Are you suffering from a range of unexpected and undesired symptoms that have left you scratching your head in confusion?
You may be experiencing perimenopause—a woman’s natural transition between her potentially child-bearing years and menopause, which usually lasts 2 to 10 years, depending on the woman. Most women start experiencing perimenopause in their forties, but some women start as early as their mid-thirties. While it is a natural and normal experience in a woman’s life, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy: some women may have no symptoms at all while other women suffer from a whole range of uncomfortable to downright difficult symptoms.
There are many signs you might be experiencing perimenopause.
Here Are Some of the Most Common Ones:
Abdominal fat increases
Anemia (if your periods become heavy)
Bone mass loss
Difficulty handling stress
Increased cholesterol levels
Increased fat gain
Migraine headaches (not the same as other types of headaches, migraines are severe, one-sided headaches that are usually linked to a knifing-type pain in the eyes, seeing auras, nausea, vomiting and blurred vision.
Painful or uncomfortable intercourse (thinning of vaginal tissues along with vaginal dryness can make intercourse painful for some women)
Reduced fertility (As long as you’re experiencing periods you’re most likely ovulating, which means you may still be able to become pregnant)
Urinary tract infections (Hormonal fluctuations may make you more vulnerable to urinary tract infections)
A Natural Approach
Just because you’re experiencing perimenopause doesn’t mean you need to remain at the mercy of your hormones. Here are a few simple ways to improve your hormonal balance, which in turn can reduce the number, intensity or frequency of perimenopausal symptoms:
- Participate in weight-bearing and cardiovascular exercise to help build strong bones, balance hormones, reduce depression and maintain overall health.
- Eat a largely plant-based diet high in fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains to help keep hormones balanced and cholesterol levels low. Emphasize foods high in absorbable calcium to help maintain strong bones, including: carrots and carrot juice, kale, dark leafy greens, sesame seeds and tahini (sesame butter), broccoli, almonds and almond butter, kelp, oats and navy beans, to name a few. Additionally, emphasize nuts, seeds and whole grains in your diet since they tend to be high in vitamin E, which can help reduce vaginal dryness linked to painful intercourse.
- Research published in the medical journal Menopause found that the herb St. John’s Wort significantly reduced the frequency and severity of hot flashes in perimenopausal women. Incidentally it also helped menopausal and post-menopausal women. Additionally, St. John’s Wort has been found to be helpful for depression, mood swings, anxiety and even migraines, making it an all-around great remedy for women during their perimenopausal years.
- Black cohosh is an herb that has been used by Native Americans for hundreds of years to treat hormonal imbalances linked to menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms. Today, herbalists use the herb or its extract to treat a wide variety of hormonally-linked symptoms, including: hot flashes, irritability, mood swings, sleep disturbances, PMS and menstrual irregularities. Follow package instructions or work with a qualified herbalist for best results.