

Especially common during perimenopause, weight gain is caused by a combination of a switch in our minor/major hormone production, and stress. Hormonal stress can affect the DHEA-to cortisol ratio, leaving us with cortisol dominance, and the body’s natural response is to store fat. And, if your thyroid functionality drops off, no amount of diet or exercise will help you re-sculpt your midriff, as your body will start turning calories into fat instead of energy.  

Skin

Our skin tells our story, whether we like it or not. You can blame thinning skin on declining oestrogen levels, and a  saggy skin on low testosterone levels. An imbalance in testosterone, in some cases, can even cause an inflammatory skin condition called rosacea. And, if your testosterone levels are too high, you might end up with your first bout of acne since your sixth-form prom.    

It doesn’t have to be this way. Fight back with restorative medicine!

Keep those feminine curves

For the first time in your life, diet and exercise just aren’t enough to keep hold of that fabulous figure. And, it all starts with your ovarian hormones. Here’s how your levels of ovarian hormones dictate the part of the body that will gain weight:

Hormone ratio: How it affects your body:
High ratio of oestradiol (E2) (a type of oestrogen) to progesterone Weight gain around the hips
Low oestradiol (E2) with normal progesterone, testosterone and DHEA Weight gain around the middle

Both progesterone and oestrogen decline in menopause and are vital to our overall health. Progesterone is the first to decline, and to a greater degree. When this happens it can provoke an oestrogen dominance setup, which is not a good place to be, as it can present various health issues, including breast and uterine cancer. When the ratio of both these important hormones are off course, an expert in restorative medicine can create an individualised programme to restore optimal function in the body and correct the ratio of both these hormones.

Once your hormones have been restored and re-balanced, the levels of stress on the body will decrease. It will also help to optimise the DHEA-to-cortisol ratio, assisting your body to store less fat, along with decreasing your body’s propensity to break down muscle and, to become insulin resistant. Once you find your natural balance, it all falls into place.  

Give your skin a radiant glow

There’s a little trick that I want you all to know. Oestriol cream (a type of oestrogen), topically compounded with antioxidants, will breathe new life into your skin. A natural concoction of ingredients, this wonder-cream can make your skin thicker, firmer and more plump, wrinkles shallower and pores smaller.

Your skin should regain its natural elasticity within 2 – 3 months, and develop a healthy, pinkish glow. Avoid petroleum-based products for a more youthful look. Also, you’ll need a prescription for this product, so get that doctor’s appointment booked in stat!    

While the years may keep ticking over, there’s no need to accept becoming an invisible woman as an inevitability. With restorative medicine, you can carry on enjoying your youthful looks, energy and feminine charms for years to come!

Find out how restorative medicine could help you find your natural hormonal balance.   

Stress-busting tactics to reverse menopausal mood swings

There’s so much about the menopause that can totally disrupt your life. The decline in female hormones, at that time, can put a continual and incredible stress load on the body, which can go on to effect the Cortisol-to-DHEA ratio. When DHEA levels are low in comparison to cortisol we get a ‘cortisol dominance’ setup that can bring with it a host of health issues including weight gain, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

With the added stress of today’s hectic lifestyles– as stress blunts hormone production – it’s  the perfect combination for a fatal storm. The decline in sex hormones, along with an imbalance in the Cortisol-to-DHEA ratio, can make menopausal symptoms more pronounced, including:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats

What are the short and long-term stress-busting methods to help you through the menopause?

1.   Improve your diet

You really are what you eat; look after your insides by ingesting friendly bacteria from probiotics and fermented food (mainly vegetables), and you’ll experience improved brain functionality, feelings of wellbeing and mood control. This means setting aside time to cook and eat at your own pace.

2.   Don’t rely on unhealthy habits

You might get a momentary buzz from alcohol, smoking or caffeine, but they will make you feel worse in the long-run. Alcohol is a natural depressive, while smoking and caffeine throw off your body’s natural sleeping and eating patterns. All are associated with negative physical health effects.

