Women and the Moon have a lot in common. We're constantly moving through different phases that can affect our light and how we shine in the world. One particular phase that often sneaks up on us is the perimenopausal phase. Perimenopause means "around menopause," and it's the phase when our ovaries gradually stop releasing eggs. It's natural and very much a part of the feminine experience, but it can come with its own set of discomforts and symptoms. There are ways to ease these discomforts and flow through this phase while keeping your light bright.
Here are some signs from our bodies that let us know we've stepped into this phase:
- Increased irregularity: Sometime in your 40's (or late 30's) you may start to experience menstrual pattern changes. This can look like skipping cycles, scanty bleeding or very heavy periods, sometimes 2 weeks apart. This is quite often the first indicator of perimenopause. If irregular periods have always been the norm for you, it's best to keep a journal that tracks the timeline, physical and emotional feelings, and the amount you're shedding. Anything that seems more intense or out of your usual can be a sign.
- Heating up: Hot flashes during menopause are a tale as old as time. You can also start to experience them in perimenopause. They are caused by lower levels of estrogen. Hot flashes feel like a sudden surge of heat, usually in the upper body, causing a flushed face and a deep discomfort. They normally last anywhere between a minute or two to fifteen minutes. They can also hit in the middle of night causing night sweats and restlessness. On the bright side, there are herbs that help cool the body down and trigger foods that can be avoided.
- Lowered libido: As perimenopause approaches, you may start to notice a fluctuation in your sex drive. Some women also experience vaginal dryness making having sex uncomfortable. It's natural to desire less as we become less fertile, but that does not mean you have to give up on pleasure all together. It just calls for some extra attention in that area to keep your spark going.
- Emotional barometer: Hormonal fluctuations can affect neurotransmitters, impacting your mental state. It can be hard to tell the difference between premenstrual mood swings and perimenopausal ups and downs. But if your emotional breaches aren't followed by bleeding and become more constant, perimenopause may be the culprit. Nervous system support is extra important in this phase.
- Midnight mind marathons: As hormones begin to fluctuate, so does our sleeping schedule. Hormone levels affect our body temperature, mood, stress levels and even our thought processes. This can create sporadic sleeping patterns and energy levels. Nutrition, physical activity and hormone balancing supplements can promote more restful nights.
There are many ways to keep your cool during perimenopause. Here are some useful and holistic tools to ease your shift:
Physical activity and nutrition: keeping your body moving whether that's at the gym or just taking after dinner strolls around your neighborhood can keep your mental state healthy and improve your mood. Diet also plays a key role in our hormone health. Non-organic and processed foods can create hormonal imbalance and sluggish livers. Avoiding Spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol can also help to ease hot flashes.
Herbal support: Herbs like Vitex and Black Cohosh help to support hormonal balance. Burdock is a great liver tonic that helps to process excess hormones. Maca can support energy and sex drive. Cycle Changes is a formula that harmonizes hormones and helps to ease discomforts that come with perimenopause and menopause. Hot Flash Tamer lives up to its name and can be taken daily to regulate hot flashes. You can pair it with Sleepy Nights and put a stop to waking up multiple times throughout the night.
Self-care and tuning in: Listening to your body and keeping a journal can help you understand what your body needs and when you're most likely to feel off and need extra care and attention. Keeping an open dialog with partners and loved ones can help them understand what you're going through and how they can support you. Prioritizing a healthy diet, a physical routine and "me" time can make a huge difference. Sometimes a break from the world and an overpriced bath bomb is just what a woman needs!
Rebecca Younger is passionate about herbs and women's health. She aspires to plant seeds of inspiration within her community about plant medicine and healthier ways of life. She studied Herbal Medicine at Herbalism Roots in Denver and is a certified Doula through the Matrona Foundation. She is the customer journey lead at WishGarden Herbs.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.