But for now I’m not going to go any deeper into the evidence for or against artificial hormones.
I want to explore whether these artificial hormones are the only option, and is it necessarily a good one?*
I also want to look at what these artificial hormones are doing to our physical, emotional and spiritual being.
Transitions, Rhythms and Control
The menopause transition period (including pre-, peri- and post-menopause) is daunting.
Any major transition in life is scary and as humans we don’t like to be out of our comfort zone very much!
Think back to your first period (menarche), and all the changes we had to deal with, both physically and emotionally!
Modern medicine has done a great job in disconnecting us from our natural rhythms. It has even turned normal life transitions into diseases that must be treated with synthetic medicines.
In fact, our whole reproductive cycle has been hijacked by modern medicine. We let artificial hormones control our periods, our fertility, our childbirth, our pelvic health, and the end of our periods!
What this tells most women is that our bodies are not good enough, they need to be fixed.
Messing around with hormones is not a good thing!
Our hormonal system is all interconnected
If you’ve been reading my posts and blogs, you know how the thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones are linked together.
Any changes in them also affect insulin and hunger hormones, our sleep hormones, and many more!
But our hormones are also interconnected with our emotional and spiritual being.
Are artificial hormones disconnecting us from the emotional and spiritual transition we need to make in perimenopause?
Do we want to become wise and powerful women in our post-menopausal years?
If so, then we need to deal with and heal all the emotional and spiritual crap that we have accumulated in our lifetime.
Artificial hormones disconnect us from the physical expression of these emotional issues. If we can’t recognise the problems then we are not going to deal with them!
By letting synthetic hormones control us, they are also disconnecting us from ourselves.
Symptoms are messages
Perimenopausal symptoms are usually messages. Our bodies are telling us that we need to looking inward and start rediscovering our intuition and inner wisdom.
How can we do that when we are disconnected?
This not only happens at perimenopause — it happens all throughout our reproductive years.
PMS, irregular periods, ovarian cysts, postnatal depression – these are all physical signs that something needs to be healed.
If we suppress these symptoms with artificial hormones, it is likely our physical symptoms will be worse when perimenopause comes along.
And if you are taking HRT, once you come off it, these issues will still be there. So many women coming of HRT report that all those horrible symptoms do come back again!
What are the alternatives?
Do you want to truly step into our full power and potential post-menopause? Then you really need to consider whether taking HRT will be of benefit in the long run.
Unfortunately, modern medicine doesn’t give us many alternative options.
But if you look outside the box, into complementary and alternative treatments, there are so many things that you can try.
There are many wonderful herbs out there that have been used for thousands of years to great effect.
There are many foods and supplements you can take to help you balance your hormones.
And of course, homeopathy and flower essences are just amazing because they get to the root of the problems and help us heal our body, mind and spirit.
If you want to now more about how homeopathy can help you to manage and relieve perimenopausal symptoms, please get in touch! I’m here for you. Book a free 15 minute call with me to see how I can help!
* This may not apply to women who are on HRT due to premature or abrupt menopause (due to surgery or illness), and who may need to take these hormones as their bodies cannot produce enough on their own. And I’m not berating anyone who has chosen to take HRT or artificial hormones and done their research and decided that is the best course of action for them. If you are happy with your choice, then that’s absolutely fine, and your right to do so!! My main objective here is to highlight the fact that we are usually not given many other choices when HRT is not suitable or necessary, and the risks and negative aspects of it are downplayed or not even considered at all.
Mine has been terrible! I’ve also heard from friends or clients that their sleep has been atrocious!
I love sleep, so this is not good for me!
Then I read a few articles recently saying that many people are finding it hard to sleep well during lockdown – so I thought maybe that’s it!
I have to confess that my stress levels have been higher than normal.
There’s just too many things on my plate at the moment – my girls at home all the time, I’ve been homeschooling them, husband is working from home, I seem to be cooking non-stop… Not to mention the political lockdown situation and all that goes with that!
I’m also working and getting busier and trying to fit that into my spare hours, which is usually in the evenings and later at night! And we all know what blue light does to our sleep, right?
Combining all this with perimenopause, it’s a wonder I sleep at all!
Insomnia and trouble sleeping is actually quite common during perimenopause.
And the reasons are varied and unique to you.
Maybe you get hot flushes and night sweats, or are prone to anxiety and panic attacks.
Eating too many refined and processed foods or not exercising enough.
Or you are exposed to too much blue light in the evenings.
Often our liver is overtaxed, and that can also have a big impact….
During perimenopause we are in a transition period for our sleeping patterns.
We may need more sleep now, like in our teenage years, and then once we are in proper menopause we may need less.
So don’t feel guilty if you feel you need to sleep more!!
Now, let’s talk about STRESS.
This is what is I think is the main thing getting to me at the moment.
