Perimenopause – Balance is Key!
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on May 20, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Following up on our previous posts on PMS, we now move a stage further along in the journey that each woman takes towards menopause: Perimenopause.
Beginning in our mid-30s to early-40s, a woman’s ovaries naturally start to decline in their production of estrogen and progesterone. This stage is known as ‘perimenopause’ and lasts for several years. When 12 full months have lapsed since the last menstrual period, menopause is officially considered to have begun.
During the perimenopausal time, hormones besides progesterone and estrogen begin ‘working overtime’ (e.g., gonadotropin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus; luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones from the pituitary) in an attempt to signal the decreasingly-responsive ovaries. The result of these fluctuating hormone levels includes hot flushes/flashes, irregular cycles, insomnia, mood disturbances, and other physical changes such as vaginal dryness, change in skin tone, and loss of bone mass.
In addition, some women may experience mental and emotional disturbances related to the complex symphony of hormonal changes taking place. Sleep disturbances and insomnia are common and can disrupt one’s ability to effectively handle stress, leading to irritability and anxiety which can then further aggravate the stress cycle. Re-establishing healthy sleep patterns can help enormously in offsetting this pattern.
During the transition into menopause, it’s important to support progesterone production as much as possible (similar to most cases of PMS). This is because progesterone decreases more rapidly than estrogen during the perimenopausal time… so if one is already estrogen-dominant, symptoms of this can be exacerbated even further with the concurrent declining progesterone.
Unlike with most cases of PMS, however, it’s still important to support estrogen production (and metabolism – healthy liver, regular elimination). Estrogen will also be declining, albeit less noticeably (at first) than progesterone.
At Natural Wellbeing, we’ve created a formula that is specific for the perimenopausal phase of a woman’s life: FemPause Gold™. Its synergistic combination of herbs support both progesterone and, to a lesser extent, estrogen production.
The result? You stay balanced and able to appreciate your unique journey, every step of the way!
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan