Simple health // The perimenopause and me…

perimenopause and me

I’ve thought about writing this post for the past couple of months now, wondering if you wanted to know about my personal struggle with my hormones. I know many of my readers are nowhere near this point in their lives, but many of you are, so I hope to help with this post. Here goes.

The Menopause, for some reason, is still an unspoken word. A ‘thing’ that women go through hidden struggling in silence. Although I am still a good 10 years away from the actual menopause, I know I am currently going through the perimenopause, which effects most women in their 40s.  During the perimenopause, women can experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, mood swings, weight gain, hair loss, acne, hot flushes, night sweats and more.  I’ve personally experienced the lot!

Before I go further I should point out, that this is my own personal journey in trying to combat these symptoms.  I’m not an expert, but rather someone who is trying to naturally deal with it.

I should start from the beginning. Perimenopause happens to women who are coming to the end of their fertility, and can start a good 10 years before actual menopause, which is when their bodies cease to produce eggs and no longer menstruate.

My symptoms started to show through depression, via anxiety and dark thoughts of self-loathing and anger. Pure anger, rage even.  Uncontrollable mood swings, the slightest thing setting me off in to a tantrum of sorts.  My GP prescribed me antidepressants, which initially masked my symptoms and kept me on a flat even keel.

So my anxiety and anger was suppressed and controlled.  In turn my hormones began ‘shouting’ out in a different way.  I gained weight suddenly, began having night sweats and hot flushes.  My hair started to fall out, and I felt so so tired, chronic fatigue.

Reading about it, I realised my hormones were out of whack.  Showing signs of adrenal fatigue.  High cortisol, high oestrogen.  I couldn’t cope with the simplest of tasks.  Burn out.

perimenopause and me

Last January I started to see my pal Gemma David, a local Chinese Medicine practitioner and acupunturist and all round brilliant woman (I actually love her!).  Gemma began to treat my symptoms of adrenal fatigue, helping to nourish my kidneys and liver with acupuncture sessions.  An hour each week to talk to Gemma about what I was feeling, both emotionally and physically, gave me ‘permission’ to look after myself.  To feed my body and rest my head.

I have seen Gemma fortnightly since, and she has grown to be one of valued and dearest friends.  And has helped me through flareups of my symptoms, calming my nervous system and resting my mind with meditation.  I value her sessions dearly.

In addition to acupuncture I started taking supplements to recharge my drained body.


Supplements that have helped me through the Perimenopause:

Pukka Herbs well woman menopause tablets

I take these little wonder tablets every day (2 per day). They contain all the vitamins and minerals that women need to help support them through this monumental change in their lives.

Menosan Sage Oil

Sage (salvia) boasts the enviable reputation of bringing eternal life. The herb has been used especially for menopausal sweats, hot flushes and night sweats.  I use 15 drops in a glass of water, and so far it has dramatically reduced my hot flushes and sweats.

DIM

Diindolylmethane or DIM is a compound that is naturally found in cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Clinical studies have found that DIM provides hormone-balancing benefits, which have led to its use as a complementary intervention for a number of conditions in recent years. DIM promotes a proper balance of estrogen hormones in the body. As a result, the supplement may be beneficial for immune support, weight management and muscle development.  This little supplement has reduced the amount of excess estrogen in my body, which was causing my weight gain.  My stomach fat has reduced and I feel lighter and brighter.

BHRT (progesterone cream)

OMG – why haven’t I been taking this cream all my life?  Just a week in and I am feeling like my old self. Happier, brighter, more energetic.  Just a small amount rubbed into my arms or neck & chest twice a day – and boom!  It’s bloody magic.  I am using this one – but there are plenty on the market, so do your research.


Other things that have helped me:

Acupuncture sessions

Seeing Gemma has helped. Not only acupuncture but someone to talk to about my depression, my self loathing and anxiety.

Meditation

I don’t meditate as much as I should.  Probably once a week. But this is something helps calm my irrational thoughts and keeps a lid on my temper.  I want to increase my meditation, and need to prioritise time for me.

Ditching dairy

I’ve converted to Oat milk, and don’t miss cows milk. I still have a small amount of cheese, but mainly have goats cheese when I do.

Kefir milk

I read somewhere that having a healthy gut is key maintaining a healthy body and mind.  For the past few weeks I’ve been fermenting my own kefir oat milk.  I purchased kefir grains online, and now have my own jar of milk fermenting daily on my shelf.  I use this milk in my daily green smoothie.

Green Smoothie

To help my body rid of unwanted hormones (those pesky estrogens) my body needs cruciferous veg.  See DIM above.  A kale, banana, maca powder and kefir smoothie each morning is a must for me.


So it’s been nearly a year since I reached out for help. I’ve read a lot, sought professional help through Gemma and my local health food shop.  This is an ongoing process, and one I hope to document on here, if you like.  Do leave me a comment if you are going through it, or want to know more about what I am using.

I am no way ‘fixed’ I don’t expect to be, as this change is happening and it will happen to all women at some point.  But through natural therapies, self love and self care, I hope that I will come out the other side whole.

 

  • I am awaiting blood tests back from my Doctors to see if I am starting menopause. I am 50 and still have my periods, but my mind and body have made me feel as if I am going mad for the past few months. The worst is the panic attacks that happen any time, even when I am relaxed at home, or enjoying a film in the Cinema, or worst of all, on a really big special holiday, when we had to leave a market that I was so looking forward to, because it suddenly overwhelmed me. I am afraid I will be trying HRT if needs be, as I cant afford the alternative route. I am happy to let you know how I get on….

