By Stephanie Reck
I am soon to be 47, and a few years back I thought I was having a worsening of my PMS symptoms. I have come to find that the PMS symptoms were perimenopause instead. Most people are familiar with Menopause, which is the cessation of a women’s monthly cycle, but not perimenopause. Perimenopause usually occurs in women between their 30’s to late ’40s. During this time, a woman may experience a vast array of symptoms. Most women will enter menopause by the age of 50.
Some of the familiar symptoms of perimenopause are:
Hot flashes/night sweats
Lack of sexual desire
Perimenopause kind of sounds like PMS, just amplified. I have always had PMS symptoms, but perimenopause symptoms are in my opinion more intense. Oftentimes, women who are going through perimenopause think it is just really bad PMS.
The best way to describe what it may feel like going through perimenopause is being on a roller coaster with your emotions and your physical body. It’s up and down and can make you think there is something wrong with you.
As a Christian woman going through perimenopause can be even more of a challenge. Being patient, gentle, and loving when you feel like you could hit the person who cuts you off in traffic or who does that little thing that annoys the heck out of you. Some days the fatigue is so debilitating that doing anything “unto the Lord” seems like a chore. No time in my Christian walk have I felt more un-Christian than I do now going through perimenopause. I have never felt more alone, yet at the same time wanting to be alone.
For some women going through perimenopause, they choose medical interventions, for some they choose natural alternatives, and some choose a combination of both. I have chosen to go through perimenopause naturally, and thus seek natural alternatives. However, none of what I will share with you should take the place of seeking medical intervention when needed. Each woman is different and knows her body better than anyone else.
Listed below I am sharing with you 12 tips for helping naturally seek relief from perimenopause. Use what works only.
Consider and research natural supplements/herbs. I will list below what I have personally used, but please research yourself and consult a holistic doctor. Supplements/herbs in treating perimenopause symptoms: Progesterone cream, DIM, DHEA, Evening Primrose Oil, Black Cohosh, 5 HTP, SAM-e, KAVA, calcium, and Vitamin D.
Educate yourself on the symptoms and treatments available-naturally and medically.
When you feel fatigued, permit yourself to rest. Take a nap if you need to.
Exercise several times a week to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress.
For night sweats and hot flashes at night, take evening primrose oil or black cohosh at night, wear light clothing, and turn down the A/C.
If you are feeling especially irritable, don’t overcrowd your schedule with a bunch of to-dos. Cut back all non-essentials.
Manage your diet by eating soy, protein, fiber, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid or limit your sugar intake, alcohol, refined carbs, and processed foods. Switch to almond milk instead of dairy milk with added hormones.
If you are married share with your spouse what you are going through. Share this article and communicate. Your spouse won’t be able to guess what is wrong with you. Let your spouse know when you are not feeling like yourself and need time.
Invest in some K-Y jelly or other lubricants to help with vaginal dryness.
Manage your stress as much as possible. Stress disrupts the hormonal balance. Practice Self-care, learn to delegate what you can, ask for help when needed, and say, “No,” when you need to.
Learn from Japanese women in how they alleviate going through menopause symptoms by drinking green tea, consuming soy, and eating lots of fatty fish. Research for yourself, it is quite fascinating that there is no word for menopause in the Japanese language, because Japanese women see this time as normal and natural, and accept this without believing medical intervention is needed in such a natural process.
Get adequate sleep, and go to bed by at least 10 pm every night to give your body the rest time that it needs to function the next day.
The most important tip I believe is to be gentle and kind to yourself. This time for some women can be difficult as she realizes her childbearing days will be over, and for some who have never married or have had children, it can be more challenging. You may experience a sense of loss and identity as you enter into “the change of life.” Give yourself time to adjust to this new period of life, and when you accept this as a normal part of life, you may have more of an easier transition as Japanese women do.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Perimenopause does not last forever, and soon you will be on the other side of menopause where I hear from other women how fabulous they feel and are free from the hormonal fluctuations.