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How to know if you're in perimenopause?



The other day I said jokingly: I was in peri all my life - and indeed it’s not true lol, but it feels a bit like it. My hormones have always been a mess. I had migraines way before I got my first period but then also got hormonal migraines like clockwork - every f*** month. I was horribly irritable, had carb cravings, blew up like a balloon, very painful periods, heavy bleeding and clotting. Knowing what I know now, yes I had estrogen dominance and I could have spared myself long years of all this suffering if I had just known what I know now…


Well but I’m not a person who dwells in the past on things that can’t be changed anymore, I rather be very grateful for what I know now so that I don’t have to suffer through peri and I can use my knowledge to help other women not suffer as well!

Hormone balance is very complex, that’s also why I like it so much I think. I've always been drawn to diving into complex topics and deciphering them.

So yes, hormone balance is very complex, but what makes it even more complex is that every woman is different and not only experiences different symptoms, but also responds differently to remedies for hormone balance. Some women do very well with herbal solutions to boost hormone production, at least in the early stages of perimenopause. And then others need to start earlier with (bio identical) hormone replacement.


I’m now 44 and have started bio identical progesterone about 2 years ago. I admit that I wasn’t happy in the beginning as I felt like putting on a band-aid solution (which you know is against my philosophy), but I have seen how much I benefit from taking it and have come to peace with the fact that my body or rather my ovaries are just not very performant anymore (despite the efforts). I felt like my body should be able to recover and still be able to produce more progesterone with natural herbs rather than taking progesterone. Now that I’ve accepted the situation, I actually think it’s not surprising : I’ve suffered from low progesterone symptoms most of my life and I’ve been very bad at stress management, so why should my ovaries or rather my brain recover now? In the meantime, I’ve also done a genetic test that revealed hormone imbalance as one of my biggest challenges (ha no surprise there) which is partly due to my missing liver detoxification enzymes.


Also, the more I learn about hormone replacement therapy, the more I hear it’s best to start early rather than later.

If you are only 40, are you too young to take bioidentical hormones? No and if you think about it, how many of you are taking birth control or wearing an IUD? Doctors never tell you you’re too young for these things, they even prescribe them to 12 year olds. I want to highlight again the importance of using natural hormones - go back to my article about synthetic vs bioidentical hormones here.


There’s also women who feel worse when taking progesterone as your body can convert progesterone to Cortisol and if that happens, you get the opposite of the zen and anti-anxiety effect: you feel like you're over caffeinated. In this case it’s important to find the source of stress that will trigger this conversion before you can benefit from extra zen, no moodiness, better sleep, no bloating etc.



rollercoaster

Perimnopause really can feel like being on a hormone rollercoaster (but without the fun): there are no clear guidelines on what to look for. You’re still cycling but things just aren’t the same.

So you’ll look for external reasons why strange health issues have crept in - blaming it on your partner, job, or the weather. When that’s not working, you’ll get frustrated with your body, as if it was betraying you.


Entering menopause is a lot more clear: you just don’t have your period anymore for 12 consecutive months.

The truth is: it might be perimenopause.


The earliest symptoms of perimenopause include:

  • shorter or longer cycle (by 3-5 days)

  • shorter bleed days

  • lighter or heavier bleed days (compared to before)

  • mid-cycle spotting

  • lack of ovulation

  • mood swings

  • breast changes (pain, swelling, benign cysts)

  • Sleep issues (tossing & turning, lack of deep sleep, insomnia, although it usually comes a bit later)

  • Increased anxiety


If you experience two or more, you’re most likely in perimenopause. Go back to my previous article on the 5 stages of hormone transition


I know all this doesn’t sound like fun at all, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. I’m on a mission to help women ENJOY this time in our lives where you can finally focus on yourself, your career or whatever it is. So don’t let the fatigue and all the nagging symptoms stop you!


My colleague Christine and I are very passionate about filling the information gap around this time of hormone transition and that’s why we have created our program “Perimenopause like a Boss”


Want to learn about your symptoms, how to manage them and connect to women who are going through the same thing?


You’ll get a free copy of my Hormone balance cookbook with meal plans, shopping lists, but also videos explaining what’s going on with your hormones, how to manage your symptoms, targeted supplements, weekly Q&As and a number of bonuses. Listen to our IG live for more info



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