Stress in not all bad, it is there to motivate us and help us when we are in danger and to survive. One of the main hormones involved in this is CORTISOL.
Cortisol is there to wake us up and give us energy in the morning and during the day. By evening it should decrease, giving way to melatonin to help us wind down and go to sleep.
The problem starts when we are constantly stressed. Our cortisol levels are constantly on a high, making it much harder to go to sleep.
During perimenopause, our adrenal glands (which produce cortisol) also need to help out with estrogen production, and if they are already over-stressed… well you can see where I’m going with this! It’s a wonder we ever sleep at all!!
This is probably where my problem lies at the moment. It is just hard to get away from stress at the moment, isn’t it?
And remember me mentioning the liver?
I reduced my alcohol intake to 1-2 glasses a week, and now am sleeping so much better.
Sleep is so important for our health and well being. It is especially so during perimenopause because we need that recovery time for our hormones that are naturally all over the place.
We also need it to reduce stress and recharge our energy levels.
If we don’t get enough we can be more prone to inflammation and therefore more at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other related conditions.
Homeopathy can help get you better sleep during perimenopause, especially if it’s stress or anxiety related. Feel free to book a free 15 minute discovery call to see if I can help you!
During these interesting times, it wouldn’t be surprising if your anxiety has gone through the roof!!
There are very real reasons for our anxieties at the moment, but some have also been hyped up by the media.
If you are in the middle of perimenopause, your anxiety has been likely worse than usual, and that was bad enough!
Let’s have a little deeper look at why we are so prone to anxiety during perimenopause.
Anxiety is actually one of the most common symptoms during perimenopause. It’s usually is the type of anxiety that is disproportionate to the situation. You seem to worry about everything and anything!
This anxiety can easily lead us to experiencing panic attacks, which can be quite scary.
Everything seems overwhelming. You can’t even make a decision without breaking into a sweat of worry and panic.
So, what is going on within us that is causing all this?
Fluctuations in our hormones, have a major part to play in this. Especially progesterone levels.
Progesterone is a calming hormone. When its levels start to decrease in perimenopause, we can feel worried and anxious about any little thing.
Perimenopause is the time when our past unresolved emotional traumas come to the fore. It is natural that we start feeling anxious much more easily. It is our body’s way of telling us we need to resolve something.
In more normal times, this is likely the main reason why we get so anxious during perimenopuase. Have a deeper look into what is making you anxious and panicky. Those seemingly little things are usually a standing in front of a bigger thing that keeps calling you to be resolved.
At this moment in time, however, I can see that our cortisol and adrenaline levels are the ones causing most of this mayhem.
Cortisol and adrenaline are our survival hormone. It takes precedence over all the others. They are produced when we are in perceived danger, it’s our flight or fight hormone.
We have all been feeling in some sort of danger these last few weeks – from the virus, from losing our freedom, from our inability to see friends and family, from being in financial hardship, from the probability of losing our livelihoods… the list can go on…
If these two hormone is overflowing due to stress, they will create imbalance in all the others. Including progesterone, our calming hormone.
It’s no wonder we are all feeling super anxious. We’ve got anxiety coming at us from the external stresses and fear being thrown at us every day for the past 2 months. And we are also getting it from the hormonal imbalances that result from it.
So what can you do to feel more calm?
Some simple things you can easily do right now include avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and taking time to exercise and to rest as well.
Nutritionally some vitamin B6 and magnesium could help, as they calm your nervous system.
If you feel your anxiety is too much, out of proportion or persistent, or you are having a difficult time dealing with it, then do try to get help.
EFT, meditation, mindfulness and counselling may be very helpful in this instance.
Homeopathy and flower essences are also amazing in these situations.
Please don’t let yourself get mired in your anxiety. I am here to help.
I’m offering free 15 minute chats to all my clients, to talk about how you are doing, and help you feel calmer and more at peace.
Maybe it’s not the bleed itself, more what comes with it. The mood swings, the pain, the bloating, the sore boobs…. the weepiness, the food cravings, the spots on your face…. the rage, the headaches, the insomnia…
You are totally fed up, and sometimes it’s so bad you want to just curl up on the sofa with a hot water bottle all day.
Can you believe PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) / PMT (Premenstrual Tension) is something that around 80% of women suffer from, all the way from mild to severe symptoms?!
How can this be?
Is this the fault of our hormones? Did God/Mother Nature/Source get this wrong?
In the physical sense, our hormonal balance is certainly one of the factors – either excess or deficiency of estrogen, plus a deficiency of progesterone.
In addition to our lovely hormones being out of balance when we are suffering PMS, these factors also have a big role to play:
High consumption of dairy, caffeine, sugar, alcohol.
Deficiency of certain minerals (magnesium, selenium) and vitamins (B complex, C, E)
Lack of exercise
But if your PMS is chronic – you get it pretty much every month, year after year – or severe, then you need to look deeper.
