As women experience the hormonal changes of peri-menopause and menopause, they may find themselves dealing with fatigue, brain fog, bloating, tender breasts, weight gain around the middle and hips, headaches, insomnia, and mood swings. That’s a long list.
Lowering levels of progesterone, can cause these symptoms as early as a woman’s 30’s.
Then as estrogen levels drop down the road, our symptoms can become more severe with hot flashes, night sweats and even depression as lower estrogen drags serotonin levels down as well.
The hormonal rollercoaster gets into full swing with estrogen dominance as stress, high blood sugar, extra body fat, and xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogens in the body) from plastics, pesticides and even cosmetics, all drive estrogen levels up with too little progesterone to keep it in check.
I work with women in the following five major areas to help them manage the physical, emotional and mental challenges of peri-menopause and menopause.
Replacing processed, refined packaged foods with real, organic, colorful whole foods is a first step to a gentle detox while providing the body with the nutrients needed to build, repair and detoxify.
A good rule of thumb is to include (3-4 ounces) of a clean protein, along with a healthy fat and a real carbohydrate at each meal.
Real carbohydrates can be planted and harvested and should be eaten in their whole (not processed) form. There are no pasta, bread or doughnut trees that I know of.
Clean protein comes from livestock and poultry that are allowed to range free, with no antibiotics or growth hormone. Or fish that are wild caught, not farmed.
Examples of healthy fats are, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, organic nuts and seeds, avocados, flax seeds, and of course the essential fatty acids of omega 3 in fish oil and omega 6 in grass fed meats and in borage and primrose oils.
Damaged fats would be vegetable oils and canola oil. These oils become trans fats during their high heat processing in preparation for the marketplace. Trans fats damage arteries, and the gut, while causing inflammation. Please steer clear.
These are very basic guidelines. A personalized eating plan is the best way to provide the proper nutrition, and metabolic healing for YOUR specific system.
Stress reduction is paramount in balancing hormones. When cortisol (the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands) is high, your estrogen and progesterone as well as thyroid hormones are suppressed.
While high cortisol from stress drives up blood sugar, it also drives down serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter), which causes you to crave sweets.
As the adrenal glands also produce 40% of the estrogen and progesterone in your system (from the precursors they provide) before menopause, and as much as 90% after menopause, it is a good idea to manage your stress so they are not exhausted by the time peri-menopause and menopause rolls around.
De-stressing can be as easy as closing your eyes, visualizing your “happy place” and taking long deep breaths. Grounding is also a powerful way to calm the nervous system. Grounding, or earthing is simply standing on the earth (grass or sand, not concrete) bare footed and connecting to the energy of the earth.
Adequate sleep, being between 7 to 9 hours a night, also helps regulate hormones and allows for regeneration of the brain and body.
- Beauty sleep suggestions include:
- Get to bed by 10 pm.
- Unplug from electronics 30 min before bed.
- Make your room as dark as a cave, no ambient light.
- Keep your room cool.
- Enjoy a calming ritual before bed—soak in a tub, listen to relaxing music, read something spiritual or enjoyable, (please not the news).
- Try meditation, visualization, gratitude or simply deep breathing.
Over-exercising can be a detriment to your very goal of health and fitness. Over-exercise stresses and breaks down your system, aging you in fast forward.
Moderate exercise in a form that you enjoy, will do you more good than pushing yourself to exhaustion. If you find you have over done it, be sure to allow for more rest for a full recovery. It is in the recovery that we get stronger, not in the work.
As women, we process information through our limbic system, the emotional brain. It’s no wonder we attach emotions to “everything”.
Emotions should be energy in motion. When that energy gets stuck or blocked, it can cause physical, emotional or mental pain that keeps us stuck and unable to achieve our goals.
I use muscle testing with clients to bypass the conscious mind and free up the energy flow to clear stuck emotions and beliefs. This allows for a more positive approach to challenges and unburdens the soul.
Along with incorporating the above Transformational Life Choices (TLC), finding an integrative medicine doctor who can help you with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, BHRT, may be just what you need to manage your menopause with grace and ease.
As women of wisdom and experience, menopause should be a time of liberation and re-birth.
The area of our body where we once created life is the center of all our creativity.
If we tap into that area of creativity through art, dance, music, writing, whatever brings us joy and passion, we are bringing life once again to that most sacred center of female essence.
For guidance and support in managing menopause, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 301-332-5732.