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The anxiety roller coaster of perimenopause

Updated: 3 days ago

Maybe you've never been an anxious person in the past. Or maybe you've been able to hide your anxiety and function well. But it seems like overnight you've become a super anxious person. Hold on tight. This might be the start of the hormonal roller coaster called perimenopause.


Perimenopause begins about 5 to 7 years before menopause, and often starts at around age 42 to 45, or sometimes younger. During perimenopause, you might discover that your PMS symptoms have worsened and anxiety is now having a negative impact on your life and relationships. The busy life that you have been juggling successfully up until now may start to feel unmanageable.


You are at the beginning of a major hormonal change called perimenopause. This new feeling of not being able to cope can lead you to doubt yourself and some women suffer a drastic loss of confidence during the transition to menopause.



the similarity between perimenopause and puberty


Do you remember the years of teenage angst when your hormones were just starting to kick in and everything seemed more fraught?


Everyone knows that the puberty years are emotionally difficult. Puberty 'blues' are well recognised. We allow teenagers the space to vent, to feel anxious, and to make mistakes. We explain to our young people that it's their hormones making everything seem much worse than it actually is. As a society we hold space for our teenagers and have information and counselling available for them if the hormone changes become too challenging.


In perimenopause we go through the same hormone challenges. Perimenopause can be just as emotionally difficult as puberty. Instead of our brains having to adjust to increasing hormones, our brains need to rewire to cope with less hormones. This process can result in similar feeling of anxiety, brain fog and forgetfulness.


The problem is the hormonal change of perimenopause seem to be a well kept secret. There is little acknowledgement by society regarding the major hormonal shifts that women experience in their 40s and 50s. It's possible you feel like you're on your own. You might feel like you're the only one not coping at the moment.


Social media can exacerbate this feeling of being alone in your anxiousness. Previous generations of women weren't confronted daily by polished and perfect photos of other women's lives.



You are definitely not alone. In my busy naturopath practice I work with highly anxious women in perimenopause every day.


help for anxiety in perimenopause


In fact, I am seeing a huge upswing in the amount of women coming to me for help with perimenopausal anxiety. This increase in awareness is actually an advantage of engaging with social media. Tik Tok seems to have a knack (or an algorithm) for finding answers to questions you didn't know you had, leading many women to realise that their anxiety is hormonally driven.


Dropping levels of progesterone and fluctuating levels of estrogen in perimenopause can lead to a number of symptoms:

  • anxiety

  • insomnia

  • brain fog, difficulty concentrating

  • worse premenstrual symptoms - sore breasts, migraines, depression, anxiety

  • heavy periods, clotting and/or flooding

  • shorter menstrual cycle

  • increase in environmental allergies and food intolerances

  • weight fluctuations

  • vaginal changes


My goal when I work with you is to support your natural hormone levels with diet, lifestyle changes and herbal medicine. Many women I have worked with have been surprised how quickly they can start to feel better with a few simple changes - although some changes - such as cutting back on coffee - can be harder.


We will also work together to support your nervous system and adrenal glands so that you feel calmer and more able to cope with day to day stress. I love to recommend both herbal medicine and Australian bush flower essences to assist with reducing anxiety and restoring confidence. We will also assess your daily food choices to see if you could benefit from diet changes or regular supplements.


I haven't met a women in perimenopause who didn't benefit from more quiet time for herself and some regular self-care practices.


If you are too busy to find time to exercise, this is something else that we can gradually address together. High intensity exercise may not the best thing for you either, while your body adjusts to dropping hormone levels. Thriving in perimenopause is all about finding the balance that works for you.


Perimenopause and ADD


Tik Tok is also really helpful with is guiding women in their 40s and 50s with undiagnosed attention deficit disorder to seek help. A growing number of women are recognising that they have been coping with ADD for most of their lives.


Attention deficit is particularly fraught during perimenopause because fluctuating hormones may bring extreme levels of brain fog and inability to focus. The combination of ADD and perimenopause can really spike your anxiety levels.


I have found that herbal medicine can be a real alternative to ADD medications during perimenopause to improve focus and concentration. I now check in with every anxious/stressed woman over 40 to see if there could be more to the picture than just hormone changes and a busy lifestyle underlying the high anxiety levels.


take action to reduce your anxiety


I love to help women THRIVE through perimenopause. I would really like to help you to understand your body and manage the many challenges that this hormonal shift can bring.


If you want to understand more about the hormone changes of perimenopause, you may find my blog 'the ultimate guide to a natural perimenopause' useful.


Please feel free to book an appointment or download one of my helpful guides.


Simone :)

 


 

Hi! I'm Simone Jeffries. I am a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and certified wellness coach. I am also a foodie and an advocate for a whole food diet.

I love to support you with hormonal conditions, histamine intolerance and vaginal imbalances.


I welcome clients to consult with me at my clinic in Manly on Sydney's Northern Beaches, and online from anywhere in Australia.


The information in this blog is from my Bachelor of Health Science degree, experience from working with women in my clinic, and continuing research.


This blog is for information only and not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please seek assistance for any medical concerns.

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