Some call it “the second puberty” because of all the changes to your body and hormones.
It’s the limbo state between adult menstruation and the dreaded menopause.
Your body is going through so many changes that it may seem unfamiliar to you, but I have good news for you.
You are still you.
It is all temporary. Many women report feeling fantastic once they finally reach menopause — and there are ways to make this transition period smooth and graceful (despite what your doctor may have told you).
The limbo state of perimenopause is a time of profound change and uncertainty with your body. It affects everyone differently, starts at different times, and lasts for different durations. Despite all the unknowns, I want to empower you with the knowledge of what is actually changing in your body so you can own this stage of life like the rockstar you are!
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS PERIMENOPAUSE?
Essentially, it’s the slow, gradual decline in your ovaries’ function. This leads to decreased progesterone and an estrogen rollercoaster that can lead to many symptoms including the dreaded hot flashes, uncomfortable changes to your period, more intense PMS, issues with sleep and mood, brain fog, vaginal changes, and more.
While it can start as early as age 35, it is different for every woman. What we really aren’t told by doctors is that this transitional period can last up to 10 years before true menopause begins.
But these years aren’t lost years. Through self-care and natural strategies, you can get your symptoms under control.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND PERIMENOPAUSE
Let’s get down and dirty into the hormone science behind perimenopause for a minute…
When you ovulate, your body releases progesterone. This sex hormone balances out the estrogen in your body. As you enter perimenopause, your ovaries produce less progesterone, leading to unpredictable spikes and dips in estrogen that are responsible for many of the symptoms you are dealing with. As perimenopause progresses, the follicles in your ovaries that produce estrogen also diminish, leading to more imbalances.
This unpredictable swing in estrogen levels, as well as the disproportion between estrogen and progesterone, contributes to a super common hormone imbalance called estrogen dominance (click here to take a quick assessment to see if you may have it).
In response to this lower level of progesterone, your body may produce more follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) to try to urge your ovaries into action. However, a high FSH reading isn’t enough to indicate the start of perimenopause on its own as the levels can vary dramatically from one time to another in your cycle.
While these hormone changes are definitely significant and a source of many of the issues you’re dealing with over 40, there are other hormone culprits that cause even more day-to-day struggles with sleep, weight, energy, and more.
These hormones aren’t as sexy and don’t get as much time in the spotlight, but they are really the ones to watch to help you feel your best through this transition.
Know what they are?
Insulin, cortisol, and thyroid.
Check out this post to learn some strategies for approaching whole-body health when dealing with these hormones in perimenopause and beyond.
In short, perimenopause can be a time of hormonal chaos that is unpredictable and constantly changing.
For some women, it drives them to fight it with synthetic hormone replacement therapies or drastic surgeries.
While medical interventions are necessary in some cases, I urge you to let your body take its natural course while supporting optimal health through your diet, supplements, and lifestyle practices (more on that in a minute)…
This is what is supposed to happen, and it will not last forever!
THE 2 PHASES OF PERIMENOPAUSE + HOW TO MAKE THE TRANSITION WITH EASE AND GRACE
Many of us (even subconsciously) hold onto this vision that we will just wake up one day and know we are headed toward menopause.
You’ll have that first hot flash, and that’s it! You’re in menopause.
But the reality is that the changes are much more gradual than this, and it can take up to 10 years from the onset of perimenopause symptoms to actually be in menopause.
Remember, menopause just means it’s been 12 full months since your last period, so this stage of irregular periods can feel like it’s dragging on.
It can be helpful to break perimenopause into two separate stages so you can identify where you are in the process to take the best steps to support your body and ease your symptoms naturally. Here’s the breakdown:
PHASE #1: EARLY PERIMENOPAUSE
This is the time when your progesterone is just beginning its downward descent. It can start anywhere between your early 30s and late 40s, or even into your 50s, just depending on your body.
This is often a time of high stress, both in your health and in your life, which can make it hard to identify the hormone transitions your body is experiencing. Some of the biggest signs of declining progesterone leading into perimenopause include:
- Mood swings
- Sleep issues
- Mental chatter before going to bed
- Hot flashes
- Beginning symptoms of estrogen dominance (including severe PMS, fibroids, stubborn weight, and heavy bleeding)
Progesterone is a very calming hormone, so as its levels decrease, you’ll likely feel more on edge, amped up, and restless—which only makes your already stressed-out days harder.
So how do you ease this transition?
Progesterone is the queen hormone during this time, and she NEEDS your support through this transition!
You can check out this post for 3 natural ways to optimize progesterone levels in your body for the long term, but if you want to fast-track your relief and experience balance quickly, safely, and naturally I recommend using a topical bioidentical progesterone serum.
Essentially Whole® Progest-Restore is the one I recommend because I can guarantee its safety and effectiveness. Applying 1 or 2 ml once or twice per day to your thighs, inner arms, abdomen, or throat can help quickly calm your mind and body and bring some of that missing balance back into your life! Check out Progest-Restore here >>
PHASE #2: LATE PERIMENOPAUSE
As perimenopause progresses, you will probably fall into a period free-for-all where anything goes and it changes month to month. One month you may have no period, the next you may bleed for 10+ days. Your flow may change, the length may change, the time between cycles may change…
As the adage goes, “the only thing that’s constant is change” — especially when we’re dealing with perimenopause.
