Menopause… such a crazy time of life and many of us don’t really know what to expect or what is actually happening. Perimenopause can begin as early as your 30s but typically starts in your 40s can last 10+ years! The average age of hitting menopause in the US is 51 but everybody is different.
Menopause is associated with a natural decline in estrogen progesterone and testosterone in your body. As your hormones are fluctuating, and then ultimately decreasing… that can play games with your metabolism. It may also cause bone density loss, muscle mass decrease and leave you feeling low energy and weak.
But here’s the good news. It doesn’t have to be a horrible time of life. As a matter fact getting older is empowering, fills you with wisdom and opens a whole new chapter of life. If you understand the changes that are happening in your body and if you take the steps to combat the symptoms, you can feel great and age gracefully.
What is the worst symptom you are experiencing and what are you doing to combat it? I’m not a doctor but I can sure help with the food and exercise side of managing hormone changes!
Hi - Well ...I can't speak to the birth control pill since I'm not a doctor. I didn't take any (I'm age 55 now). I really feel like ages 51-52 for me were hormonal turmoil... my hormones were fluctuating while ultimately decreasing and things like hot flashes happened to me too. I just stuck it out which isn't easy depending on the severity of your issues. I focused on my eating - very little processed foods and lots of fruits and veggies to support my immune system, and my gut health which are closely tied to hormonal turmoil. I was always that person who was cold at night - and then around age 51 - I started wearing shorts around the house in the evening even when it was 30 below zero - lol!! I will say that now that I'm about 3+ years post-menopause.... I don't get hot flashes because even though my hormones are low - they aren't fluctuating. I am still warm at night but no crazy hot spells.
Love this question - I will be 49 in Dec and definitely in the perimenopause phase....hot flashes at night are ruining my sleep - I have tried everything I can think of or read about online and hesitant to take any sort of HRT. Any supplement suggestions, tips or tricks welcome!
Hi - so I'm here to tell you that is normal (even though it doesn't feel normal!) and they do go away - but getting through those few years of fluctuating hormones is hard. In my answer above - I said I focused on my eating and exercise because both of those things ABSOLUTELY affect the severity of your symptoms. I eliminated most processed foods, got rid of chemicals, food coloring, etc - in sooo many foods. I stayed consistent with my exercise which often was hard and defeating but because it was already a habit - I muddled through. Some women do need some bio-identical hormones and I suggest you talk to a functional medicine doctor ... but if you are able to work on eating and exercise it does help. NOW - the most important answer -we have a ceiling fan in our bedroom and that is a must!! BUT - during the crazy years - I kept a small fan on my bedside table and kept it on high facing right on me - that really helped. And actually I pulled it out this summer again too - lol!!
Regarding supplements - I take vitamin D, Vitamin B for energy, Vitamin C for immunity and antioxidants, Omega 3's, and Magnesium.
I appreciate your advice on exercise and eliminating processed foods. I'm on day 23 of no processed sugars and I can tell a positive difference both mentally and physically. I am age 51 and still in perimenopause. I don't have hot flashes or night sweats, but I am struggling with mood swings and hormonal breakouts. I take Omega 3's, B & D as well as pre&probiotics. I also exercise daily. Any recommendations on what else I could be doing?
well - the moods swings are hard - you sometimes feel like you want to snap - meditation is really good for that ... just practicing deep breathing is even enough ... I started doing the Wim Hof breathing and it's helped me - you can google him - he is amazing ... he did a whole installment of Goop Lab about his techniques 🙂
+1 on keeping a small fan on the bedside table - love mine! I also take Magnesium Glycinate to help me stay asleep, a multivitamin with D, E, Folate, B12, and Omega-3, and CBD softgels (for my anxiety). At this point, my anxiety is off the charts, so that’s what I’m focusing on: CBD, meditation, avoiding too much caffeine, limiting my social media consumption, and daily movement are my current tactics. Anyone else dealing with much stronger anxiety right now?
yes! I didn't realize how much it impacted me....its slowing been getting worse and now its just super challenging...music helps a lot as does being outside as much as possible. I limit my social media, especially during the day. I have also started doing a lot of herbal tea and that seems to help me limit the caffeine!
thank you - I am actually a certified health coach so I already eat fairly well so I appreciate the confirmation. I actually just got back from my doc visit as it was time...come to find out it sounds like I have been dealing with this for YEARS...and a lot of it they though was just stress from work...and now, its time for a little hormone help but I already feel better knowing its super normal and I am definitely not alone. The good news is that I am NOT crazy, lol, but for real, you think you are just crazy!!
