Monday, March 12, 2012

Perimenopause | What Happened to Me?

I used to be ambitious, focused and energetic.
What happened?

Menopause is the period of time when a woman stops having her monthly period and experiences symptoms related to the lack of estrogen production. By definition, a woman is in menopause after her periods have stopped for one year. It is a normal part of aging and marks the end of a woman's reproductive years.

The drop in estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause triggers physical changes such as weight gain, hot flashes as well as many emotional changes -- such as depression, apathy anxiety and changes in memory. Like any other point in a woman’s life, there is a relationship between hormone levels and these physical and emotional symptoms. 

This one is sneaky. Sometimes it is assumed that hot flashes are the first true sign of perimenopause, but many women experience anxiety long before hot flashes set in. Anxiety can be the first sign of perimenopausal hormone transitions, but many women do not connect a rise in anxiety levels to the physical changes caused by changing estrogen levels. Perimenopause can be an added stressor to an already stressful overly busy life, and hormonal imbalances can adversely affect your nerves, mood and mental function. Anxiety can shake your very core and reduce your self confidence. Many women begin to feel lost and confused with a strange lack of confidence in themselves.

You may found yourself feeling apathetic, a little bit down, unable to "pick yourself up," or you might even feel depressed. Well, you're not going crazy. There a simple biological changes occurring during perimenopause that contribute to feelings. There is a connection between the hormonal changes during perimenopause and depression, affecting the way you feel. The imbalanced ratio of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can be the physical basis for depression. The estrogen dominance so common in perimenopause can exacerbate symptoms of depression and apathy.

Finding yourself not remembering appointments, someone's name, or recalling something that is and has been very important to you?  Well, you are not losing your mind. The same is true here as with anxiety and depression.  The changes in estrogen levels during perimenopause are creating the impaired memory function.  Supplementation is important here.  B vitamins and essential fatty acids are known for their brain-helping properties, but at this time you may find that some additional help with an herbal supplement is helpful.

What to do
Once you have a clearer understanding of the physical causes for these changes, you can make informed and empowered choices to support your body with these symptoms and help your ability to function better in life. You can chose to address the situation naturally and nutritionally and get back to feeling like your old self again. Like most health challenges the basics apply here too. Reduced intake or no coffee and alcohol, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and exercise even though your energy and enthusiasm may be low. There are also highly effective herbal supplements designed specifically for women's health and menopause that you may find will help you through this time.

In Health,
Naturally Botanicals Team