Is your period playing hide-and-seek? Do little aggravations cause you to have a meltdown? Are your favorite jeans feeling a bit too close for comfort?
No, you’re not losing your mind. But you could be in the midst of Perimenopause.
Perimenopause can strike in the years right before menopause, which is when the body ceases menstruation. Little do most women know that a whole host of frustrating problems can occur before your menstrual cycle stops for good.
Symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, depression, anxiety, migraines, sleep problems, and muscle aches. Most women will experience at least some of these disruptions during perimenopause.
But there’s no need to fear this time of transition. There’s so much you can do to feel better, and many of these options are under your control. Here’s just a few:
Focused breathing isn’t just for yoga. When hot flashes strike, deep breathing can help you restore a sense of calm and beat the heat.
To help with moodiness and brain fog, hit the gym, walk outdoors, or workout at home on a regular basis. By improving blood flow and core body temperature, exercise may offer you a surprising mood boost, while helping with achiness and night sweats.
Perimenopause is not the time to let your nutrition slide. Processed junk food and empty carbohydrates will only make you hungry for more and hurt your weight management efforts. Nutrient-dense whole foods can be your ally during this transitional time.
Low-dose birth control pills can level out hormones and your menstrual cycle. Provided you don’t smoke or have a high risk of heart disease or other health problems like cancer, birth control pills may by a good option for women with heavy periods. The pill can also treat other symptoms of perimenopause, like low libido and vaginal dryness.
Do your best to practice good sleep hygiene nightly. Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool, avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening, and unwind with a good book and camomile tea instead of your smartphone.
If getting rid of belly fat is your main challenge, add yoga to your weekly exercise schedule. After a few sessions, you may feel your midsection start to firm up and your back start to feel stronger.
Herbs such as milk thistle, burdock, dandelion root, and DIM may provide you with some relief during perimenopause. DIM, in particular, supports proper estrogen metabolization and works to improve hormonal balance. The result may include fewer or less severe hot flashes and related symptoms. DIM, or dindolylmethane, is the active ingredient in cruciferous vegetables, so make sure you’re filling up on your leafy greens. There are also DIM supplements to help support hormonal equilibrium.
Every woman who lives past 40 will eventually experience perimenopause and menopause. During this transitional time, it’s good to know there’s so much you can do, by way of nutrition
and lifestyle habits, as well as herbal therapies, to mitigate some of the discomfort you may experience. If diet and lifestyle changes don’t improve your symptoms, then be sure to see your doctor so alternatives can be considered.
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