Are you experiencing changes in your body that you can’t quite explain? Feeling like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster? It might be perimenopause, the transitional phase leading up to menopause. Understanding the signs and symptoms can help you navigate this natural and inevitable part of your life. During perimenopause, which typically starts in our 40s but can happen as early as the 30s, the ovaries gradually produce less oestrogen. This hormonal shift can cause a range of physical and emotional changes. Common symptoms include irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue, and a decreased sex drive. The average duration is three to five years, although it can last just a few months or extend as long as a decade. Through my clinical work I have defined 4 stages in the menopausal transition, but first let’s go through a quick overview of the menstrual cycle. The roles of oestrogen and progesterone in our menstrual cycle During our peak reproductive years, the amount of oestrogen and progesterone in circulation rises and falls fairly predictably throughout the menstrual cycle. Oestrogen thickens the uterine lining – this becomes the blood flow of your period, and it stimulates ovulation. After ovulation (14 days before your period) the empty follicle from which the egg was released forms a structure called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum produces progesterone during the luteal phase, the second half of your cycle. Progesterone keeps the lining stable and prepares it for implantation during the second half of your cycle. A drop in progesterone at the end of your cycle signals to your body that it’s time for your period to begin. 4 stages in the menopausal transition The transition to menopause via perimenopause is a natural phase in our lives, characterised by hormonal fluctuations which can lead to a variety of symptoms that may affect your physical and emotional well-being. 1. Early perimenopause: oestrogen dominance As our egg supply is slowly decreasing, we start skipping ovulation. This means oestrogen is still produced which thickens the uterine lining, but because ovulation doesn’t happen, we don’t get the progesterone we need to balance oestrogen. This means that Unbalanced oestrogen can also lead to In the meantime low progesterone can cause 2. Late perimenopause: oestrogen decline As oestrogen is falling, 3. Menopause This last just 1 day, the anniversary of the last period you had 12 months ago. 4. Post-menopause The time after menopause is post-menopause. Many women ask when menopause ends – officially menopause only lasts one day, but being post-menopausal doesn’t end as that is the stage we are in forever after menopause. What they are really asking is when will this nightmare end? The typical symptoms that started in late perimenopause are getting worse and can continue for another 10 – 15 years or longer. Vaginal dryness is common as are urinary tract infections (read more about it here and here). How to tell if you’re perimenopausal Ask yourself these questions, Am I still having periods? If you’re still having periods, and they are: Of course we all different, and we can respond differently to our hormonal fluctuations, but the answers to these questions can give you a general idea of where you are in the transition. Functional medicine approaches to smooth the transition and beyond. The transition to menopause can be a bumpy ride and it can get bumpier still post-menopause. My approach in early perimenopause is to support oestrogen detoxification as efficiently as possible, to reduce oestrogen dominance as much as possible. Many of us have problems with oestrogen detoxification because it is a metabolically complex system involving the liver, blood sugar, cortisol, optimal vitamins and minerals, and the gut microbiome to name just a few players. Do get in touch if you’d like to have a chat about a personalised health plan to support your early transition, especially because this process can last for 5 years or more. For late perimenopause and post-menopause I have developed a nutritional solution that is tailored to each woman and reverses all the symptoms over 5 weeks. This approach is based on the fact that oestrogen and insulin work together to extract energy from sugar and carbohydrates, so when oestrogen declines insulin becomes dominant, and without it’s partner it converts sugar and carbs to fat, and stops fat burning. When you can’t burn sugar or fat, starvation sets into the body and the brain. This leads to hot flushes, night sweats, brain fog, anxiety, low moods, fatigue, weight gain. My Menopause Core Nutrition Solution addresses these metabolic imbalances directly with food alone and also allows for food personalisation so that you know what you should be eating now and in the future to prevent these symptoms from returning. The course is on special offer until November 10th, have a look and see if it’s right for you.
