Women enter the Peri-Menopause usually in our early 40’s, a time when we begin to produce less and less oestrogen from our ovaries.
Depending on life-style factors and genetics, hormonal changes can start in some women from their early 30’s. Peri-menopause lasts up until menopause, when our ovaries stop producing eggs.
The average length of Peri-Menopause is 4 years, but for some women this stage may last only a few months or continue for 10 years. Peri-menopause officially ends when a woman has gone 12 months without having her period.
Due to hormonal fluctuations, it can be an emotional time in a woman’s life. Some women may experience feelings of inability to cope with life’s pressures, family life, work and children growing up. Some females experience depression, lack of motivation and mood swings with anger outbursts and underlying anxiety to boot. There can be aches and pains, concerning menstrual irregularities, frequent urination, vaginal dryness, lowered sex drive, thyroid dysfunction, headaches and immune related conditions that emerge during this phase.
Symptoms vary considerably from woman to woman and are worsened with adrenal fatigue, a condition of exhaustion and stress, whereby we may produce less cortisol from the adrenal glands. And even though she may be exhausted, insomnia is quite common, particularly waking up between the hours of 1-3am. In Chinese Medicine this is what is known as ‘liver time’. This can also be a common time for hot sweats or flushes.
If we break the above list of conditions down we can see that they fall into 8 main areas that need addressing, this is…
1. The Liver – If there ever was a better time to detox your liver it would be now! Hot flushes and sweats are caused by liver toxicity. Depression is anger held inwards which is stored in the liver. Mood swings also originate in the liver, however fear can be the underlying cause. Check out my website for further information on how to detox your liver. This can be done by ordering products and following a program on-line, or it can be done in private consultation with myself via skype etc. Liver headaches occur behind the eyes and the area around the forehead.
2. Hormones – at this time many women will have zero progesterone and fluctuating oestrogen levels. This can be remedied by taking herbal medicine to increase progesterone levels and stabilise oestrogen production. A herbal formulation can be custom made to re-balance experienced symptoms. At the latest Australian Menopause Conference, GP’s were told that blood test for assessing hormonal levels are no longer relevant as a woman’s hormone levels can fluctuate so much from day to day. Like Medical Herbalists have been practicing for decades, the medical profession now also rely solely on symptom patterns in order to stream-line their prescriptions.
3. Anxiety – at this time a women’s anxiety levels may increase, due to a multitude of causes – fluctuating hormone levels as above, low iron levels, low vitamin D levels, but also the stresses of day to day life. Correcting nutritional deficiencies and making sure that you spend adequate amount of time in nature recharging can have a profound affect on reducing your anxiety levels.
4. Adrenal Fatigue and Thyroid Insufficiency – reducing anxiety as above and taking herbal medicines to restore the function of the adrenal glands is essential for a peri-menopausal woman, as the more the ovaries cease to produce female hormones, the more the adrenal glands will take over the production of oestrogen and progesterone. Stress management is essential as the adrenal glands also produce steroids, cortisol and cortisone as well as epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. These hormones are intrinsically linked to our emotional well-being, stress levels and energy levels. Border line thyroid function can easily be remedied in a manner of weeks using specifically prescribed herbal medicines.
5. Inflammation – a diet high in coffee, alcohol, processed foods etc is a diet which will exacerbate any form of inflammation in the body. Removing acidic foods from the diet and brining in fresh organic juices will enhance the functioning of all internal organs as well as the endocrine system (ovaries, thyroid, adrenal glands etc) and reduce inflammation in the body, thereby reducing aches and pains and restoring sorely lacking vitality.
6. Emotional Healing – this is a time whereby friends and family play an important role in a women’s life. Emotional healing techniques are paramount as is a wonderful counsellor and/or healer to support and inspire you to move forward and embrace this new exciting phase of your life.
7. Exercise – essential at this time of life, to keep the bones strong and for over-all well-being. Walking, swimming, Chi Gong and Yoga are my personal favourites to maintain health.
8. Creativity – It can make the world of difference if a woman begins a creative endeavour at this phase of their lives and even consider a career change. It is a wonderful time to study something new, and to do something for yourself and perhaps the planet.