Chaos to Calm

Ten Common Symptoms of Perimenopause That Don’t Need To Be Your New Normal

May 07, 2023 Episode 8
Ten Common Symptoms of Perimenopause That Don’t Need To Be Your New Normal
Chaos to Calm
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Chaos to Calm
Ten Common Symptoms of Perimenopause That Don’t Need To Be Your New Normal
May 07, 2023 Episode 8

In this episode, we are exploring signs and symptoms of perimenopause that you may be told are ‘normal’ - but Sarah is here to tell you that they don’t have to be! Join us as we dive into these ten common symptoms that you shouldn’t have to put up with.

Tune in to find out about:

  • Managing brain fog
  • How keeping a symptom diary can help
  • Dealing with insomnia
  • Caffeine affecting your energy
  • Heavy and painful periods
  • Steady weight gain
  • Noticing changes in your gut health
  • Managing new food sensitivities
  • Hormonal skin changes
  • Inflammation from joint issues
  • Address mood swings
  • Finding the underlying causes

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about Sarah, her services and the Freebies mentioned in this episode at https://www.ThePerimenopauseNaturopath.com.au

  • COMING SOON: Discover how to use food as your most powerful medicine, smoothing hormonal fluctuations and easing perimenopause symptoms naturally. (Yes, you have more options than hormone therapy!) Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling more like your old self every day, with PerimenoPOWER (because who wants to pause anyway?!)
  • The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.
  • For more, follow on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we are exploring signs and symptoms of perimenopause that you may be told are ‘normal’ - but Sarah is here to tell you that they don’t have to be! Join us as we dive into these ten common symptoms that you shouldn’t have to put up with.

Tune in to find out about:

  • Managing brain fog
  • How keeping a symptom diary can help
  • Dealing with insomnia
  • Caffeine affecting your energy
  • Heavy and painful periods
  • Steady weight gain
  • Noticing changes in your gut health
  • Managing new food sensitivities
  • Hormonal skin changes
  • Inflammation from joint issues
  • Address mood swings
  • Finding the underlying causes

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about Sarah, her services and the Freebies mentioned in this episode at https://www.ThePerimenopauseNaturopath.com.au

  • COMING SOON: Discover how to use food as your most powerful medicine, smoothing hormonal fluctuations and easing perimenopause symptoms naturally. (Yes, you have more options than hormone therapy!) Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling more like your old self every day, with PerimenoPOWER (because who wants to pause anyway?!)
  • The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.
  • For more, follow on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.

00:03

Hey there. I'm Sarah McLachlan. Thanks for joining me on the chaos to calm podcast, a podcast designed for women over 40 who think that changing hormones might be messing with their mood, metabolism and energy and want to change that in a healthy, sustainable and permanent way. Each episode we'll explore topics related to health and wellness for women in their 40s like what the heck is happening to your hormones, what to do about it with nutrition, lifestyle and stress management, and inspiring conversations with guests sharing their insights and tips on how to live your best life in your 40s and beyond. So if you're feeling like you're in the midst of a hormonal storm, and don't want perimenopause to be horrific, then join me on chaos to calm as I share with you how to make it to menopause without it wrecking your relationships and life.

00:58

Hello, and welcome to the chaos to calm podcast where we discuss all about how to master the chaos of changing hormones, mood, metabolism and energy after 40. I'm Sarah, The Perimenopause Naturopath, your host and I'm super excited to welcome you to episode number eight. We're going to be talking 10 perimenopause symptoms that are common, but do not need to be your new normal! 

01:25

So it can be a really common environment reassures you that it's really normal for some of these things to start happening to you. As you go through perimenopause into menopause. Or even just as we get older, I am constantly amazed and a little saddened by what people will put up with in the name of I'm getting older, also surprised, stung, astounded and, sad at the age that people will start writing themselves off as old. Now I'm 48. I'm turning 49 this year, and I am not old, and neither are you, my friend. And I feel a bit worried when I hear fellow sporting colleagues that are in their 30s tell me that they're old or they're too old to keep playing. 

02:20

And so I think when we when we except I'm going a bit sideways here, this is not apparently menopause symptom. But it's a really common thing. And it speaks to the topic today, for sure. Because we tend to accept and put out with a lot of stuff that we do not need to. And it's because we think I'm old, or I'm getting older, or I'm doing better than Claire over there. Sometimes who we compare ourselves to isn't great. I was just talking about that with a client today. She was talking about how she used to eat well. Now she's done my program. She's like, Oh my gosh, I wasn't even eating that well before. But compared to others around her, she felt like she was doing really well and eating really healthy, healthy and wholesome foods. So it's all depends on what and who we're comparing ourselves to, isn't it? And that's why, you know, as you get into your 40s and beyond, you might start to notice some changes in your body and some signs and symptoms coming up and you think, Oh, well, it's normal, I guess. And people will reassure you or tell you that that's normal as well. But I am here to tell you today and every day that these experiences while they yes may be common, it doesn't have to mean that they're normal from it. You don't have to just accept these. You don't have to put up with these things. 

