When does perimenopause start and are you eligible?
Your perimenopause can begin several years before menopause; it’s when your ovaries gradually begin to produce less oestrogen. It usually starts in your 40’s, but it can start in your 30’s.
Perimenopause can last only a few months or continue for 10 years, it ends the first 12 months after your very last period. Menopause is when you literally run out of eggs, it’s the ultimate decline of your sex hormones – oestrogen and progesterone produced in the ovaries.
What are the signs?
You may get cramps, feel cranky, have cravings OR get hot flashes, night sweats and have weight gain? It varies from women to women.
Or any of these:
• Bad PMS – Breast tenderness, Irregular periods, Mood swings.
• Decreased libido
• Joint pain
• Ageing skin
• Weak bladder – leakages when coughing or sneezing
• Difficulty sleeping.
How can you get back to normal?
Interestingly, the majority of Asian women never experience the enormous amount of discomfort, that western women seem to accept as universally acceptable as you enter menopause.
Traditionally, Asian cultures have always used food and herbs to help manage these changes when they first appear. They don’t use HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as most western women do.
Fortunately, there are simple steps you to can take to minimise the negative symptoms of perimenopause and treat the root cause of your womanly pains (by getting your hormones back in balance).
Part 1 – Strategies for Managing Perimenopause
If you’ve got this far in the article you’ll want some solutions to the imbalances and things that are going on in your body. The body needs excellent support from unprocessed nutritional foods, and maintaining a fit, healthy body will all make it a lot easier for you to deal with your perimenopausal or PMS symptoms.
There are 3 parts to your action plan to get you going and help your body manage this natural event with ease.
It all starts in the kitchen!
a) Get your phytoestrogens
A phytoestrogen is a naturally-occurring plant nutrient that can exert an estrogen-like action on the body.
Scientists have discovered hundreds of phytoestrogens including soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, bans, whole grains, dark green leafy veg, seeds (especially flaxseed), nuts (especially walnuts) and many herbs.
Choose whole soy foods – tofu, edamame, roasted soy nuts or tempeh. I don’t believe soy milk is in this category as it is a processed soya product.
Soya is thought to be the reason that Japanese women living in Japan rarely experience the unpleasant symptoms of menopause. Hot flashes are so rare in Japan that there is not even a word in the Japanese language to describe them.
Flaxseed studies have shown the incidence of hot flushes were reduced as much as 50 percent by consuming flaxseed.
b) Eat a rainbow of fruit & veg – rich in antioxidants which slow down ageing and help prevent the diseases that increase with menopause like cancer and heart disease.
c) Load up on the good oils
Oily fish, nuts & seeds – contain omega-3 essential fatty acids that can counteract dryness, painful joints, cholesterol and sluggish metabolism.
Nuts & Seeds – contain antioxidants, vitamin E and selenium.
d) Cruciferous veg i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc. – contain specific substances that support the balance of good hormones in your body and protects you against cancer. Yes, there are ‘bad’ hormones too.
e) Fibre rich foods
Whole grains and veggies – are essential for the efficient functioning of the bowel to ensure elimination of unwanted hormones and toxins. Fibre also helps to prevent heart disease and cancer.
Avoid: Foods that aggravate many of the hormonal imbalances include the usual suspects – coffee, alcohol and spicy foods (if you get hot flushes).
Part 2 will be covered in the next newsletter with more on which are the best supplements and herbal remedies for managing these changes in your body, be sure to look out for it.
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