3.   Exercise

Your body releases endorphins as you exercise, reducing pain perception and enabling a feeling of euphoria. It blocks the physical effects of stress too, those that exercised less frequently were found to experience 37% more physical symptoms during stressful times.

4.   Take a walk

Countryside residents have been found to  have a better cortisol-to-DHEA ratio than city dwellers and therefore suffer less stress. Getting back to nature – even for a 10-minute walk – can help you re-assess and gain a greater sense of perspective.  

5.   Take up a hobby

Whether it’s an existing passion or a long-held wish to learn samba, a hobby gives you time to be yourself and can take your mind off the cause of the stress. It’s a great way to socialise, and is the perfect way to set and achieve more personal goals.

6.   Socialise

Loneliness is major stressor, and prevents you from talking through your problems. Chat with people you see on your daily rounds, and attend community events to broaden your support network. Best of all – volunteer and de-stress by helping others.

7.   Make ‘me time’

Life’s all about balance, and sometimes you just need some me time. Meditation is now universally accepted as an effective stress-buster. It doesn’t require anything special, just sit quietly for 10-minutes and try to shut out the madness. Or, spoil yourself a little with a hot bath, yoga session – even a massage!

8.   Breathe right

It’s a natural process that goes on 24/7, so it’s easy to forget that breathing control can regulate physiological and bioenergetics mechanisms, oxygenating your body and settling your nervous system. There’s a technique called ‘Buteyko’ that can help you restore a normal pattern.

9.   Change your psychology

Some self-reflection is needed before you truly take control of your psychology. Optimists are better at dealing with stress. Unleash your inner optimist by making a list of all the things you’re thankful for – there’ll be more than you think! Here’s some other ways you can improve your psychology:

  • Adjust expectations
  • Say ‘no’
  • Express true feelings
  • Avoid stressful people/situations
  • Be willing to compromise
  • Manage your time
  • Accentuate the positive

It doesn’t have to be this way; fight back with restorative medicine and find the long-term solution

All of these methods will help you realign your emotions and let normal service resume… temporarily. The only way to truly take your stress levels by the reins and achieve long-term oneness is to naturally re-balance your hormone levels.

Bioidentical hormone restorative therapy lets you use natural compounds to overcome the symptoms of the menopause, without the health risks associated with synthetic HRT. Bioidentical hormones are organic compounds that are an exact copy of the human hormone, enabling them to function in the same way. 

Once your hormonal levels have returned to their natural levels, you can say ‘goodbye’ to the symptoms of the menopause and ‘hello’ to a more youthful, healthier you.

With my book, find out how you can take your first steps towards re-discovering natural balance.

Menopause and the mind

menopause-forgetfulness

Hormonal imbalances cause a whole host of unwelcome changes throughout the menopause. While the physical changes can have dramatic and often unexpected consequences, it is the cognitive effects of hormonal imbalance that can often prove the most disconcerting for women of a menopausal age.

This can take the form of anything from forgetfulness to fatigue – but there is an answer that naturally restores balance to your mind and body, without the concerning health risks of HRT, and that’s restorative medicine.    

So what are the potential psychological effects of the menopause if left untreated?

1. Anxiety

Reduced levels of oestrogens circulating in the bloodstream can cause intense anxiety during the menopause. A lack of these hormones causes irregular production of serotonin and dopamine – the neurotransmitters that control your emotions. This might cause you to experience an anxiety attack, or a series of attacks in succession that can then lead to depression if left unchecked.   

2. Mood swings

Mood swings are a fact of life for many, but can be greatly exacerbated by the hormonal imbalance that affects you during perimenopause and menopause. Even if triggered by something innocuous, the feeling is very real and can be debilitating. Again, this is caused by reduced oestrogens levels affecting neurotransmitters, but can also be worsened by other menopausal symptoms.   

3. Fatigue

The debilitating feeling of fatigue is a sure sign of hormonal imbalance. During perimenopause and menopause, your energy levels may drop, making you feel weak and listless – like a light has been switched off. A whole range of hormones are associated with fatigue: progesterone and oestrogens control mood and sexual desire, while the relation of cortisol levels to Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can cause increased stress.

