Hello there, beautiful mums in your 40s and 50s!
Are you going through some intriguing hormonal changes that might make you feel a tad bewildered? Or perhaps you’ve noticed that handling stress isn’t as easy as it used to be? Let’s talk about these hormonal shifts that come knocking around our perimenopausal and menopausal years.
You know, I meet so many incredible clients who walk through my door with a whole array of symptoms. Often, the subtle transformations during our 40s and 50s catch them off guard, leaving them feeling, well, not quite themselves. It’s like they’ve lost a bit of their ‘cool and composed’ superpowers, and they’re yearning to reclaim that familiar sense of self.
Sound like something you’re going through?
If so, let’s explore what’s happening in this stage of life that might be causing a bit more stress, some overwhelm, or less patience for life’s surprises.
You see, during this phase, our estrogen levels start to play a bit of a rollercoaster game. Estrogen, one of our trusty reproductive hormones, begins its dance of fluctuation and gradual decline.
As estrogen starts its gradual decline, it can manifest in various ways. Some symptoms associated with decreasing estrogen levels include joint pain, sleep disturbances, heightened stress, reduced coping abilities, and potentially even feelings of depression.
Estrogen and serotonin are closely connected. Serotonin is often referred to as our ‘happy hormone,’ and when estrogen levels decrease, so too can our serotonin levels. This can lead to increased stress, reduced stress tolerance, and a decreased ability to handle everyday situations.
You might also notice mood swings and heightened anxiety cropping up, all thanks to the declining estrogen that’s affecting your serotonin levels. During this stage, progesterone levels also decrease. This reduction in progesterone can result in a loss of that serene feeling.
Do you recall those days when you were pregnant?
I remember my first pregnancy. Despite the significant challenges I was facing with my mum’s deteriorating health, I found an unusual sense of calm and resilience during that time. I felt like I could manage everything with grace, much more calmly than I typically would have.
Pregnancy had this amazing effect on me, thanks to the increased progesterone levels that seemed to endorse a profound sense of serenity. Progesterone has a remarkable calming influence on the body.
Now, as progesterone levels decline, you might notice some changes. Feelings of anxiety may creep in, your tolerance for stress might diminish, and you might find yourself becoming more reactive. Perhaps you’ve experienced disrupted sleep, those nights when you can’t seem to rest peacefully and wake up feeling fatigued and irritable. The decreasing progesterone levels often cause these symptoms.
As both estrogen and progesterone decrease, they also impact our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and a decline in estrogen and progesterone can cause an increase in cortisol levels. This means we become more responsive to stress, and our stress responses become heightened. It’s like our reactions are dialled up a notch, and everyday stressors feel a lot more overwhelming.
Can you relate to any of these experiences?
In today’s world, women’s cortisol levels are often high due to the myriad of roles we juggle daily – managing home life, work life, kids, social engagements, family obligations, and so much more. Adding the declining estrogen and progesterone levels into the mix further elevates our cortisol levels, making us even more reactive and less capable of handling everyday challenges.
This hormonal imbalance can lead to self-doubt. You might find yourself questioning your abilities – wondering why tasks you once handled with ease now seem daunting. You might think, “Am I losing it? Am I no longer good at my job, parenting, or managing my life?” Well, darling, it might just be your hormones.
As these hormonal changes unfold and our sleep patterns are disrupted, we can end up feeling sleep-deprived, fatigued, irritable, and prone to making more mistakes. It’s like a never-ending cycle that keeps amplifying. If any of these symptoms or scenarios sound familiar to you, it could be a good time to consider your hormone balance.
Pause and consider your hormonal changes……
You can take action to restore balance.
The perimenopausal and menopausal stages don’t have to be chaotic. They can be calm, with fewer mood swings and better sleep. Let’s discover how to make this journey easier.
Now, let’s explore how you can sail smoothly through this phase.
Ensure you maintain a balanced diet
There are numerous foods and nutrients that can be incredibly supportive of your hormones. It’s crucial to incorporate these foods to assist your body in producing the right amount of hormones required during this stage. A plant-based diet centred around plant foods is an excellent starting point.
Prioritise self-care and dedicate time just for you
Engage in hobbies, whether it’s practising yoga, meditation, taking a leisurely walk, getting lost in a good book, or simply dancing around your home. These activities should fill your soul and help switch off the cortisol response.
Regular physical activity
Think of it as an indulgence rather than a chore. Find an activity or exercise that you genuinely enjoy. It will not only reduce stress levels but also support your bone health and release those feel-good endorphins that will help you navigate this phase with greater ease.
Seek out professional help to support for hormonal balance
Naturopathic medicine shines here. Helping balance hormones and installing stress reduction techniques is part of the naturopathic principles. There are many fantastic tools like essential nutrients, specific foods, and many medicinal herbs that can assist you in finding your balance in this fluctuating stage of life.
Ready to kick start Gut Health? Book a Call!
This is how gut microbes can influence weight!
Probiotics can help you gain weight or lose weight by interacting with our genetics, food and metabolism.
And yes, I did say lose or gain weight……..
Firstly, let me explain that the trillions of microbes in the gut need to be varied, meaning that there should be a large variety of species. There are many different species (or breeds) of microbes, and they all have their place in aiding health — the more variety and balance, the better health results.
Back to the weight loss or weight gain issue….
Do you eat yogurt and berries for breakfast? Thinking that it’s helping you lose weight?
Well, Lactobacillus acidophilus (like the species found in yoghurt) has been connected to weight gain.
I am not saying throw your yoghurt and berries in the bin. Instead, I am suggesting looking at the overall picture. If Lactobacillus acidophilus is the predominant micro-organism of the gut, then weight gain can result.
It is about the variety of species of gut microbes. Imagine if we only have trained german shepherd guard dogs in the world. It may be a safe world, but I am sure that other breeds may be more suitable as a family pet.
While Lactobacillus acidophilus is associated with weight gain, other Lactobacillus species correlate with weight loss.
Species like Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus gasseri, and Bifidobacteria animalis have been found to support weight loss.
Want to lose weight?
Look at your gut flora to support your goal.
Tests can be performed to identify the predominant species of the gut, and specific species can be utilised to support weight changes.
Want more information about your gut health?
Or want to look at all the factors contributing to weight gain, I’d love to be able to help.