Written by: Taryn Symington
If you’re having hot flashes, you probably aren’t feeling so hot.
Many women are confused because they’ve heard hot flashes = menopause, but they’re still getting a period.
While many women say they’re in menopause when they hit their mid-40s, early 50s, true menopause happens once you have experienced a full 12 months without a period. On average, women experience menopause around the ages of 40-58, but most women experience a period of time before that where they see symptoms. This transition phase is called perimenopause.
Symptoms of perimenopause & menopause can include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight gain
- Irregular cycles
- Decreased libido (sex drive)
- Painful, heavy cycles
- Mood issues – anxiety, stress
So, what actually happens in perimenopause?
- The number of eggs (oocytes) drop (around 1-2 million at birth to only thousands)
- Less estrogen is produced by the ovaries, and progesterone levels decrease as well
- The adrenal glands are triggered to produce estrogen when the ovaries start to slow production, but this is an issue when we have chronic stress on top of that.
- Muscle mass and body composition may change. The body is pretty smart, and may replace lean muscle with fat cells, as fat cells can make up for the declining ovarian production of estrogen.
When estrogen levels stays too low, this can cause:
- Issues with bone density like osteoporosis
- Cardiovascular disease due to changing lipid profiles
- Along with many of the typical symptoms that are associated with menopause
We can support the perimenopausal transition using foods such as:
- Fermented Soy (tempeh, miso) or Organic Non-GMO Tofu
- Beans & Legumes
- Fatty Fish (salmon, trout)
- Pumpkin seeds
And lifestyle strategies and habits like:
- Daily movement like yoga and resistance training
- Prioritizing sleep and establishing a consistent evening routine
- Stress management and reduction techniques
Feel like you could use some support through the transition to menopause? Schedule a session HERE with Taryn to get started!