4. Foggy memory

You’ve probably heard of a ‘menopausal moment’, and while this falls some way short of a compassionate and supportive outlook, foggy memory is the reason this saying gained popularity. The signs can be subtle: you might start misplacing items, forgetting people’s birthdays or losing your train of thought. Whatever the signs, memory lapses are caused by a decline in oestrogens and the de-stabilisation of stress hormones.

5. Insomnia

Insomnia during the perimenopause and menopause is a vicious circle. Affecting women up to seven years before the menopause truly commences, insomnia is caused by hormonal imbalances – but sleep is the only process by which the hormones you need can be regenerated. Insomnia can have dramatic effects on daytime functionality, as well as raising the risk, in the long-term, of secondary health conditions such as heart disease.

Restorative medicine

How can it help?

Bioidentical Hormone Restorative Therapy not only helps you to regain your optimal hormonal composition, it also enables you to avoid the health risks associated with synthetic treatments.

Achieving this chemical balance helps to address all of the hormonal symptoms of the menopause, not just physical conditions like weight gain, hot flushes and a reduced immune system, but also cognitive faculties.  

What are the benefits over conventional treatment?

Bioidentical hormones are an exact match for compounds found within the body and so can be fully metabolised, but synthetic hormones are an alien chemical make-up that cannot be read, fully understood, used and excreted by the body. A whole series of studies have found that synthetic HRT compounds create an unacceptable risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease, as well as failing to work as effectively as restorative medicine.

While the maximum length of treatment for conventional HRT is just five years as a result of these risks, bioidentical hormones can be used for life with no secondary side effects. Synthetic hormones are designed by drug companies as a one-size-fits-all solution, but in contrast, restorative medicine is tailored by specialists to each individual’s hormonal composition, helping to restore the real you.

Find out how you can use restorative medicine to re-discover your balance and avoid any loss of control over your head space.

Andropause – The Male Menopause

Men can suffer the menopause too!

Andropause is the male version of menopause – Men suffer from hormonal loss just as women do, but at a later stage in life.

On the whole, mother nature, or father nature in this case, has been good to men: they do not have menstrual cycles, have babies, or seem to be suddenly struck by total hormone disruption when they hit forty or fifty. However, they do have their own version of menopause, which translates into andropause, and which it is tightly controlled by testosterone levels.  

Testosterone

Men’s testosterone levels are at their peak at around 21. (Do you remember those days?) Thereafter, levels incrementally diminish at about a rate of one to two percent per year, so by the time a man reaches sixty testosterone decline becomes a key concern. An important point to remember is that men lose their testosterone over a 30 year period whereas women lose their sex hormones over a five year period, which can cause sudden, and in some cases, assertive symptoms. A man has more insidious symptoms and may realise that something is ‘not quite’ right, but he can’t figure out what. He is most likely totally unaware of the steady but slow decline in optimal hormonal function.   

Below the belt

Testosterone has always been linked to a ‘below the belt’ discussion for most men, but issues such as low libido and erectile dysfunction usually become apparent later on (after sixty). In actual fact, an array of hormonal changes, similar to a woman’s menopausal symptoms, happen before we see erectile problems evolve.

Symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, concentration problems, fatigue, mood swings, depression, irritability, constipation, hair loss and baldness, and even weight gain. With decreasing proportions of testosterone we see more insulin resistance, and the ‘pot belly’ effect.

Risks to the heart

Men may suffer from aches and pains, increased and rapid heart rate, and other heart problems. Testosterone is a potent vasodilator*, as it is stimulates nitric oxide. With increased loss of testosterone, we will see high blood pressure and a gradual reduction in blood flow throughout the body, to such important organs as heart, brain and penis. In fact, declining and low testosterone levels are the greatest independent risk factor for coronary artery disease regardless of his family history, total cholesterol, and lifestyle habits, including smoking.    

