The transition through menopause
I'm here to help you to navigate the challenges of perimenopause and menopause
Women in their early, mid and late 40's often begin to worry that their lives feel out of control. Many health issues can bubble to the surface at this time along with feelings of frustration and even anger.
These changes in health, stress levels and emotional energy can be a sign that you've entered peri-menopause.
No two women seem to experience the transition to menopause the same way. It can be a time where you may feel confused and isolated. For about 30% of women, the transition to menopause is difficult, and if that's you, I'm here to help!
What is perimenopause?
Peri-menopause is a period of about 5 to 7 years before menopause, and often begins at around age 42 to 45, or sometimes younger.
Declining progesterone and fluctuating estrogen levels can start to change the menstrual cycle. In the early stages you may notice that your periods are a little closer together and often much heavier. Hot flushes are not usually a feature of the early stages of perimenopause.
You might discover that your PMS symptoms have worsened and irritability is now having a negative impact on your life and relationships.
The hormonal changes can also make us less able to cope with stress, making it easier to fall prey to anxiety, brain fog, depression and insomnia.
The fluctuations in estrogen can affect other aspects of your health and some women find that their allergies worsen in their 40's and you might begin to experience histamine intolerance or cyclical migraines for the first time.
Reflux, abdominal bloating and insomnia can become a problem, often be related to stress levels and adrenal function.
Estrogen can also affect endometriosis and fibroids. It's not unusual to be diagnosed with one of these conditions in your 40s.
Perimenopause is a critical period of a woman's health because of the changes in hormone levels. You are more likely to be wrongly diagnosed at this stage with serious conditions such as depression and fibromyalgia, when the symptoms might actually being caused by natural hormonal changes to the brain and immune system.
Being aware of these natural changes and learning how to care for yourself through perimenopause can be critical to how well you transition to menopause and avoid autoimmune and neurological problems.
This is why I am passionate about women understanding what is happening to their hormones after 40.
As perimenopause enters the later stages, you will notice that you start to skip periods and may go for months without a period. This is often when women start to experience the hot flushes and night sweats that are typically associated with menopause.
"10 years ago, at the age of 41, I started having trouble sleeping. Up until this point in my life, I had been running a family and a business and I was fit, healthy and felt very capable. That. All. Changed.
I started to wake up during the night and not be able to get to sleep for hours. I started to feel anxious, "through the roof" anxious and I felt hyper-alert all the time. I started to get heart palpitations day and night. My doctor put me on anti-depressants to help me settle but I didn't like the way they made me feel.
I felt like I was on a merry-go-round of anxiety, lack of sleep and spiralling health problems. My periods started to get very, very heavy and I had to stay close to the bathroom at work. My digestion was the pits and even water gave me reflux. I didn't know what to eat because everything made me feel awful. And I was putting on weight, even though I was eating less.
I tried to hide everything from everyone because I had always been so strong and capable, I didn't like this new feeling that I was losing control.
At night I would turn to google to try to find out what was happening to me. The doctor told me that it was just stress. I ended up getting more confused and worried because I couldn't find any answers or help.
I now know that what I was experiencing was normal for women in their 40's but I felt like I was alone. I felt like the merry-go-round that was my life would occasionally slow down, but not enough to let me off and the slightest thing would make it speed up again".
When 48 year old Sophie came to see me she had no idea that she was in perimenopause because her uterus had been removed several years earlier and she no longer had a period.
Sophie was experiencing symptoms of a racing heart and also strange itchiness under her skin. Her heart specialist had reassured her that her heart was strong and healthy. A neurologist had not been able to explain the sensation of crawling skin, however was able to reassure her that it was nothing serious.
Because I often work with perimenopausal women I questioned her further about her symptoms and explored the idea that she was still having a cycle even though she wasn't bleeding any more.
I recommended that Sophie try a low histamine diet because of the link between estrogen fluctuations and histamine in perimenopause.
Thankfully for Sophie, cutting back on avocado, wine and cheese completely relieved her symptoms.
We expect the histamine intolerance is temporary and will pass in a few years when she has arrived at menopause and her estrogen levels drop.
Common menopause symptoms
Menopause is when you no longer have a period.
You can't be sure you're in menopause until you've gone 12 months without a period.
You shouldn't feel worried or uneasy talking to someone about your menopause symptoms. Menopause is a normal part of life for every woman.
These are some of the things I hear from women every day:
~ Hot flushes and night sweats
~ Dry skin, itchy skin, changes to nails and hair
~ Worries about weight gain and food choices
~ Mood changes, easily angered and persistent irritability
~ Anxiety, insecurities, questioning purpose, or depression
~ Declining libido, vaginal dryness, impacts on intimacy
~ Fears around safe sex and sexually transmitted infections
~ Questioning life purpose and feeling stuck
These are all midlife challenges that can be managed with a naturopathic and lifestyle approach. I have tips and ideas for diet, exercise, supplements, creams, lubricants and flower essences to support you to become a vibrant postmenopausal woman!
What you will learn about managing menopause
How your hormones can affect many aspects of your health at menopause (not just hot flushes)
How to eat for vitality, energy, and to get rid of brain fog
How your digestive health affects your hormones during perimenopause
How your gut microbiome impacts your estrogen levels
How your hormones and the way you eat impacts on your sleep
How to make simple everyday changes that will help you reach your goal of a healthy midlife and beyond
How to manage low libido and dry vagina without estrogen supplementation
How to stop heavy bleeding without the pill or a hysterectomy
Alternatives to HRT
Some women worry that hormone replacement (HRT) might be their only option - but there is an alternative! Food intake, herbal medicine and other natural therapies are very effective for lessening many of the symptoms you might experience during menopause.
"I have been feeling great - no hot flushes for months.
I am so pleased with the results.
Thank you so much!"
Lisa A. Drummoyne, 2019
I'm here to support you to ease into menopause, especially if you
are so busy with family, work and life that adding something extra feels overwhelming
are desperate to sleep better and have fewer hot flushes but are not sure how to take the first step
feel like you don't understand the hormone changes well enough to make the best choices for yourself
I meet many women who have not prioritised their own health before menopause.
I will teach you how to make positive changes that will support you through menopause and enhance your feeling of wellbeing!
What's it like to work with Simone?
After having hot flushes multiple times per day for over 4 years, and trying many different types of over the counter medications from the chemists to no avail, I saw Simone. Simone prescribed a herbal extract for my ailments and I saw a noticeable difference within two weeks.
I still have occasional hot flushes, but they are a lot less frequent and much shorter in duration (a minute or two). I was very happily surprised that within such a short period of time (two weeks), the results were astounding, especially considering I've had the hot flushes for over 4 years.
I would highly recommend anyone experiencing hot flushes to see Simone straight away. I no longer suffer as I used to.
Cynthia, Lower North Shore 2020.
Recommended blog posts
In these blogs I give you tips for how to manage perimenopause and menopause. I offer diet and lifestyle tips and talk about the place of herbal medicine and adrenal support in managing the transition to menopause.
Please reach out if you would like more information.