I get it, you felt like you finally knew and understood your body, but now everything that worked no longer works and you’re feeling super confused and a little out of control, drained, irritable, and exhausted.

Maybe you’re struggling with overwhelm, anxiety, scattered thoughts, lack focus, clarity, heart palpitations, poor sleep, brain fog, weight gain, loss of muscle and difficulty maintaining muscle, joint pain, stiffness, digestive issues, worsening PMS, irregular, painful heavy cycles, acne, hair loss, vaginal dryness, low libido, pelvic floor changes…

And you heard someone mention ‘perimenopause’ so you went to Google to find out more!

Welcome! Read on and let me help you!

If you want more actionable steps and answers to your questions, I have compiled the information I’ve gathered around perimenopause and menopause into an ebook.

In my FREE Complete Guide to Perimenopause you’ll uncover:

  • Perimenopause…Menopause…What’s the Difference?
  • What Happens to Our Hormones During Perimenopause?
  • How Do I Know if I’m Going Through Perimenopause?
  • Myths About Perimenopause
  • Where to Begin if You’re Not Feeling Your Best
  • Tests to Ask Your Doctor For
  • What to Ask/Look For in Your Health Professional
  • How Do I Support Myself Through Perimenopause?
  • Herbs That May be Helpful During Perimenopause
  • Why are We Prone to Weight Gain in Perimenopause?
  • Isn’t Intermittent Fasting and Black Coffee Good?
  • What’s the Best Way to Exercise in Perimenopause?
  • Why Do We Get Hot Sweats in Perimenopause?
  • Why Does Our Libido Drop During Perimenopause?
  • Why Does PMS Get Worse in Perimenopause?
  • Why are We More Prone to Hair Loss in Perimenopause?
  • Why Do We Struggle to Sleep at Night and Wake up in the Morning During Perimenopause?
  • Why Do We Get More Headaches/Migraines?
  • Why are We More Likely to Suffer from Depression?
  • Menopause is so Much More than No Longer Bleeding
  • Causes of Early Menopause
  • Chinese Medicine Perspective & Closing Remarks

This field still requires much exploration and understanding, and is a highly individual experience for each woman, despite many commonalities.

I encourage you to trust your own understanding of your body and intuition to determine what will best serve you, considering your unique body and life circumstances.

My hope is that this ebook empowers you with knowledge about your body, allowing you to expand on this information through your own experiences, so you can enjoy the second half of your life in glowing, radiant health.

Following are the first sections of the ebook as a teaser!…

PERIMENOPAUSE…MENOPAUSE…WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Many of us consider menopause is where we gain weight, have hot flashes, suffer with forgetfulness, have no sex drive, and experience crazy mood swings but it doesn’t have to be that way! It can be a beautiful part of our lives where our focus turns more to us caring for us and living life more on our terms versus the mothering role of serving others, we have likely played up to this point…but more on that later!

Menopause itself is literally just one day! The day a woman’s menstrual bleeds have been absent for 12 consecutive months. After this day she is considered post-menopausal.

Perimenopause, on the other hand, is the period of time taken to transition into this next phase of life as the woman begins to see changes to her hormone levels leading to physiological and psychological changes. This is largely evidenced by changes to the duration of her cycle with anovulatory bleeds (she is no longer releasing an egg each month).

Like adolescence this transition can take years, though on average takes 7.5 years, however, it can happen in just a couple of years or even as long as 12 years. Not all of perimenopause is symptomatic, it’s just a period when things are shifting.

The duration spent in perimenopause is dependent on various factors such as a woman’s lifestyle, stress levels, environment, nutrition, movement, sleep quality, digestion, and her body’s ability to detoxify. Additionally, gut and liver health, supplementation, adrenal and thyroid function, and the presence of any autoimmune conditions can play significant roles in this journey.

Perimenopause generally starts in a woman’s early 40s with the average age of menopause being 51 years but it can happen sooner (early menopause is classed as before 45 and late menopause is classed as after 55 years of age).

A hundred years ago, the average life expectancy for females was 50, meaning many women didn’t even go through menopause. With today’s average life expectancy around 78 years, menopause now demands significant attention and research.

Women today face unprecedented demands, managing careers, home life, parenting, relationships, and more. Stress levels have soared, encompassing not only emotional stressors but also chemical and physical ones encountered daily. I also wonder of the impact historical events like the Great Depression and wars had on our grandparents that likely influences our DNA, given we were eggs inside our grandmothers.