03:40

So let's talk about 10 common symptoms of perimenopause today, that people put up with and we'll talk a little bit as well about what you need to think about to address them or alleviate them as well. So a reminder, perimenopause, it's the two to 12 years leading up to menopause, when our hormones start to fluctuate and change, menopause is declared when we have not had a menstrual cycle for 12 months or more. 

04:10

Now, because of those hormone fluctuations is puberty in reverse. There can be a lot of change in the body and in your brain too. What I want to say to you now is that if you're not sure you've got some changes and things you've noticed in your body. Are they pre menopausal or not? I have a new freebie, The Perimenopause Decoder, to help you see if the symptoms that you're feeling maybe they might be attributable to perimenopause to help you work out you know do you have some of the lesser known symptoms, frozen shoulders talking to someone today about that that can be it's a really common perimenopause symptom. She had no idea. So go to www.chaostocalmpodcast.com and you can find the link for the freebie there. It'll be in the show notes. It's in the show notes for this episode and the others as well. 

05:03

So, a reminder because I don't say it enough, perimenopause does not have to be horrific. You don't just have to grin and bear it. And that's why we're here talking today about these 10 really common symptoms that people put up with that you absolutely do not have to put up with as part of your perimenopause journey. We are going to cover off brain fog, headaches and migraines, insomnia, low energy slash exhaustion, heavy or painful periods, weight gain, food sensitivities and intolerances, breakouts, joint pain and stiffness and mood swings. And I bet you either have many of those yourself or you know someone with those two. 

05:43

Now, perimenopause may not be the only reason for some of those things that are that I've mentioned and we'll talk about today. And it's so it is important to investigate the cause of it, and not just dismiss it as well. It's probably for just perimenopause, because sometimes there can be something underlying it or something sinister. And you do want to get that checked out because you don't want it to progress. 

06:02

So let's talk about brain fog. So brain fog, you know, it could be, you could feel like your your brain is in a deep pea soup, fog, and everything's harder to reach. It could be maybe you're just forgetting some words, some names, what we, you know, what was I saying? What was I talking about? Forget a child's name, pet's name, friend's name, all those kinds of things. That is, oh, yeah, just feeling how to access things. Maybe it feels a bit slower in your brain as well. You do want to get that under control. Because if you like many of the women I speak to and work with, you're used to being on top of everything, juggling all the mental balls, it can be really frustrating and overwhelming when you have brain fog. So we do want to rule out more concerning causes of brain fog. You know, you don't want it to be early signs of dementia or something like that. We want to know it maybe it's your hormones impacting your insulin sensitivity and glucose or energy that your brain cells are able to take in. So that's a big cause of insulin resistance and also poor blood sugar level management there so your hormones and estrogen changes exacerbate your insulin sensitivity, which I've talked about before, no doubt we'll talk about again. But that's important in getting your brain fog under control or helping to alleviate that. 

07:29

Headaches and migraines is super common. And migraines, you know, if you've ever had a migraine, you know how much of a killer they are. There's lots of different reasons or things that could be underlying it. And really what's important with headaches and migraines hear well, first of all, daily or even weekly, even cyclical headaches and migraines, not normal. Don't you know, don't put up with it. If headaches are waking you at night or waking up from sleep. That's a big flag and you do need to get that investigated, please. But it can it migraines and headaches. It definitely can increase in perimenopause. And that relates to your immune system and hormones and food and gut health and robustness as well. Sleep can be a trigger as well. So what I suggest that you do is keep a food and symptom diary here to try and work out any pattern and also work with someone who can help you get to the underlying cause or the root driver of it. If you go and have a smooch around on my blog, you'll see that I have a written a blog all about migraines in menopause and perimenopause that will give you my tips on how to work out what is causing it and some common triggers of headaches and migraines and never ever normal. Don't ever put up with those please, there's really just don't need to as a migraine sufferer in the past and can tell you, you actually don't need to just resign yourself to accepting them as part of your life. 

