Hormonal havoc at perimenopause
Perimenopause refers to the time when a woman transitions from fertility to menopause, a period that could last 10 or 15 years, and generally starts in the late thirties. Some women experience a relatively smooth transition, whereas others suffer immensely from mood swings, brain fog, decreased libido, hot flashes, weight gain, loss of vitality and night sweats.
Hormones are messengers in your body that are carried in your blood and affect everything – your mood, your mental focus, your skin, your energy, your bones, your heart, and your brain. If you are eating a diet high in sugar or low in the correct forms of fat, you are not providing your hormones the right kind of support they need to communicate with the systems in your body.
The female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone are likely to be declining, and the balance between the two is important. Too high oestrogen relative to progesterone can lead to oestrogen dominance, which could cause many of the symptoms that are experienced during this phase.
Female sex hormones are not the only hormones causing havoc in your body – cortisol, adrenaline and insulin all have a major role to play in your long term hormonal health.
Cortisol and adrenaline are stress hormones, produced by your adrenal gland in response to physical, emotional or environmental stress. Too much or too little cortisol can affect levels of thryoid hormones (which affect metabolism), insulin (which controls blood sugars), seratonin (a natural anti-depressant), dopamine (a feel good hormone), and many others.
Hormones are affected by everything – what you eat, drink, breathe, think, and what you put on your skin. By paying attention to diet, lifestyle, stress reduction, and their effect on hormone levels, many women can claim back their lives and minimize their perimenopausal symptoms.