Updated: Apr 16, 2020
During perimenopause, estrogen levels are erratic. Usually, a hormone called progesterone checks estrogen in check. Sadly, during mid-life progesterone sort of packs up and takes a vacation. The lack of progesterone lets estrogen party it up! These hormonal changes can lessen your ability to cope, which leads to overwhelm and regular meltdowns (it feels like you’re a teenager again, right?). There is no embarrassment here, girlfriend I've lost it on many hormonal occasion - seriously! But here’s the thing – if we indulge in the drama it will make hormone imbalance worse (I’ll explain in a minute).
Signs of overwhelm…
· Brain fog …what’s my name again?
· Bursting into tears because the barista at Starbucks messed up your latte.
· Can’t make a decision to save your life and when you do, they’re usually not the greatest ones (yikes).
· Crazy sugar cravings …make sure nobody gets in your way when you need sweets!
· Fatigue and being unable to fall asleep at night (the worst!)
· Feeling really unsexy and aren’t in the mood for cuddling and physical affection from your partner – no matter how cute he is!
· You feel like you’ve lost your mind!
The perimenopause symptoms you weren’t expecting – at least not yet!
· Belly bloat
· Bladder leakage
· Body odor
· Breast pain
· Deflated boobs
· Emotional ups and downs
· Heavy periods
· Hot flashes
· Longer periods
· Night sweats
· Thinning hair
No Wonder You’re Overwhelmed! But Here’s What It’s Doing to Your Body…
So, what happens in the body when you are living in overwhelm (hint: it’s called adrenal fatigue!). Your adrenal glands are located on top of your kidneys and are responsible for providing an appropriate response to stressful and dangerous situations. They produce important hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, that help you respond and adapt to stress.
Cortisol is the hormone responsible for giving you a sudden surge of energy in these stressful or dangerous situations. The body’s natural state is not meant to have constant heightened awareness and energy surges to help fight off stressful and dangerous situations. However, it seems that most of us in today’s world are really stressed all the time. Work, a social life, children, housework, meetings, family situations, and hormones…it’s understandable that we feel a little overwhelmed and stressed out. But chronically elevated cortisol levels cause weight gain (especially mid-belly), accelerated aging and low sex-drive.
The result…adrenal fatigue
Unfortunately, this chronic stress that most of us are experiencing means that cortisol is constantly being released and built up. Often, the adrenal glands cannot keep up with this enormous demand for cortisol and they become exhausted, a condition known as adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue is not a medical condition per se – it’s a consequence of overworked adrenal glands. Women with adrenal fatigue are reported to have more severe symptoms throughout perimenopause because adrenal health affects estrogen and progesterone balance. As well, when the adrenals are fatigued – this will mess with the thyroid hormones too!
When the adrenals are stressed, we see…
A mid-afternoon slump Body aches and pains Dark circles under the eyes Depression Feeling on edge all the time Food cravings (especially sugar and salt!) Hormone imbalance Mood swings Poor resistance to illness Thyroid issues Trouble falling asleep Waking up tired all the time Weight gain – especially mid-belly
Do these symptoms sound familiar? Your adrenals cause some of your symptoms – what you’re feeling isn’t just your sex hormones. Trust me on this; if you address your stress, you will feel better!
Lifestyle Changes and Supplements to Heal Your Adrenals and Balance Hormones
Eliminate or reduce foods that disrupt hormone balance
· Caffeinated drinks: yes, like coffee.
· Alcohol: messes with estrogen.
· Conventional dairy: #1 source of dietary estrogen (synthetic!).
· Fast food:lots of salt, sugar, and trans fat.
· Gluten & Processed Grains:proinflammatory and mess up the gut.
· GMO Food:who really knows?
· Processed food:unnecessary hormone-disrupting chemicals.
· Refined Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners: messes with hormones.
Eat Foods that support hormone balance
· Fermented Dairy & Dairy Fat(organic of course!) grass-fed butter or ghee and dairy kefir
· Healthy Fats:grass-fed butter or ghee, organic free-range eggs, omnivore fats from pasture-raised animals (lard, tallow, duck fat, and chicken fat), raw & unrefined coconut oil, avocados, raw seeds and nuts.
· Ocean Vegetables: spirulina, chlorella, kelp, nori, etc.
· Organic Fruits: favor low-sugar fruits such as berries, green apples, etc.
· Organic Vegetables: all vegetables - especially cruciferous.
· Organic, Grass-fed, and Pasture-raised: chicken, turkey, beef, pork, lamb, bison, and other wild game.
· Probiotic Foods: cultured vegetables, beet kvass, and kefir.
· Wild-Caught Low-Mercury Seafood:salmon, trout, sardines, clam, shrimp, crab, and scallops.
Supplements I love…
· Adrenal adaptogens: Maca powder, Ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng, and Rhodiola are all fantastic adrenal adaptogens. They support the adrenal glands and help them create a healthy response to stressors. This will also significantly improve hormone balance.
· Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA): an important type of omega-3 fatty acid that also has antioxidant properties. ALA also plays a role in the regulation of blood sugar levels.
· Carnitine:Carnitine is an amino acid that plays an important role in energy production. It will improve your metabolism, mood, and will increase energy levels and ability to focus.
· DHEA: DHEA is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that acts as the precursor to estrogen and testosterone, hence its role in improving hormone balance.
· High-quality multivitamin: Make sure that your multivitamin contains all the essential vitamins (especially B-group vitamins and vitamin C), as well as the essential minerals (especially zinc, which is important for adrenal health).
· Omega-3 fatty acids: These healthy fats play a critical role in supporting the production and balance of hormones. Estrogen and progesterone are synthesized from fat molecules (specifically cholesterol), so we need to eat lots of healthy fats.
· Progesterone cream: Reach out to me for help with this.
· The B Vitamin Gang: The adrenal glands best friends! B vitamins help with energy production.
· Vitamin D: the majority of the global population is deficient in vitamin D, so taking a supplement is recommended for almost everyone. Vitamin D is important for bone health, a strong immune system, and heart health. In menopause, our bones become weaker, so taking vitamins and minerals that support bone health is critical.
Here’s a bonus recipe to get you started…
RECHARGE PROTEIN SMOOTHIE
1 ½ cups non-dairy milk
1 scoop protein powder
½ cup blueberries
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ cup spinach
Handful of parsley
Dash of turmeric
Blend in a high-speed blender. Enjoy.
Join My Women’s Wellness Program …
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Here’s to hormone bliss!