  • I’m not near perimenopause, but have spent several years with VERY similar symptoms to yours. Before we had kids I was pretty sure I had hormonal imbalances, & went to a naturopath for some help… Two months later I was pregnant! I’ve been knee-deep in diapers and running a business for three years, and haven’t really had time to care about myself… until this year. My health started going downhill RAPIDLY. I’ve been unable to lose the extra 50 points I gained with the pregnancies, despite going to the gym 2-3 days a week.

    I finally went back to my naturopath, & was told that I’m dealing with Adrenal Fatigue, an unhealthy gut, & my blood sugars aren’t balancing themselves the way they’re supposed to! I went off gluten, & within 5 days I had lost 7 inches all over my body!

    Over the past 6 months I’ve been feeling better & better! It’s such relief to have a natural way to heal our bodies, instead of having our symptoms covered by traditional medication. (The only thing drs said would help my issues was birth control… which would’ve just added to the hormone imbalance!)

  • 2011 was my worst year ever I had turned 50 in the June. I had suffered a few symptoms before but they were manageable, but this year stands out as the year I felt so unwell in both my body and my mind, I honestly thought there was something serious going on. I didn’t have a sympathetic GP, he just brushed off my anxiety and physical symptoms, telling me I was too young for menopause (at the time I was in my late 40s). I muddled through this time by quitting my fulltime, very stressful job, taking a part time job of a few hours a day and going home to sleep and curl up in a ball. I was depressed, anxious, irritable and I felt so unwell. This probably went on for a good 18 months, and then I began to feel more like my old self, except for the hot flushes. I didn’t take any HRT or any other vitamins. I finally started to feel my old self and then decided to take a full time job in 2015. Although I still get hot flushes, they are random and not as intense as before. My energy levels have improved and I think I’m doing pretty well for 56. It’s just such a pity there isn’t more empathy for women going through menopause, because it’s like a real illness, but the symptoms are so diverse that you can have several symptoms or none at all, and some women get it more severe than others. All I can say is you will get through this time and hopefully return to your old self.

  • Hello there, I can relate to all of your experiences and wonder what type of cream you use? Is this something I can get from my gp, over the pharmacy counter or online? I want to make sure I get the real deal.
    Thank you so much for sharing, this subject is very sketchy.
    Lindsey x

    • Hi Lindsey. You can only buy the cream from a practitioner who is licensed to sell it in the UK. I buy mine online. There is a link in the blog post above. Lou x

  • As women our poor bodies go through so many changes from puberty to pregnancy and then menopause- it’s certainly full on!! I have just hit the menopause this last year at 54 and am struggling to deal with the hot flushes and tiredness and often feel I just can’t be arsed! Must admit I wasn’t really aware of the perimenomause but your explanations certainly point to the fact that there is a valid reason for all those mixed emotions and feelings of not being quite right! Like you I am determined to deal with it naturally with supplements, diet and not feeling guilty to nurture and care for myself without feeling indulgent! So often women feel that they just have to get on with things and not talk about such things! Thank you for sharing your experiences- please continue to do so- we are all in this thing together so let’s not shove it under the carpet!

    • Hi Debi
      Oh poor you. The fatigue is horrible isn’t it. I often have that feeling of can’t be arsed too. Yes to look after ourselves. Even if it means time to do a facial or read a book in bed alone. It doesn’t need to be yoga, although that too is good xx

  • This is a great post – and lots of it is great advice for dealing with hormones, at any age. Out of interest, do you still take the anti-depressants, or have you reduced them/come off them? Thanks.

    • Hi Lizzie. I’m still on them. I am reducing my dosage, by taking them every other day, rather than daily. I hope to come off them in the near future. x

  • Such s lovely & informative post Lou. Snap but probably on my (self diagnosed) 5th Year … sigh! – Your blog was both a relief to read & informative. Take care you ♥️

    • Hi Emma. I’m self diagnosed too. I will have blood tests down the line, but only when I feel what I am currently doing isn’t working anymore. Look after yourself x

  • So sorry you are going through this. In the case of hot flushes, carry a rose quartz crystal in your pocket at all times. It will be cold when applied o your forehead, face and neck. It really is effective. Hope you continue to feel better and have all the support you need.

  • Thanks for sharing Lou. Glad you’re feeling better. Can relate to the mood swings, weight gain, rage, anxiety but no physical symptoms yet (luckily). Did I read that you’d cut down on sugar too?

    • Hi Karen, yes so much better. But it’s an ongoing process and I’ll be doing all of this for the next few years at least. Have a look at progesterone cream and some of those supplements I suggested. Also try meditation and taking time out for you. Yes cut down on sugar. No condiments, cake, sweets etc (the occasional treat I do give in to)… but on a day to day basis sugar is out. Do get in touch if you need more info. Lou x

  • Hi Lou,

    Thank you for this post. I recognise much of what you write about and it’s comforting to read your words as it makes me feel a little less crazy and alone. It’s incredible how little this is talked about, especially by many GPs. I look forward to exploring the tools you’ve shared here. Best of luck with your ongoing PM exploration – and I for one would love you to continue to write about it.

    Pip x

    • Hi Pip, thank you for responding to my post. There are so many of us all going through this we should and need to talk about it. Do look into getting some acupuncture and look at progesterone cream. It’s really helped. :) xx

  • It’s fascinating how our body works.
    My aunt is going through perimenopause at the moment, and she’s been dealing with the symptoms for the past 2 years. I could totally see what you’re saying here. Thank you for the this. I will definitely suggest this to my aunt!

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