This stage often lasts 1-4 years, and it is a sign that menopause is definitely on the horizon!
Here are the most common indicators of later perimenopause:
- Shorter cycles (25-26 days) interspersed with missed periods
- Periods that fluctuate between being light or heavy, as well as sometimes lasting longer
- Heavy bleeding, accompanied by an increased risk of fibroids and polyps
- Severe PMS
- Brain Fog
- Sleep Issues
- Hot flashes/night sweats
- Mood swings
- Stubborn weight on belly, hips, and thighs
- Tender Breasts
- And Migraines before your period
How do you ease this transition?
#1: Relieve stress. You’re in the final stages of having to deal with a period…celebrate!
Soon you will be able to expend the energy your body has been saving for reproduction elsewhere to do the things you really love. Begin creating patterns of self-care in your day that lower your overall stress and give you an outlet to create more joy in your life.
This will help lower cortisol levels and increase your energy so you feel better each and every day!
#2: Support insulin stability and reduce inflammation with your food choices. Staying away from inflammatory foods and choosing hormone-loving ingredients is going to make sure your body has what it needs to thrive during this period. This will help stabilize insulin levels that are the culprit behind hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and stubborn weight gain, as well as many other symptoms.
#3: Supply your body with missing nutrients and hormone support through supplements.
Whichever stage of perimenopause you find yourself in, here are the must-have supplements that I recommend to not only reduce your symptoms but also help stabilize your hormones that are driving them in the first place:
- Magnesium Glycinate (for hot flashes, sleep, hormone regulation, mood support, headaches, cravings, and to help you handle stress) — get my preferred brand HERE.
⇒ I recommend 300-600mg at night before bed
- GABA (Taken with magnesium before bed, this will help quiet mental chatter and anxiety while promoting restful sleep) — I carry it in a chewable form HERE.
- Taurine (Completes this fabulous mood-stabilizing and sleep-promoting trifecta. When you combine Magnesium, GABA, and Taurine, you are giving your hormones and brain exactly what they need to calm and get back to balance)
- Methylated B Vitamins (to reduce bloating, improve mood, ease breast tenderness, and energize your body to combat fatigue) — get my Activated B Complete HERE.
⇒ I recommend taking this at breakfast or lunch to help you get past your mid-day slump with energy and vitality (no caffeine required)!
OTHER KEY HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS FOR PERIMENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS
The supplements I mention above are the foundation of creating a healthy, balanced body through perimenopause. But if you’re dealing with more acute symptoms and are worried that prescription drugs are your only option, here are a few other natural remedies that may be effective to relieve your discomfort:
- Iron can be helpful to alleviate headaches and fatigue, especially if you experience heavy bleeding.
- Chaste Berry (also known as Vitex or Chaste Tree) is a well-recognized herbal supplement used to treat menstrual issues and PMS. Chaste Berry can increase the progesterone levels in your body to help you combat symptoms of estrogen dominance and regulate your bleeding. My Hormone Balance blend contains this powerful herb.
- Dried Ginger Root in a capsule twice a day will calm down the heavy bleeding and reduce inflammation and bloating.
- Vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory to help ease your heavy bleeding and the pain that comes along with it. It is also necessary to help your body absorb iron, so you should always take vitamin C at the same time as your iron supplement. I carry a delicious Vitamin C Boost powder that makes a great addition to smoothies to supply these critical antioxidants.
- DIM (Diidolylméthane) is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables shows great promise for its ability to increase the body’s production of healthy estrogen while decreasing the bad. DIM supplements can alleviate symptoms of PMS and help reduce your heavy bleeding. You can get my DIM Complete HERE.
- Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes. Supporting your microbiome is an essential part of maintaining a healthy relationship between estrogen and progesterone in your body. Having a healthy gut ensures excess estrogen is expelled from your body instead of being reabsorbed and leading you to an estrogen-dominant state. The best way to keep your gut thriving is by consuming quality probiotics.
YOU STILL GET TO BE YOU
Perimenopause doesn’t cause you to become any less of a woman or less of a person. It is so important that you not lose sight of who you are and what you enjoy during this time of transition.
Make yourself a priority. (I know, it’s hard when you are carrying the weight of your world on your shoulders).
But really, do it.
Find what makes you feel better and run after it.
Your hormones may be changing, but it’s not hopeless. My newest book The Essential Oils Menopause Solution is going to be your best guidebook to approach this transition with ease and grace. The transformative healing protocols using lifestyle, diet, and supplements are going to ensure that this is the BEST time of your life and that you continue living with vitality and energy for decades to come!
Part III of the book is dedicated to helping you create an all-inclusive plan to totally transform your health and create the life and body of your dreams, starting with only 21 days!
Pre-order it here today! >>