09:02

Now, insomnia, this can be maybe one of the earlier things that interrupts people but it's certainly their hardest hitting. And it's like, you know, when you have a baby have a young baby and you get the sleep deprivation and man, the struggle is real. But you at least have some oxytocin and you have some hormones around in your body there to help. Let's lessen the hit to you with that. You do not have them in perimenopause, you just end up a cranky snarky version of yourself. So you know you might be struggling to fall asleep you might be struggling to stay asleep or maybe or sleep deeply enough or even just waking too early. Again, there can be lots of underlying reasons for that. It generally it's hormones and can also be blood sugar levels in there as well. So lots of tips on my website on my blog for insomnia. But again, you don't have to without without you actually can sleep well in perimenopause and as you age.

10:06

So low energy and exhaustion. Well, yeah, that goes alongside insomnia, doesn't it? But, you know, we're thinking about how much do you rely on caffeine these days to give you energy to get you're doing the things that you need to do? So, have a think about your caffeine intake as well has it increased, because if it has, if you've been relying on caffeine for a while now, then you've probably got some low energy levels hiding behind that, that you need to think about. So we're not talking about fatigue, like, you know, you've had a busy day, you've been, you know, doing a hike or doing lots of gardening or, you know, been physically really busy, then that sort of level of tiredness and fatigue is normal and natural, talking about the kind of fatigue that you know, maybe makes you reach for coffee all the time, and throughout the day, or to pep you up, or that mid afternoon slump that you might be getting there. You know, and so many people are just tired all the time. And surely, it has to have something to do with our modern lifestyle, perhaps the quality of the food and the less sleep that we all seem to get because we're out late scrolling, Netflix, or socials or all that sort of stuff as well. So again, this is where comparing yourself to someone else or how Everyone's tired, it's not necessarily a great indicator of how your going.

11:33

So hormones, not just your female hormones, but your thyroid, nutrient deficiencies and sleep as well. There are common underlying causes that we can address to help get your energy boosted again. It's such a liberating feeling when you get yourself to a state of health, that you don't need coffee. And you actually just go back to drinking coffee because maybe you like the taste of it like I do. I remember when I realized I didn't need caffeine anymore, to keep my energy up and keep me moving through the day and doing the things I need to do. Amazing! It was life changing. And I still feel that way now. And you know, I'm pretty busy. For kids, we homeschool. I run my own business, podcast, all the different things, play sport, my kids play sport, husband play sport, he has his own business. Yeah, we have a lot on so I understand being busy. And I definitely don't need caffeine for that energy anymore. I do like coffee, you asked my kids, I'll tell you. But I don't need it. 

 

12:41

Alright, so let's go on to number five heavy and painful periods. So you know, I often think it's kind of unfair, isn't it, you get to the end of your reproductive stage of life, and you start to say goodbye to your period. And actually it gets heavier and more frequent before it disappears. Come on, give us a break. So that is really common. And often you'll get offered hormones hormone therapy as an to a cure. And sure they do work. But also it can work. It doesn't always I should say. But it doesn't address the underlying issue there as well. So definitely doesn't have to be your normal can do something about it and have to stay home on day one if your period because you're so worried that you're gonna leak through like to maternity pads, and you can't move without flooding. That's not normal. It's not good for your body either and use iron stores and things like that. 

 

13:41

All right, weight gain. Everyone always wants to do some massive motivator when you know, and it can be sneaky. They can start off really slowly, just little bit at a time adding up over the years and you know, kind of shrug it off. But then, you know, maybe your pants don't start feeding and just go well if you have them. You think "woof, how did it get to that number?" Maybe you have to you have to make that decision. Do you go up another size in clothes and buy another new wardrobe or is it time to do something about that there? It's one of the most common symptoms. I see perimenopause. It's one of the most motivating for people to make change and think about their health. You don't actually have to resign yourself to gain weight in perimenopause. And yeah, I did that myself, with my clients each and every day. We just smash through that weight gain no worries. We get your biochemistry back in balance and get that weight off. As well as you know, lots of these other symptoms and things. 

 

14:47

So the next one I'm going to talk about number seven is food sensitivities and intolerances. I'd actually say this is right up there with weight gain and changes to your menstrual cycle. And bloating is another common one as well which I'm not going to talk about today, but definitely changes in your gut health, your gastrointestinal system and your immune system, equal more food sensitivities and intolerances as you hit perimenopause into menopause. You know, maybe it might just be bread or maybe dairy, or maybe you find you can't tolerate your favorite wine anymore, or other alcohol. And these are yes, super common there as well. But it's all related to your intestinal health and digestive health and function and your immune system there. And estrogen plays into it and impacts it and that's why it becomes more of an issue. You might get new allergies or Morphett food sensitivities and intolerances in perimenopause, and it's because of the interplay between estrogen and one of your immune cells histamine there as well. So definitely something we can do about it. 