Our female hormones communicate with us and guide us in our day to day life.
Premenstrually, they are telling us we need to rest, to look inward, nurture ourselves.
Our modern culture, however, is telling us the opposite. It’s telling us we need to keep active all the time, be productive members of society. We can and should do anything, anytime.
It is when we resist our cycles and rhythms, that we run into trouble. PMS is our body signalling us that we are not in tune with ourselves.
It’s screaming for us to look after ourselves and rest. It’s telling us that maybe we haven’t been kind to ourselves lately – too much stress, not enough nutrient dense foods, not enough exercise.
So what can you do to relieve PMS?
Getting rid of your hormonal fluctuations – which are normal by the way! – with a hormonal contraceptive will not solve the problem. It’s only patching it up, temporarily. In fact, it will most likely cause more problems (and that is a conversation for another time!).
The main problem or problems will still be there unless you address them.
Reducing stress is probably the most important thing and it goes hand in hand with inflammation. Stress affects the behaviours and communication of all our hormones, including estrogen and progesterone.
Avoiding foods that cause inflammation, like dairy, wheat, sugar, alcohol and vegetable oils, could also be important
You can start to look at your nutrition and exercise habits, and see where you need to change things up.
Do you need to reduce or avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy?
Or maybe consume foods that contain magnesium, selenium, vitamin B6, B12, C and E.
Maybe you need to see if your meals are properly balanced, with enough protein and fat to balance your blood sugar and avoid sugar cravings.
Or if you think you have a histamine sensitivity or intolerance, then look at avoiding foods that could cause a histamine reaction – e.g. dairy, alcohol – or that contain histamine – e.g. cheese, red wine, fermented foods, smoked meats, nuts, beans and pulses.
Do you need to exercise more to reduce stress and inflammation and balance blood sugar.
Or maybe you just need to try to get more and better sleep. IF you do the above, your sleep will very likely improve anyway!
You don’t have to keep struggling month after month!
You can heal yourself. Homeopathy can help you deal with your PMS/PMT symptoms. It can also help you get to the deeper root cause, safely and effectively, so you don’t have to suffer any more!
PMS, cramps, tender breasts, heavy periods, irregular periods… so many women seem to have at least one if not, several of these symptoms around their monthly cycles.
Homeopathy has many lovely remedies to help with menstrual issues, but I’m going to talk about what I think are the 3 most commonly used for this. These three remedies are available in any homeopathic first aid kit.
This remedy is made from the venom of the Bushmaster snake. Women who may benefit from this remedy usually have the worst symptoms before their period; they have violent mood swings, insomnia, cramping pains, ovarian pains and headaches/migraines. Often these pains are left-sided or move from left to right. If they get too hot, or too cold they will feel worse, and they especially don’t like any tight clothing or feeling constricted.
Once their period starts, these symptoms get better. They also feel much better if they get fresh air and for movement. During their period, they can have heavy, dark menstrual bleeding or clotting.
In general, women who do well on this remedy can get over-excited or wound up over little things. They are usually quite talkative, and can be jealous or suspicious. And they really hate feeling constricted, especially around the neck.
This remedy is made from the Pasque Flower. Women who may benefit from Pulsatilla during their period may feel very emotional and weepy, and need lots of support and reassurance. Before their period they may have nausea/vomiting and indigestion, headaches, and diarrhoea.
Their symptoms can be one-sided and/or changeable. Their cycles may be irregular and have changeable flow from month to month. They will feel worse if they are in stuffy hot room or if they get overheated, and especially if they feel neglected or abandoned. To feel better, fresh air, gentle exercise and crying will help, but especially attention and sympathy.
In general, women who need Pulsatilla will be shy but sociable, sometimes seem a bit clingy as they don’t want to be alone. They tend to get chilly and usually are not very thirsty. One-sided and changeable symptoms would point to this remedy.
This remedy is made from the ink of the cuttlefish. Women who may need Sepia can be described as the worn out, fed up and irritable mother. Around their period, they are exhausted with moods alternative between violent screaming to weeping and emotional withdrawal. They usually get a bit down or depressed with PMT, and can have dragging or bearing down pains in the lower abdomen. Sometimes it feels as if all the genitals will fall out. Their periods can be irregular and heavy. Their symptoms will improve with eating, exercising or dancing.
In general women who need Sepia are so exhausted and irritable that they can be indifferent or lash out easily towards their loved ones, especially husband and children. They are not interested in sex, and prefer to be alone.
There are of course, many other remedies for menstrual problems, but these 3 should work for many women for acute menstrual problems. If you do have chronic issues with your cycle or any other hormonal problem, then please do see a professional homeopath or health practitioner. Feel free to get in touch with me to see if homeopathy can help. I offer a free 30-minute call where we can chat about how homeopathy can help you and see if we can work together.