Research in this area is severely lacking, and there is much we need to understand. Menopause affects 50% of our population, yet female health remains underrepresented in research due to long-standing patriarchal biases. It’s time to end this suppression of feminine power and give it the attention it deserves.

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR HORMONES DURING PERIMENOPAUSE

Perimenopause typically starts in our 40’s and oestrogen levels begin to fluctuate wildly. Imagine a ketchup bottle where you’re banging the bottom, nothing is being released, then you get a tiny bit out, nothing again, then a great huge splodge, then nothing…this is analogous to what your oestrogen levels are doing.

Ovarian reserve declines as we age yet aging ovaries and follicles (where the egg comes from) continue to secrete oestradiol. Progesterone secretion, however, declines as ovulation becomes less predictable.

When the ovaries aren’t responding the same, the brain (hypothalamus and pituitary) turn up their signals by increasing release of FSH. We start to see heavier or lighter periods, longer or shorter periods, missed periods all together, and symptoms of either high or low oestrogen (swelling (juicy, plump), pain, migraines, and heightened emotions tend to be more high oestrogen, whereas dryness (brittle, wrinkles, droopy), joint pain, memory issues, and low libido tend to be more low).

Levels of DHEA, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, leptin, ghrelin all become impacted too, affecting your sleep, appetite, mood, metabolic function, and energy.

After menopause, when the ovaries no longer produce oestrogen and progesterone, the primary sites of hormone production shift within the body to the…

  1. Adrenal Glands: The adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, continue to produce hormones such as cortisol, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), and small amounts of oestrogen and testosterone. While the ovaries were the primary source of oestrogen production before menopause, the adrenal glands play a more significant role in oestrogen production post-menopause through a process called androstenedione conversion.

  2. Peripheral Tissues: Certain peripheral tissues, including fat cells (adipose tissue) and skin, also have the ability to convert adrenal-derived androgens (such as DHEA and androstenedione) into oestrogen through a process known as aromatization. This local oestrogen production can contribute to circulating oestrogen levels in post-menopausal women.

  3. Brain: Some oestrogen is also produced in small amounts within the brain, specifically in regions like the hypothalamus and hippocampus. This neurosteroid oestrogen plays a role in cognitive function, mood regulation, and other brain-related processes.

The ovaries do continue to produce testosterone, which may be aromatized into oestrogen.

These changes can have profound impacts on our life with a recent study published in 2023 in the journal of Occupational Medicine recording the responses of 407 women stating that the most common menopausal symptoms affecting employees greater than 50% of the time while at work were:

  • fatigue (54%),
  • difficulty sleeping (47%),
  • poor concentration (44%), and
  • poor memory (40%).

Work performance was impacted for 65% of respondents and 18% had taken sick leave. There was a significant association between symptom severity at work and reduced work performance, career development decisions and attendance. Manager awareness about menopause (29%) and flexible working times (29%) were selected as the most important workplace supports.

So, if you’re struggling, know that you are certainly not alone, but also know that I’m going to share plenty of things that you can do to support yourself through this transition.

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M GOING THROUGH PERIMENOPAUSE

Maybe you’re struggling to get up in the morning, waking between 1am and 4am, needing coffee to get you through the day, crashing on the sofa, feeling unmotivated to do anything or socialise, essentially wanting to just rest. If so it’s time to pay attention and offer your body some support.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Hot flushes/night sweats
  • Sleep disturbances – less sleep, struggle getting to sleep or waking
  • Brain fog and memory issues/cognition
  • Genitourinary symptoms (painful sex, vaginal dryness, pain with urination, etc.)
  • Mood swings/depression/anxiety/tearful
  • Onset or worsening of PMS
  • Joint pain/musculoskeletal pain
  • Loss of muscle
  • Heart palpitations
  • Decreased libido
  • Skin issues – dry, itchy
  • Changes to hair – loss, dry, brittle
  • Vaginal and body odour changes
  • Cycle changes – length shorter (no ovulation and lower prog), breast tenderness now (oestrogen up to 3x higher), heavy bleeding, fluctuating symptoms
  • Increase is headaches/migraines
  • Not changed anything but putting weight on – usually around belly

It’s important to note that these symptoms don’t only result from the changes to oestrogen and progesterone in perimenopause. They may be induced due to prediabetes, thyroid issues, adrenal issues, nervous system imbalance, gut issues, blood sugar imbalance, stress and more, so it’s important not to write these off and see go to see a health professional.

These aren’t just things you need to ‘suck up and get on with’.

Your body is speaking up for a reason and there are plenty of ways you can support it.

Grab the guide and start feeling empowered about the how!