Could I Be Peri-menopausal?
Menopause – most of us know what that is, but did you know that there are several stages of menopause, and that they can span 10 years?
First, let’s define menopause and make sure that we all understand what that means.
The word Menopause means the end of menstruation. The age you can experience may vary but it usually occurs in the 40s and early 50s.
For most women, this would seem to be a time to celebrate as we stop having periods, but why does it make so many of us feel like crap?
The change in hormones can have a serious negative impact on how you feel.
Your levels of estrogen decrease, resulting in your body experiencing symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, vaginal dryness, night sweats, sleep problems, mood changes. memory loss, anxiety, reduced sex drive, joint stiffness and palpitations. These symptoms can develop over a long period of time, so you won’t necessarily wake up one day and feel all of the above. This means you may slowly start to feel these things, which makes it easy to just ignore them or attribute them to something else.
Let's talk about all of the stages of menopause and where you might be at.
Pre-menopause - Some ladies may go through an early menopause after having a hysterectomy or having cancer treatment.
Peri-menopause - This can begin up to 10 years before we go through menopause itself. You may have irregular bleeding as a symptom, and your estrogen levels begin to drop gradually as your body is preparing for menopause.
Menopause - This will last only one day. This is the anniversary of one year since you last had a period. The next day you are postmenopausal.
Post-menopause - All the years after menopause is post-menopause. As the levels of estrogen drop, we are at increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.
So now that we’ve established the different phases of menopause, and that peri-menopause can last up to 10 years, let’s talk about all of the symptoms that you can experience during this time.
This super annoying symptom can come along anytime. You get a short and sudden feeling of heat around your face neck and chest area, which can make you red and sweaty.
Night sweats and sleep problems
These are hot flashes that occur at night leaving you a complete sweaty mess. Your sleep may be disturbed and you may feel irritable the next day due to the lack of quality sleep.
Vaginal dryness and a reduced sex drive
Decreased levels of the hormone estrogen can cause vaginal dryness, making sex painful and uncomfortable.
Memory loss and lack of concentration
You may forget where you have put your car keys and then end up finding them in the fridge. You may struggle to concentrate on more than one thing at a time when in the past you were the superwoman of multi-tasking.
Joint stiffness and lack of muscle mass.
You may experience aches and pains, and your joint may feel stiffer.
So the big question is how do we understand our symptoms and what can we do ease some of them.
The first step is to understand this is completely normal. You are completely normal and not going crazy.
Your body is trying to adjust to hormones changes in your body over a period of time. It's really ok to feel this way. You are not an embarrassment for having a hot flash in the middle of a very important meeting, you are not crazy for walking into a room and not remembering what you came in to do and you are certainly not losing your marbles when everyone is talking to you at once and you don't have a clue what is happening.
You still love your partner, you are just coming to terms with your body confidence. What I am trying to say is that just like when you were pregnant, you went through hormones changes that lead to similar symptoms. Everyone around you adjusted to that. They can do the same with Menopause.
YOU HAVE SPENT ENOUGH TIME LOOKING AFTER EVERYONE ELSE - NOW IT'S TIME TO PRIORITIZE YOURSELF.
Here are my top 5 tips on how to embrace Menopause.
Look at your nutrition. You can make huge changes to the way you feel by making small changes in your nutrition. Eating the right kinds of food will help with hot flashes, weight management, energy levels, mood swings and sleep. Try and avoid surgery snacks, caffeine, chocolate and alcohol. Increase complex carbs, whole grains, veggies, fruit, and nuts. Include green veggies in all your meals. If you’re looking for a little help to lose a little weight, then you should check out my free guide to help you kick-start your nutrition journey.
Try to exercise at least 3 times a week to boost metabolism. The feel-good hormones released after exercise will help combat the anxiety and low mood. Try and include weight-bearing exercises to help strengthen your bones as we are at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Walking and yoga are also other great exercises to include that are low impact and easy on the body.
3. Sleep environment
If you are suffering from hot flashes, try to get a mattress and/or sheets that are cooler than you currently have. Make sure your room is dark, quiet, and cool. If you like a little noise, get a white noise machine.
4. Talk to your Family
Talk to your partner. Let them know how you are feeling at each stage. Let your kids know what you are going through. The more you communicate and get your family on board, the better you will feel.
5. You are not alone
So many women are feeling the same way. You are not strange or different. If your friends are going through menopause, talk to them too. Find out if there is a local group that may hold chats regarding stages of a woman’s life. You can also join my FaceBook group for Lifestyle Nutrition for Perimenopausal Entrepreneurs. We offer lots of support and advice for how to improve your symptoms and your life using good nutrition.
Peri-menopause is a stage of life that can last more than 10 years, and that can be a very long time to experience symptoms that can seriously have a negative impact on your life! Don’t let your quality of life suffer unnecessarily.
Good food is the foundation of good health, which is why I'm so passionate about teaching women how to eat well to become the best version of themselves.
Strawberry, Avocado, and Kale Salad with Strawberry-Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Yield: SERVES 2 GENEROUSLY, OR 4 MODESTLY
Total Time: 10 MINUTES
Prep Time:10 MINUTES
6 cups freshly torn kale leaves, with coarse stems and ribs removed
1 medium/large ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced thinly
1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
STRAWBERRY-APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE
2 cups strawberries, whole with tops off (frozen okay and it’s what I used)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons honey, or to taste (agave may be substituted to keep vegan)
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 clove garlic and/or 2 tablespoons diced red onion, optionally add to create a more savory dressing (I didn’t use either)
Salad – To a large bowl or platter, add all ingredients in the order listed; set aside.
Strawberry-Apple Cider Vinaigrette – To the canister of a high-speed blender or food processor, add all ingredients in the order listed. Blend on high power until texture is as smooth as desired. Taste vinaigrette and tweak as necessary to taste. Drizzle over salad, toss to combine, and serve immediately. If you don’t use all the vinaigrette, extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Hi, I’m Shannon Labrador!
I’m a nutrition and health coach, and I love helping other busy ambitious entrepreneurs who are dealing with perimenopausal symptoms like weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats, acne, and fatigue learn to take back control of their health, lose the weight, and feel great about their body.
Lose weight and be the energetic CEO that you want to be so that you can make an impact!