The effects of perimenopause on a woman's body, mood and emotions
The beginning of perimenopause is normally signaled by the start of irregular menstrual periods and ends after a year of no menstrual bleeding. During the perimenopause phase, the female hormones estrogen and progesterone experience fluctuating shifts, increasing and decreasing in irregularly until they re-stabilize to postmenopausal levels. Common physical complaints include:
- Hot flashes
- Sleep problems
- Irregular periods
- Painful cramping and heavy flow
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
- Decrease in fertility
- Changes in sexual function and libido
- Breast tenderness
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Urinary incontinence
Fluctuating hormones may also have debilitating effects on mental and emotional health and includes symptoms like mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, memory and concentration problems, panic disorder and overly emotional responses.
The challenges of raising children during perimenopause
Dealing with all of the physical symptoms of perimenopause may be straining. Couple that with a growing teenager going through puberty, and it can result in a recipe for disaster. Most mothers will hit perimenopause when their children are in their teens. Some mothers who decided to have children later in life might even have to deal with a highly active toddler.
Perimenopause symptoms may have a mother feeling tired all the time, quick to anger and irritable without even realizing it. She might feel like snapping at her child for no good reason or might breakdown and cry because they are back-chatting and not listening. Smaller children might not understand what is wrong, making them fearful of their own mothers.
Teens, on the other hand, provide a whole new level of challenge. While their hormones are peaking out of control and they struggle to deal with a changing body, acne breakouts, and social and peer pressures, their mother's hormone levels are decreasing, creating two clashing creatures.
Raising children during perimenopause can be a major challenge for a mother and she will need a supportive environment and hopefully the help of another adult partner.
She will also have to practice some self-love and self-care. The more she looks after herself during this transition period, the smoother it will go, and she will have energy left to help her teenager deal with their own hormonal challenges. The fact that both mother and teen are going through these changes may even offer them something to bond about and deepen their relationship.
Self-care tips for mothers during perimenopause
A mother in our modern day is often too busy looking after her family and still going to work every day, that she puts her own health and well-being last. When perimenopause starts, she needs to become self-aware and practice self-care. Luckily there are some easy lifestyle tips she can implement and natural remedies she can use to help her, and her family, survive perimenopause.
- Engage in movement and daily exercise. This can be anything from walking and swimming or a relaxing yoga or tai chi class. Exercise is a natural stress reliever and boosts her body's natural feel good hormones (endorphins)
- Take time out for herself. Find a certain time in the day, even if it is just thirty minutes, she can do something she likes and never gets time for
- Have family meetings to discuss her changing mood and ask for support. Bringing the issues to light in a supportive environment will help
- Make dietary changes, removing processed and sugary foods that can boost inflammation and worsen pain and cramping
- Eat foods rich in B vitamins to support the nervous system (dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts)
- Reach out to friends also going through perimenopause, or who has reached menopause and share experiences, commonalities, tips and stories
Use supplements to help balance hormones, ease mood swings and insomnia:
- A.Vogel's Menosupport Complex offers a wonderful hormone regulating and balancing solution. Isoflavones in the formula are a group of phytonutrients with estrogenic activity, commonly referred to as phytoestrogens. These plant-based estrogens have an affinity for estrogen receptors and can bind to them and help to stabilize fluctuating hormone levels.
Studies have shown a positive effect on hot flashes, vaginal health and blood lipid concentration. Phytoestrogens are present in over 300 different plant types, but the most popular type used in treatment for perimenopause and menopause symptoms, are those derived from soy.
Magnesium- one of the minerals included as one of the ingredients in Menosupport Complex is involved in almost all body processes. A deficiency in magnesium can cause symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, brain fog, low mood, food cravings and even effect hair and nails. The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are so similar to that of perimenopause, that the benefits of taking extra magnesium during this transitional time can address and ameliorate most of them. Studies have even shown that magnesium is effective in treating hot flashes.
The recommended dose of magnesium is between 200–270 mg and it rarely has any side-effects. Additionally, consuming more magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, avocado and dark chocolate also helps greatly.
- A.Vogel's Passion flower helps to boost mood and alleviate insomnia. Passion flower is a herbal remedy known for its benefits of relaxing cases of physical hyperactivity and helping with insomnia, depression and anxiety. It grows in the tropical parts of South America, Asia and Australia.
A study on women taking passionflower to relieve perimenopause symptoms reported great improvements within the first three weeks of taking the herbal remedy. They especially noted a decrease in anger, depression, anxiety, insomnia and reported better sleep. The anti-depressive effect of passion flower works by increasing serotonin levels, a hormone which at low levels can contribute greatly to depression.
The benefits of taking passion flower for a mother in perimenopause is high. It can help with her nervousness, agitation, anger and depression. Because it induces a good night's sleep, she will feel more rested and have more energy to face the day. She will be more resilient in stresses that may arise. Passion flower's calming effects can help against emotional outbursts especially during stressful situations that may occur in raising her children.
Going through perimenopause may feel like a difficult challenge but by practicing self-care asking for support from loved ones and friends, and incorporating helpful supplement support, this difficult time in a woman's life can be much smoother and much more enjoyable.