Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I take a look at what happens to your hormones and how to help balance your hormones naturally during the peri-menopause.
The peri-menopause is the phase before menopause (when your periods stop for good). It can be a very confusing time for most women because as the hormones change, symptoms can come and go. A lot of women don't know where they are one month from the next.
So, I thought today that I would go very briefly, very simply, over what happens to your oestrogen and progesterone levels. And, what you can do to help balance these hormones naturally.
What happens to your hormones during peri-menopause?
Progesterone and oestrogen start to decrease very slowly over several years. The problem for most women is that progesterone for most of them tends to dip very gently, but oestrogen can go up and down like a yo-yo. Our bodies don't like being without oestrogen. And very often, as it starts to fall, our body can try and compensate. And that can give a big hit of oestrogen some months and then some months, oestrogen starts to fall.
So, you've got your progesterone falling nice and gently and your oestrogen going up and down quite a lot. When oestrogen falls, that tends to cause missing periods, or your periods get further apart, or they get very lighter, or they get shorter. When you get a sudden hit of oestrogen, that can trigger your periods to come back.
Some women may find that they can go six months or more without a period and then suddenly they come back again. When the oestrogen gets high again, as well as triggering your periods to come back, it can also trigger all the usual PMS symptoms as well, such as breast tenderness, moodiness, bloating. Sometimes, it can raise enough to give you PMS symptoms but it doesn't trigger a period.
So, if you've got your oestrogen fluctuating like this over several years, it can be very hard on the body and your emotions, because you don't know where you're coming from every month.
What you can do to help balance your hormones
One of the things you can do is try and boost your oestrogen levels. Try to gently level them out so that you're not getting this spiking and decreasing regularly.
So, below are a few simple things that can naturally help balance your hormones during peri-menopause.
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1. Eat plenty of oestrogen-rich foods
Several foods contain phytoestrogens or plant oestrogens. And what they do is they mimic the oestrogen that was in our body, they attach themselves to oestrogen receptor sites, and that then gives us a little bit of an oestrogenic boost.
So, including oestrogen-rich foods in your diet regularly, allows your body to make use of these natural oestrogens, which can help to even out the fall of oestrogen. Examples of these types of foods include soya and nuts.
To find out more about oestrogen-rich foods and how they can help balance your hormones, head over to my blog: '5 oestrogen-rich foods for menopause'.
2. Supplements & herbs that can help
If your periods are starting to tail off, or get further apart, or get lighter, you could look at our Menopause Support tablets. This contains soya in a fermented form and provides 50mg of bioavailable phytoestrogenic soy isoflavones per day, obtained using an extract of soya beans.
If your periods are still regular, or you find they're coming closer together, or they're getting a bit heavier, then you could look at the herb Agnus castus.
My Top Tip:
Menopause Support is for all stages of menopause. As well as soy isoflavones, it also contains magnesium, which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, and helps support the nervous system. It can be used with HRT, but please note it is not suitable to use with hormonal contraceptives.
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3. Manage your stress
Look at your stress levels because stress can impact on hormonal balance very, very quickly. In this day and age, we're all tackling some form of stress, so if you need some extra help to ease stress or anxiety then you can look at stress remedies such as our Avenacalm or Stress Relief Daytime.
Taking magnesium daily, too, can help because that's great for so many things in the menopause, including helping to ease stress, reducing tiredness and fatigue and supporting your nervous system.
Discover more tips and advice on how to ease stress in my blog: 'Managing stress in the menopause'.
4. Support your liver
Your liver is also involved in deactivating hormones and it can cause a problem if your liver is a little bit stressed. You could look at herbs like milk thistle, peppermint, artichoke, and dandelion. These herbs are all known to improve liver function.
I also recommend once every six months during the peri-menopause and menopause to do a little bit of liver support work because it can make a huge difference, both to physical and emotional symptoms.
You can find tips and advice on how to help your liver in my blog: 'Support your liver for a better menopause'.
5. Exercise regularly
It's really important that we keep ourselves fit in the peri-menopause. And regular exercise, even if it's just a 15-minute brisk walk a day can make a huge amount for our general well-being and our hormonal balance.
6. Help your friendly gut bacteria
The other really interesting thing here is that there's a lot of research coming out, looking about how our friendly bacteria can also play a big part in hormonal balance.1
The level of friendly bacteria in your digestive tract can help if they're in good condition, can help to extract the phytoestrogens from your food, so this ties in with what I mentioned above in point one.
If you have a good diet with lots of phytoestrogen-rich foods, then you need plenty of good, friendly bacteria in the digestive tract to extract them so you can make good use of them.
So if you have digestive problems, if you tend to bloat, if you have a bit of constipation or if you've had antibiotics even several years ago, all of these can affect the level of friendly bacteria and that can also impact on your hormonal balance as well.
Find out how you can help your friendly bacteria in my blog: 'Friendly bacteria and how they help the menopause'.
So I hope you found this one interesting. It's just a few, little, simple tips that you can do regularly, which can have quite a big impact on your hormonal balance during the peri-menopause.
If any of you have got any great tips out there, things that you have found have helped your hormones during the peri-menopause, we would love to hear them, so please share.
Key points to take away from this blog:
- Eat foods rich in phytoestrogens like soy and nuts
- Support your liver and your gut – both of these have a role to play in balancing hormones
- Exercise regular and incorporate stress management techniques into your daily life if you struggle with stress and anxiety
Until next week, take care.