Perimenopause is sneaky. Some days it’s subtle, but other days it plows through your body like a pack of alien invaders. It is the mistress of disguise. I know I have been down this journey! For a while the road was super bumpy. Then it smoothed out.
The role of Menopause in emotional difficulties is complex. Some women are very sensitive to the ups and downs of their female hormones, as is obvious in those plagued with PMS. Peri-menopause, when periods are getting irregular, is the time when most women suffer from the moodiness often associated with the menopause transition. This can add to other symptoms being experienced during this transition to a new season.
Signs of perimenopause can start as early as your mid-late 30’s. While you’re in the thick of raising kids (or considering having more), your ovaries may be looking toward retirement. Maybe you notice that you’re just a little grouchier or that your periods aren’t quite as regular. Your PMS symptoms, which were once mildly annoying, are now raging. You gain weight even though you’re exercising and eating right.
Once women have stopped having periods, they usually feel more even. I can remember thinking how out of control my moods were and yet having no control over the feelings. It can be a confusing time.
It’s important to recognize what’s going on because many women have ended up on antidepressants or sleeping pills because she (and her healthcare provider) did not recognize that these problems were related to a hormone imbalance and not true depression. Antidepressants won’t fix the root cause of the problem. Hormone imbalance can often be corrected with lifestyle change, herbal, essential oils and nutritional supplements. I was unable to use HRT or bioidenticals due to an extremely sensitive system. In some cases, hormone replacement may be necessary, but that’s not usually the place to start.
The first step is to get tested by an expert in menopause. Find a naturopath or integrative practitioner to see what your imbalance is. This is important because signs of imbalance overlap. Low progesterone can look like low thyroid; high cortisol can look like low progesterone, etc. And most doctors are not experts in this field. I was told for years that I was too young to even get my levels tested and I was already perimenopausal.
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