I will be 51 in September and started on bio-identical hormone therapy (aka pellet therapy) two months ago and I already feel 10 years younger! Anyone in perimenopause should look into it. My moods have stabilized, the brain fog has lifted, I’m sleeping like a baby, no sweats and my skin looks fantastic! I really can’t recommend this enough.
I also started taking Ayurvedic supplements which I credit with feeling better too. They were recommended by the doc that does my BHT. I just buy them online and am happy to pass along the website & info to anyone who is interested.
Hi ! I am 61 and am an online strength coach. I never took any kind of HRT, and the one thing that helped me tremendously was getting in the gym and lifting. There is more research coming out showing how strength training can help with menopausal symptoms, and it did for me. While they didn't go away completely, building strength was a game changer for me physically as well as mentally.
Hi - so I'm 55 too but my hot flashes have faded. However - I totally get it - I went through them for a few years - mostly ages 51,52. Getting through those few years of fluctuating hormones is hard. In my answer above - I said I focused on my eating and exercise because both of those things ABSOLUTELY affect the severity of your symptoms. I eliminated most processed foods, got rid of chemicals, food coloring, etc - in sooo many foods. I stayed consistent with my exercise which often was hard and defeating but because it was already a habit - I muddled through. I regularly do strength and cardio and that is also a big helper with menopausal symptoms!
Truly what you eat and how you exercise will greatly affect your cortisol levels, estrogen levels and help to deal with plummeting progesterone. If you are able to work on eating and exercise it does help. NOW - the most important answer -we have a ceiling fan in our bedroom and that is a must!! BUT - during the crazy years - I kept a small fan on my bedside table and kept it on high facing right on me all night - that really helped. And actually I pulled it out this summer again too - lol!!
Regarding supplements - I take vitamin D, Vitamin B for energy, Vitamin C for immunity and antioxidants, Omega 3's, and Magnesium. I hope this helps. You also could consult a functional medicine doctor and ask about DHEA and pregnanolone- both of these are over the counter supplements that support your hormones.
Thank you for responding. I have been doing strength training for many years now. I love it and agree that it is life changing. I have only been having the flashes for less than a year. I get lots of them day and night, but maybe they would be worse without strength training, cardio, and tennis.
Hi Chris! Thank you for starting this conversation. I am 47 and have been dealing with menopause and its symptoms since 2019. At first my biggest challenge was night sweats but I've found that reducing and/or eliminating alcohol from my diet has helped them immensely. If I do have the occasional glass of wine, I usually regret it that night. My biggest frustration has been weight gain, esp around my waist. Before menopause, that was never a problem area for me and now it's a constant battle. I would say I have a pretty good diet (not perfect but I try to eat many whole foods, limit sugar and processed foods). I workout 5-6 times a week with a blend of cardio, weights and yoga. I drink lots of water, no sodas or sweetened drinks. Is this a new normal or are there other ways in the menopausal years that can help keep off extra weight gain? Thanks!
Hi Juli - Sorry I missed this earlier - so it is normal but it's not something that has to be. The good thing is you are aware of it. You want to for sure focus on eliminating processed foods - sounds like you already do that. Stress (high cortisol) can be a culprit of the middle weight gain. Make sure to try to destress, manage your sleep and drink lots of water. And strength training is kind of the magical thing that helps keep off menopausal weight gain - don't be afraid of heavy weights! I also have been more diligent about my supplements - B,C,D, Omegas, Magnesium....these can help with energy levels too.
I've had some digestive issues myself and also digestive issues & new food sensitivities in clients. Most common are bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. I had brief bouts of nausea - weird. Hormones are involved in the digestive process so it makes sense that fluctuating hormones in perimenopause would cause new problems. Adjustments in what you are eating and lifestyle changes can really help.
Hi, love this topic I just turned 55 and started the journey at least 5-6 years ago...hot flashes have been the biggest challenge especially as they occur while driving on the freeway last year before the pandemic. Phew, at least working from home has eliminated the driving on the freeway. I am an Ayurvedic Health Counselor/Wellness Practitioner and I have eliminated alcohol, sugar (a little dessert once in a while though), reduced caffeine (I love coffee/oat milk latte and do not want to eliminate this at the moment - my joy), eating an Ayurvedic diet tailored to my specific constitution. I have been meditating and that helps reduce stress, stay positive, get out and walk first thing in the am. And I take an Ayurvedic supplement from for Women's Transitions. I also remember, this is part of the journey and offer gratitude for the experience.
Hello! I Elaine and I am a physical therapist, yoga therapist and functional nutrition provider. I am getting ready to launch an online wellness program specifically for women in perimenopause! It’s called My Peri Plan and You can find more info on my website: www.elainemele.com I offer a free 15min consultation. I would love to chat with anyone that has health and wellness or injury concerns.