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