Low libido and difficulty with erections can make life difficult, affecting not only their life but that of their family too. And of course, most men will certainly have urinary problems such as hesitancy – benign prostatic hypertrophy, an enlarged prostate gland, creating the inability to evacuate urine completely.

Both men and women have testosterone and oestrogens, only at different levels. Women have less testosterone to that of oestrogens, whereas men have more testosterone to that of oestrogens. When testosterone levels decline in men it creates an imbalance between this ratio – there will be more oestrogens to testosterone. This increasing proportion of oestrogens to testosterone increases blood clotting factors, and narrowing of the coronary arteries, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. On the other hand, too little oestrogen(s) predispose men to bone fractures and osteoporosis. Balance is what is needed!       

Restore your body to optimal levels and avoid all the risks and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance.

*Vasodilators are agents that open (dilate) blood vessels. They work directly on the muscles in the walls of your arteries, preventing the muscles from tightening and the walls from narrowing.

How do women cope with the menopause at work

Dont’ let it get the better of you.

“I am coming out, and have nothing to be ashamed of! I am stepping out onto the stage of life and shouting it loud and clear, “I am a menopausal women and I am proud of it!” I Am a MENOPAUSAL WOMAN… who restored her body and got her ‘mojo’ back, in its entirety. I got it all back and I can cope with anything. Yes, you heard right, ‘There ain’t no stopping me now’.”

Why is it that we feel we have to hide this fact? Maybe it’s because we don’t feel as good about ourselves as we used to, we are less confident, maybe because most people believe the definition of menopause is the end, old, finished – not so!

Maybe it is because we are less able to cope, and no one should know this. That’s a big one! I am so desperately sad when I hear from women who say they can’t cope, that they can’t keep up with their male counterparts, or younger colleagues.

“How do professional women cope with the menopause? How do women manage their high-flying career when they are suddenly hit with hot flushes, foggy thinking and/or mood swings, together will sleeping disorders?”

This is the question I am constantly asked. This is the question I am going to answer for you!

Hot flushes

What do you do if you are sitting in a meeting with a table full of men and suddenly a hot flush hits you? Do you perspire and suffer in agitated in silence, getting redder and redder, or do you excuse yourself telling your colleagues that nature has just presented you with something that is known as a ‘hot flush’ and you just need to step out and cool down a little.

No way. You hide it, you sit there and perspire, fidgeting in your seat. There’s no need for them to know that you are menopausal, that would just start the ball rolling. We do not have to suffer these embarrassing moments anymore, there is a solution. A safe solution.

Foggy thinking

What if you have to present that all important project that you’ve been working so hard on, and for so long, when you can’t remember your words. Not good when you need a high degree of intellectual control. This is a normal perimenopausal process, but needn’t be so debilitating .

We have a hormonal imbalance and our brain is rewiring. Who wants to lose their thinking power at 40 or 50. Who wants to let go of their experienced, efficient, sophisticate and more mature brain? We are at our peak, we are at the top of our career, why let go? We do not have to, there is a solution, a safe solution!

Emotions

What if you are suddenly overcome with weepiness or even heart-felt sobbing, for no apparent reason, when you are walking through an office full of people. Your professional self-esteem just hit the floor, but it’s not your fault – your hormones are playing tricks on you; you have an imbalance.

Whoever would have thought that hormones could play such an critical role in the body and be such a powerful molecule? They literally make or break us. This is why menopause can break us, our body is suffering withdrawal symptoms, our hormone levels are in a decline, and are no longer at optimal. Our body desperately needs those precious hormones to enable it to function correctly, as we did before we entered menopause.

Sleep

Sleep is so important to our health, without enough sleep we cannot function correctly, we become moody, angry, put on weight, are constantly fatigued, our energy levels drop, and in some case, we may even get depressed.

Without enough sleep our healing hormones cannot regenerate themselves, with insufficient sleep our hormones become imbalanced, with a hormonal imbalance we cannot sleep. How does that sound? It is a vicious cycle. It can work both ways! What we need is to regain balance. We need to restore our body.