The International Menopause Society is marking the day by publishing a report encouraging women to “have a health audit – and take action at the time of the menopause to avoid chronic diseases in later life.” Actions taken at the time of the menopause can avoid chronic diseases in later life, according to a report on women’s health marking International Menopause Day. Their advice is to give up cigarettes, move your body more, practice mindful eating, maintain or achieve a healthy weight and develop good sleep habits. This is great advice for general health but it won’t do much for reversing the debilitating symptoms of menopause. What will reverse them permanently in 6 weeks is my online expert nutrition course, the Menopause Core Nutrition Solution. This course is designed to eliminate 100% of the core menopausal symptoms: hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, low moods, brain fog, fatigue and weight gain, just by changing what you eat. Yes, that’s right – in 6 weeks you can: And if you join by 10th November, you’ll be feeling like yourself by Christmas. To celebrate World Menopause Day I am offering you 20% OFF THE COURSE and the offer is valid til November 10th. I can only have 30 women on the course, so JOIN NOW and use this code: WMD23-20%OFF This has surpassed my greatest hopes – by day 4 I had no more hot flushes or night sweats, my mood has lifted, my anxiety gone. My hair has stopped falling out and I feel brilliant. I feel able to listen to my body and understand the changes to make to bring the best outcomes for myself. I don’t feel I’m going without – it’s incredible. I came into this program optimistic but, to be honest, skeptical that it would make a huge difference to me. I can’t take HRT and wanted to take control of my menopause naturally. The program is well structured, supportive and, frankly, life changing. If your journey is anything like mine you won’t regret it. ~ Caron Bradshaw / CEO, Charity Finance Group Wow. What can I say. I have just completed the Menopause Core Nutrition Solution Course and I am so happy that I found it. I was confident that it would be the kick start my transformation and I certainly wasn’t wrong. I have dropped 10Kgs, my appetite is stable and I have no crashes in my mood and energy (apart from normal life energy drains). I have no more sugar cravings and this is for me one of the main positive outcomes, I am able to leave cakes and puddings and sweets where they are! Its been life changing for me. ~ Danielle Bridge / Interim CEO, Black Minds Matter UK
Apart from the 7 core symptoms that include hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, low moods, brain fog, fatigue and weight gain, menopause can come with another 30+ symptoms. It’s really intense right? But I can help you with all of those. Why are there so many symptoms? Oestrogen is the ultimate multitasker: apart from managing energy it boosts collagen and omega 3 production, it’s an anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, and maintains vaginal health, just to name a few of it’s jobs! So as it declines in menopause, it can cause over 30 symptoms including loose skin, joint pain, dry eyes, vaginal dryness. No need to suffer through your best years I have spent almost a decade investigating what oestrogen is up to in our bodies and I’ve compiled a cheatsheet that you can use to identify which supplements can take over oestrogen’s jobs. For example you can use an inexpensive antioxidant to relieve joint pain in about a week, or firm up hair, skin and and nails with a protein powder within a month. The Menopause Supplement Cheatsheet is included as a bonus with the Menopause Core Nutrition Solution, but you can get it as a stand alone. No need to suffer through your best years – take advantage of the cheatsheet and get the know-how to bust through all your symptoms. Menopause Supplement Cheatsheet »
Coming across Louann Brizendine’s book about menopause was a moment of sheer joy. The Upgrade – which is exactly how I see menopause – links the physical metabolic changes that declining oestrogen brings, to the emotional changes that we can experience, and explains why the mature brain is so much better than what came before. I highly recommend this uplifting and illuminating perspective on menopause. READ »
Ms Magazine – helping women to seize the power we have and to use it, to act collectively, to realise that together we can make change happen -is 50 this year, menopausal and still empowering. It helped — and continues to help — ignite a revolution for women’s rights. Last month the founders and leaders of Ms. for all these years — Gloria Steinem, Katherine Spillar, Eleanor Smeal, were celebrating the anniversary and the publication of a new book, “50 Years of Ms”, an anthology of our revolution. And rather than bemoaning the fact that we are fighting the old fights — again — the spirit of determination and commitment was palpable. Here Gloria Steinem reflects on the origin and impact of Ms Magazine and a reader is quoted – “My husband says I used to be a bitch once a month, but sinceI subscribed to Ms Magazine I’m a bitch twice a month!” Just twice?? Happy birthday Ms Magazine, welcome to the club 🙂 READ »
On my 40th birthday my best friend ordered a birthday cake for my party, from a du jour artisan London bakery. It turned up on the morning of the party day looking very plain, so she took it to a local Polish bakery, and asked them if they could decorate it with some fancy icing, saying “Naughty Forty”. Dressed up and ready for the party, she picked the cake up on the way to mine, only to find it had been fully white iced over, in hard royal icing, making it look more like a funeral wake fruitcake. And in bright turquoise icing on the flattened top, it said “1940”. It was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen. Naughty 40s lived up their name, but what I wasn’t expecting was the Fuck You 50s, where I realised that a major part of transitioning to post menopause was shedding my old self by figuring out how to speak my truth, look my truth and live my truth. It was a bit of a bumpy ride, but oh so worth it. Bring on the Sex Bomb 60s and 70s – it’s incredible to see the glorious Helen Mirren and silver fox Andie MacDowell killing it on the runway at this years Paris fashion week, along with a make up free Pamela Anderson. Change is afoot, at last. And check out my heroine Iris Apfel, here celebrating her 100th birthday in 2021. Legend. Fuck you fifties (and beyond) – no more rules!
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