Many women assume that there are three major hormonal milestones: that first menstrual period, pregnancy, and then menopause.
But there’s actually an intermediate step between making babies and closing the fertility window: perimenopause.
Perimenopause begins much earlier than many women realize — around age 35. In a nutshell, this decade-or-so-long journey is the slow process of the pituitary producing increasingly more FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone, over time until the abundance of the hormone signals the ovaries to permanently stop ovulation. Think of this as a kind of reverse puberty.
Perimenopause can have an impact on how you look and feel in ways that you don’t expect to deal with until much later, and the effects are all the more startling the less you have supported your hormones and your health up to this point.
Perimenopause can be when some women realize they just can’t put off taking better care of their bodies anymore. If you’re not healthy, your body will let you know now!
How to Know Whether You're Experiencing Perimenopause
The first sign that you’re entering perimenopause will likely be newly irregular periods. This is because your hormone production is slowly starting to wane so you won’t ovulate as regularly, and your periods will reflect this. Many women expect their cycles to stay the same until menopause when they suddenly stop, but this is actually a long process that can start in our 30s.
How much you feel the impact of the perimenopausal hormonal shift in your day-to-day life will depend a whole lot on your diet and lifestyle. The less healthy and hormonally supportive those aspects are, the more likely it is that perimenopause will hit you hard.
Here are six signs that perimenopause might be hitting you too hard:
- You’re exhausted and sleep-deprived.
- You’re anxious, overwhelmed, and low.
- You have zero interest in sex.
- Your skin is breaking out like a teenager’s.
- Your weight is out of control and the number on the scale keeps climbing.
- Your period has gone missing and you’re not sure how you’ll conceive.
These aren't inevitable signs of perimenopause — these are actually symptoms of premature hormonal aging.
4 Lifestyle Changes to Manage the Symptoms
If you take control at the first sign of entering this life phase, then you can help manage many of the symptoms that come along with the change.
These symptoms are not inevitable, and you can work to prevent them. Turning 35 isn't the beginning of the end. You can keep your youthful energy, sex drive, skin, figure, and happiness for years to come.
Here are four lifestyle changes I recommend to help slow down perimenopause and control the symptoms:
1. Eat more protein and healthy fats.
Protein and fat are very important for your diet, as they help you make the hormones you need to feel great. At this stage, your body is starting to slow down hormone production so it’s critical you give it all it needs to produce as much as it can. I recommend at least one serving of animal protein and two servings of vegan protein per day.
2. Sync your diet to your cycle.
To help balance out your estrogen and progesterone, I recommend eating according to your menstrual cycle. You can start cycle-syncing your diet by incorporating these veggies into each phase:
- Follicular phase (before you ovulate, after your period): artichoke, broccoli, carrot, parsley, green peas, string beans, and zucchini
- Ovulatory phase (when you’re ovulating): asparagus, Brussels sprouts, chard, escarole, scallion, and spinach
- Luteal phase (before you have your period): cauliflower, collard greens, daikon, onion, parsnip, radish, squash, and sweet potato
- Menstrual phase (your period): beet, kale, kelp, and mushrooms
3. Take vitamin B6, vitamin D3, and evening primrose oil.
These supplements can be helpful for the perimenopausal transition. For example, vitamin D3 and vitamin B6 may help with progesterone production, essential for opposing symptom-causing estrogen overload.
Evening primrose oil is a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that influences prostaglandin synthesis and helps calm perimenopausal symptoms.
4. Increase your intake of zinc.
Your hormones may be aging faster than they should. Help reverse this process by adding the key micronutrient you’re likely missing. Download my free report: The Magic Missing Micronutrient to Get Your Sexy Back.
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