Feeling lousy most of the time and having to hide it is not something women want but most of the time they do, either out of embarrassment, or out of fear of being seen as less competent. Would you ever go to HR to discuss this particular problem? Of course not! You’ve just put a black mark on yourself!

Is conventional HRT (synthetic hormone replacement therapy) an option?

In one word, NO!

HRT can help with hot flushes and night sweats, but the consequences (breast cancer, strokes and blood clots) far outweigh the benefits. The WHI study which finished early, in 2002, concluded that HRT did not protect against cardiovascular disease, strokes, cognitive loss, nor did it improve mood or sexual dissatisfaction. Do you consider this an option?

Is Bioidentical Hormones Restorative Therapy an option?

In one word, YES!

When you restore your body you restore yourself and every system in the body; mind, body and soul. Bioidentical hormones are life-giving hormones with no side-effects attached. With the use of restorative medicine you can glide through the menopause and onwards, to a new lease of life. There’ll be no more need to worry about your career.

Your brain will be sharp, quick-thinking and energetic – no more foggy moments. Hot flushes will be gone…forever! Your energy, lust for life and vitality will return to youthful levels – you’ll be better than your younger colleagues; you have far more experience and your brain is mature, remember, you can have it all? There’ll be no more crying or mood swings at inappropriate times – your professional-esteem will pick itself up off the floor. And you will sleep, blissful sleep.

And as an added bonus, you will lose weight and be able to keep it off.

A hormonal imbalance affects your everyday life and your career – it doesn’t have to. Restore your body! There is your answer. Don’t just take my word for it. Read up on the importance of your hormones here.

What to expect from perimenopause

  • What to expect from the perimenopause

    Perimenopause - What to Expect

What to expect from perimenopause but more importantly, what you DO NOT have to accept about it!

Menopause is a difficult stage for almost all women, things don’t just take a ‘pause’ they change. The way I look at it is, menopause is the ‘change’ but perimenopause is the ‘pause’. ‘Pause’ because in perimenopause female hormones drop drastically, so the body then has to take a pause to try and adjust itself to these lower or declining levels of hormones. This, for instance, is why we get hot flushes. Hot flushes only last as long as it takes for the body to adapt to these changes in hormone levels. Once the body adapts itself, it begins to change, it has to change, as it no longer has sufficient fuel (hormones) needed to stay healthy, strong and vital, and the person you once were. In fact, this is when we begin our descent into ageing and its related illnesses – hormones protect us.

It is not always easy to tell if you are experiencing perimenopause, and in fact, some women believe it to be impossible, convincing themselves they are too young. I understand totally, but the sooner you listen to your body the better. So many women live with and suffer from symptoms of perimenopause for years, some for as long as 15, before they seek the correct treatment. Perimenopause can begin about 10 to 5 years before menopause, so you could start noticing symptoms as early as your late 30’s, which can greatly disrupt your life, both at work and at play.

You wake up one morning with a feeling of despair, but don’t know why. You are moody, irritable, and you definitely do not feel as good as you used to – your energy levels have dropped, your positive thinking is hovering on the negative side, and sex drive, it just faded away without you realising (but perhaps your husband or partner did!). Your beloved family are stepping around you carefully so as not to crush the eggshells. You’re tired all the time but just don’t seem to be able to get enough sleep; in fact, you can’t sleep. You gain weight, something you never had to deal with before. You ate like a horse at one time with no problem. But not now. And it seems like you are living in a constant state of PMS, and that’s not far from the truth. Your hormones are playing tricks, you have an imbalance, just like before a period, but only this time they are not going to get any better. Welcome, benvenute, bienvenida, bienvenue, willkommen to my world, to perimenopause, to menopause. It happens to every woman, and is apparently, something that cannot be avoided.

But the wonderful thing now is, we no longer have to face these life-disrupting events. We don’t have to take the menopause lying down, have no energy, face depression, fade away into the background, or be left with a feeling of hopelessness, of where to go, and how to resolve it. Neither do we have to face all the age-related diseases that go with it. We have restorative medicine! When you restore your hormones, you restore your health, your life, you restore you, and you obtain longevity. It’s as simple as that!

