In Part 1, we took a closer look at perimenopause (versus menopause) what the common signs are, how you can use food to address hormonal imbalances and how it can start as early as your 30’s (if you’re unlucky enough to experience that).
The 1st strategy included essential foods and how they can have such a huge impact on helping you balance your hormones. If you missed it you can read it on my blog here.
If, however, you’ve been following the recommendations and you’re still struggling with annoying and maybe debilitating symptoms, you may need a little more to get your body back into balance.
You might want to consider using some of nature’s medicines like herbs and a combination of nutritional supplements to address any deficiencies, that may have built up over the years.
Strategy #2: Which Supplements?
- Women’s Multiple vitamin & mineral formula – most of us aren’t perfect, myself included, when it comes to getting all the nutrients you’re body needs on a daily basis from food. Taking a multi is my insurance policy, this way you can be guaranteed to get some of the basic nutrients you need everyday.Make sure it contains at least 50 – 100mg of Vitamin B. The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, reviewed studies that show how Vitamin B6 is thought to be unique in its ability to increase the synthesis serotonin and dopamine, which if are too low have been implicated in hormonal symptoms or PMS.
- Omega 3,6,9 or EFA’s (essential fatty acids – found in oily fish, chia and flax seeds) I can’t emphasise enough, how much you absolutely need good oil in your diet, forget the low fat craze it could be very detrimental to your body. EFA’s play an essential role in producing the hormones your body needs plus so many other things – the list is very long. You have to get your EFA’s from food or supplementation because your body cannot make them.If you have PMS, cramps or abnormal bleeding get yourself some Omega 3 & 6 as they are essential for the reduction of inflammation in these situations. Some options – flax or chia seeds (high in omega-3 fatty acids), borage oil (high in 3 and 6), evening primrose oil(high in 3 and 6), and fish oils (high in omega- 3 oils)·
- Vitamin E – handy if you’re struggling with hot flushes or breast tenderness, consider taking a daily dose of 400 IU of natural vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols) to help alleviate your symptoms.NB: This is a very short list of the essential supplements every women should consider taking as part of her daily routine. If you have specific issues and imbalances your nutritional requirements may be very different to someone else’s and might need a more in-depth investigation.
Strategy #3: Herbal Medicines
Herbs can be used with your new and frustrating symptoms of PMS or Perimenopause. You may need one or a combination of herbs. It all depends on whether you have low or high – oestrogen, cortisol, progesterone or testosterone levels?
If your treating yourself at home, try one herb at a time or better yet consult a qualified herbalist as they use combinations based on your situation.
The most well known herbs used are those that contain phytoestrogens (soya, red clover, fennel, licourice, dong quai, black cohosh), with oestrogen like effects in the body. However a hormonal imbalance is never so simple and often requires a combination of herbs and actions.
The most commonly herbs used for perimenopause include:-
- Dong quai – is known both in China and the West for its ability to support and maintain the natural balance of female hormones. Avoid if with heavy bleeding.
- Black cohosh – One of the best-studied herbs used for supporting and maintaining your hormonal levels and lessening the severity of hot flashes. In one of the largest studies, results showed as early as 4 weeks, clear improvements in the menopausal ailments in 80 percent of the women. Complete disappearance of symptoms occurred in approximately 50 percent. Symptoms included hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, insomnia and mood swings. The other studies reported improvements in fatigue, irritability, hot flashes and vaginal dryness
- Hops contains a potent phytoestrogen and is used for hot flushes associated with anxiety or stress, and associated insomnia (sleeplessness).
However a herbalist might also consider including the following herbs in a formula:-
- Siberian ginseng – is one of my all time favorite herbs and I take this regularly as it reduces mental and physical fatigue, and helps to enhance the ability to cope with various physical and mentalstressors by supporting you’re adrenal glands. It has also been used to treat vaginal changes, like dryness, due to lack of oestrogen. Ginseng is for you if you’re – stressed, tired or perimenopausal.
- St John’s Wort – is not a phyto-oestrogen herb but it can be very useful for hot flushes triggered by anxiety or stress. It can also be used for mild to moderate anxiety and depression associated with hormones.
- Other herbs that would be considered are – red clover, lemon balm, oats, passiflora, ashwaganda, shatavari plus many more.
Your situation might be very different to someone else’s – none of us are alike. If you’re confused or tired of trying a number of things that aren’t working then it might be a good time to start dealing with the cause and imbalances.
If you really want to find a solution for what’s going on in your body and causing you a lot of unhappiness or frustration, my detailed hormonal questionnaire will help us identify where exactly your imbalances are so that your issues can be addressed correctly, without guessing, and help you get started on your journey to optimal health and wellness.
Please do get in touch you can contact me at [email protected]
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