If you’re in your 40’s or 50’s (maybe even in your 30’s!) and your periods are going crazy (super heavy then non existent, your mood is all over the place, maybe you’re starting to have hot flashes, feeling extra forgetful and foggy) you may be entering perimenopause which happens “several” years before menopause. Menopause means that you have not had a period for a whole year. Here’s a little check list to see if you are in perimenopause:
- irregular periods (2 periods a month or maybe none for 4 months- super annoying for planning)
- suddenly having really heavy periods (this can make you extra tired with the blood loss)
- hot flashes
- brain fog (we see more of this as estrogen drops)
- irritability/mood changes
- adult acne (this could be a sign that you have too much testosterone) We have this enzyme on the skin of our jawline that makes testosterone more potent. Around menopause the cells around the jawline increase meaning we have more potent testosterone on this area of the face (Kind’ve weird, I don’t feel like we really needed this). Anyways, this leaves us with too much testosterone and therefore adult hormonal acne.
- vaginal dryness (as estrogen drops this gets worse and can make intercourse uncomfortable or painful)
- sudden weight gain (again with the estrogen levels declining we tend to see an increase in weight)
Perimenopause is a time when the hormones are fluctuating all over the place. One month they’re too high then they drastically drop and continue these fluctuations until eventually they decline after menopause. Part of the reason for the fluctuations is that you may be ovulating less frequently as you age so you’re not getting the same signals to trigger the onset of the period at regular times.
Ask your naturopath to do a hormone blood test. We can see exactly what’s going on with YOUR hormone levels. Once we know, herbal therapies are my go-to for easing hormonal fluctuations. I think about Black Cohosh, Tribulus and Chasteberry as 3 of my commonly recommended supplements around perimenopause. But to use them safely and effectively it’s important to speak to your naturopathic practitioner first. You shouldn’t have to just deal with your hormones or wait it out, talk to your naturopath if you feel something is off.