To your health!

 

The emotional side of menopause

Don’t let the perimenopause take your edge!

I often hear from women saying that they feel anxious, sad, depressed, or that they have lost something deep down inside, something emotional, something almost heart-rending; is it that they have lost themselves? Perhaps they have lost their positive outlook on life, sharp-thinking, memory, focus, sex drive. Perhaps they feel they can’t cope as well as they once did, or maybe it’s that inevitable happening of gradually blending into the background and becoming invisible, that has such an impact on their lives.

I’ve been there, I felt it. Initially I didn’t accept it – that I was going through perimenopause, that it was happening to me too – ‘impossible’ was the word that was imprinted on my brain! I preferred to put my head in the sand and attempted to power through it as usual, for as long as I could. The perimenopause took my edge away, it threw me into a world I did not recognise. So how did I conquer it? I started researching and educating myself on what happens to and within the body during menopause and the significance of hormones during that phase, and the huge impact they have on a women’s emotions and physical health, as they decline.

According to the mainstream media, menopause is all about those hot flushes, otherwise known as flashes, that rise to an all time high just when you don’t want them to. However, it’s also very common for women to feel irritable, anxious, tense and utterly exhausted long before hot flushes take over their body. If you are in your late 30s, or early 40s or 50s and experiencing any of the following, it’s not you, it’s your hormones! You have an imbalance.

A decline in female hormones during perimenopause greatly affects the way we think, behave and react, and are responsible for changes in mood; whether we are happy, sad or even depressed.

1. Anxious or feeling you can’t cope

Fluctuating hormone levels in perimenopause can often have a negative effect on emotions. We all understand the effect hormonal changes have on our reproductive system, but fluctuating hormones levels also greatly effect our brain. Quite simply, a change in hormone levels influence much more than just our reproductive system, they affect the production of our mood monitoring chemicals (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin (the feel-good neurotransmitter), GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and dopamine.

2. Feeling sad and tired

As well as waking up drenched in sweat you might also feel sad and tired. It’s frustrating that most of the lifestyle advice recommended to women today, experiencing these symptoms, is to get more sleep. Seems easy! When hormones are fluctuating and therefore imbalanced, it is almost impossible to sleep, when we can’t sleep hormones will never be balanced – it is a vicious cycle. Chronic insomnia is one of the most debilitating symptoms of perimenopause and puts the body under an extreme amount of stress. The fluctuation of the sex hormones oestrogens and progesterone, at this time, and the significant decline in DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) cause the stress hormone cortisol, to become dominant, which makes if very difficult for you to get a peaceful, uninterrupted sleep, as cortisol is partially in charge of sleep/wake patterns.

3. Temper tantrums

Many perimenopausal women feel they are in a never ending state of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Once again, this is because of fluctuating hormone levels. The ovaries produce oestrogens from about the age of twelve, in perimenopause our ovaries are incapable of balancing these two female hormones and maintaining the correct ratios that are so desperately needed.  Wildly fluctuating oestrogens together with low progesterone may lead to more frequent and erratic mood swings and temper tantrums that you truly don’t understand, as well as migraines. If you are having more mood swings and can’t understand why, you may well be entering perimenopause.

4. Everyone walking round you on eggshells?

Feel like nothing makes sense anymore? One minute you are on a high, the next minute you are on a huge low that has you crying for no apparent reason – maybe someone accidentally pushed past you on the street, or said, ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’, and there you go, floods of tears. “Doesn’t make sense, never used to be like that! It’s your hormones. Your ratios are out, the two female hormones that tango together become confused. Who is leading who? Your ovaries are failing you and your hormones are abandoning you, you are suffering withdrawal symptoms.You do not have to cry anymore or expect the people around you to walk on eggshells, perimenopause can be positive event, if you restore your body and balance your hormones.

What can you do?

These emotional changes are an expected part of menopause but are something we no longer have to accept. By understanding hormonal health you can regain control of your life, and make this inevitable passage so much better. Restorative medicine is your answer. To find out more read Jill’s book, The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health.