So we’ve all pretty much heard about the menopause, right? That time in a woman’s life when we stop menstruating, and we get lots of horrible symptoms because of it – hot flashes, extreme mood swings, weight gain…
Would it surprise you to know that most of the symptoms we relate to the menopause actually happen before you get the menopause, during the time called Perimenoapuse?
I didn’t know about this until recently either!
So let’s get some facts straight.
The menopause is the time when our ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and our periods end. Basically, you are officially in menopause a year after your periods stop completely. That means zero periods, no spotting, nothing.
Now usually this is not a sudden thing, from one day to the next. For most women, there is a slower, longer process, and this all starts with the perimenopause.
The term perimenopause means “around” or “near” the menopause. This transition period can last between 8 to 10 years before we stop menstruating. Most women start this process around their mid 40s, but it can affect some women as early as in their mid to late 30s! During this time your periods become a bit erratic, some are lighter or heavier, you skip some, then sometimes you get 2 in a month!
If you look at the list of symptoms of the perimenopause, you may be surprise to see some that you only thought you’d get when you hit the menopause!
Symptoms can include:
Headaches and migraines
Bloating and other digestive issues
Mood swings, especially irritability and anxiety.
Anxiety or depression
Insomnia or other sleep disturbances
Fatigue and lack of energy
Urinary tract infections
I have a suspicion that many women in their mid-30s to mid-40s have no idea that some of their uncomfortable symptoms could actually be due to the perimenopause and then spend years suffering or taking medications or treatments that don’t really do anything or may actually make things worse.
Is it too little oestrogen? or it is the progesterone?
Although it is commonly believed that this is the time when oestrogen levels fall, they are actually quite stable or even increase. Oestrogen doesn’t start to decrease until about a year after your periods stop (or the menopause, as we’ve just learned!).
It is actually the progesterone levels that do start decrease at this time, which then causes an imbalance with oestrogen, leading to oestrogen dominance.
It is this excess oestrogen in our bodies that is the major factor for many of the symptoms above, and when you add factors like stress or high insulin levels, then more oestrogen is produced, creating even worse symptoms.
I’ve just been reading Dr. Christiane Northrup’s Wisdom of the Menopause (amazing book, I recommend you to read it if you can!), and from her holistic perspective, it is not just our hormones that are solely responsible for causing all these symptoms – there is much evidence that unresolved long-term emotional stress is what worsens hormonal imbalance and thus worsens these symptoms.
I really resonate with this as that is what I see in homeopathy all the time, and not just with hormonal issues. Physical symptoms and ailments will usually have an unresolved emotional issue behind them.
What can we do about these symptoms?
First of all, remember, perimenopause is a normal part of our reproductive lives. Your body is winding down its production of eggs, so it is normal that hormone levels will fluctuate, and you may get some uncomfortable symptoms sometimes.
If perimenopausal symptoms are very uncomfortable and are starting to affect your everyday life in a negative way, then start doing some of these things:
Try to eat a nutrient-dense diet, with more healthy fats (avoid all trans-fats/hydrogenated fats!) and protein and less refined and starchy carbohydrate content. Aim to choose carbohydrates that are higher in fibre, so that blood sugar levels don’t spike and fall rapidly, leading to blood sugar imbalance. Having higher insulin levels in your system will exacerbate symptoms of excess oestrogen. Also make sure you are getting enough omega fats and magnesium in your diet.
Flaxseeds are an amazing food during perimenopause – they are a great source of omega-3 fats and high in fibre, and contain lignans, which are great for regulating our hormones!
Reduce caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars (I know this is hard!!!).
Drink 1.5 to 2 litres a day of clean, filtered water. This will help getting rid of excess toxins (including excess oestrogen!), and will help with digestion, headaches, hot flushes, and dry skin symptoms.
Exercise regularly doing something that you really enjoy and look forward to – whether it is yoga, running, walking, zumba, weights, cross-fit, or my favourite – pole dancing and aerial arts!. High intensity and weight-bearing exercise is particularly beneficial. Just choose something you love doing so you keep doing it! In addition to its benefits in weight loss or maintenance, keeping fit in a fun way will help your sleep, lift your mood, even alleviate hot flushes!.
If these things are not enough, then homeopathy and essences can really help. There are many remedies that will alleviate symptoms, and of course, it will help you address any unresolved emotional issue that may be exacerbating these symptoms. I may talk about these remedies in another blog, so keep checking in or sign up to my newsletter!
If your hormonal symptoms are affecting your everyday life more than you’d like, then feel free to get in touch to see if homeopathy can help. I offer a free 30-minute call where we can chat about how homeopathy can help you and see if we can work together.
I’m a registered Homeopath living in the small, beautiful rural county of Herefordshire in the UK. My passion is to help women balance their hormones in a natural, safe and effective way, so they can feel like themselves again.