Perimenopause is a natural process that occurs as a woman’s body transitions from her reproductive years to menopause, which marks the end of her menstrual period. It is typically characterized by changes in hormone levels and menstrual cycle patterns.
During perimenopause, the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen and progesterone, which can lead to irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms. It is thought to be related to the natural aging process and a decline in the number and quality of eggs in the ovaries.
The transition to perimenopause can be a challenging time for many women due to the physical and emotional changes that occur. However, there are several things that can be done to help make the transition smoother:
1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially before perimenopause and during. Managing stress using tools that work for you and trying new tools when you get stuck. Regular rest, eating a whole foods-based and well-balanced diet, engaging in regular movement that you actually enjoy, and getting enough restful sleep can all help ease perimenopausal symptoms.
2. Try natural remedies: Certain herbal supplements, such as black cohosh and evening primrose oil, have been shown to help alleviate some perimenopausal symptoms. However, it’s beneficial to speak with a holistic practitioner like a Naturopathic doctor to help you figure out what could support you given your health history, goals, and needs.
3. Stay informed: Educating yourself about the changes you may experience during perimenopause can help you understand what’s normal and what to expect. It can also help you identify any potential health concerns that may require additional medical attention.
4. Get hormone testing done. This includes not only estrogen and progesterone which are the first hormones most think of, but also includes thyroid hormones, cortisol, DHEA, and others. It is helpful to get a better picture so you know what needs more focus.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with perimenopause is unique. It can last up to 10 years and learning about yourself is key. This requires self-exploration and learning about your body’s needs. Remember there is also the mental and emotional component which is common when one navigates change.
Get into a regular habit of taking good care of your mind and body as this will help you become more self-aware which is empowerment when it comes to your health.
Best in Health!
Dr. Alexina Mehta, ND, BHK