 

14:53

One of the most common intolerances that I see is not being able to digest or feeling like you can't tolerate meat anymore, and so many people's start to take meat out. But when you do that, and actually plays into it, and exacerbates the problem becomes a bit more of a vicious cycle. So but yeah, it can make you feel really bloated, and gassy, or like it's sort of sitting in your chest and not going down. So you might notice that you do get more food sensitivities and intolerances. Please don't just start cutting foods out and avoiding things because yes, that will alleviate your symptoms. It's true, if you're not eating it, you're not going to respond to it. But it's not going to resolve the underlying situation. And maybe by the seventh one we've talked about here. Now today, you might be noticing a theme that I keep saying we need to address the underlying driver or cause of what's going on for you. And it's true, that's the naturopathic philosophy in how we approach health and well being is not just to plaster over the symptoms and suppress them or or get them to stop, but actually address what's underlying the root cause. Because that's when you really get that long term health and well being and you don't have to rely on supplements, tablets, medications, and things like that, taking them ongoing, because you've resolved the the underlying condition, you've listened to your body. And you know, I always think of symptoms as a flag or a little message from our body. And I try to teach my clients how to interpret these. What's it telling us cravings is a great one tells us so much information, the different types of cravings that you might have. 

 

17:52

So yeah, we need to address that underlying root cause for that true long term, health and well being. And if we suppress symptoms, you know, it's going to come out in another part of your body, because it's still out of balance. Your biochemistry, your body, your organs, your function, there's something still out of balance. And while we might be not having one symptom, it'll show up somewhere else in your body. Classic one nice segue, Sara high five to me, is breakouts or acne. 

 

18:24

So this symptom number eight that you don't have to think don't have to put up with. So it's also feels a little unfair. I mean, like, you've probably dealt with this in puberty in your teens, and it was sometimes hard if you have breakouts and pimples. But yeah, it can come again because of hormonal changes, like your testosterone and the relative high end of that, compared to estrogen and progesterone there. And maybe your thyroid, prolactin insulin resistance is a massive cause of acne and breakouts in perimenopause in teens as well. You know, and stress, not enough sleep, not imbalanced diet, all of those can play into it as well and there's lots of ways to overcome it. There's a whole podcast in itself and I will do one at some point. But yeah, you do not need to do this. But what the connection I was making there with the underlying the root cause is that often we see things come out on our skin rashes, you know, itchiness breakouts, when something inside one of our elimination channels in particular, whether it's our bowels or bladder, like a kidneys or liver. If they're not working well, then that's when what often see skin stuff coming up because it's not able to come at our body's not able to eliminate and detoxify through one so it chooses another. And this one is the last one that it tries to choose. And it's, you know, it's the one we don't want it to do because it makes for a grand statement for sure. 

 

20:12

Okay, so number nine, symptom number nine, joint pain and stiffness. Now I mentioned earlier like I was talking to someone today, and they had no idea that their frozen shoulder that had been developing is a really common but lesser known symptom of perimenopause there. And this is one that I see people write off as just because they're getting old and like, hello, you might be just in your 40s. And we're still good having another 40 years or more of our life to live. How much of this pain and discomfort are you going to put up with for how long and if it feels like this now, how's it gonna go when you get older? Yeah, it's really not normal, but definitely usually a hallmark of inflammation underlying inflammation and chronic, that chronic low grade inflammation. Which is, by the way, a top risk factor for serious disease, like, for those long term chronic conditions like type two diabetes, and heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, all of that sort of stuff. You really want to take inflammation seriously, if you have sore and stiff joints and muscles, and maybe you haven't done a 10k hike, or you haven't been doing us a tough Pilates class, then you want to see an expert in manual therapies, physio, oseto, myo or chiro, whoever you desire to get it assessed. And also think about your lifestyle factors like your diet movements, sleep stress, and what might be contributing to that inflammation and that pain and that stiffness in your joints, or joints. 

 

21:45

Now, number 10, the grand finale, mood swings. Yeah. Welcome, you know, savage beast woman, you transform into that uncontrolled, like, it's like, who is even inside you? Who is this person inside of you that says all these things, it's like your filter disappears? One minute, you're fine. And then the next minute, your family is just like a whole bunch of annoying, silly people. And you can't cope can't deal really common and you don't have to put up with it. Don't grit your teeth and just try and get through that. Because, you know, it can be really harmful to your relationships with your family and your friends or your work even. Who knows what you're going to say next? And it's all relates to your progesterone levels because progesterone is our soothing and calming hormone and it starts to decline in perimenopause into menopause as well. So there's still stuff that we can do because we can build our body's resilience and stress resilience particularly, but also help comet calm our nervous system in other ways so that you don't turn into Sheoak. At work, boss, study your clothes and turn green with your head spinning or something like that. I don't know, Goodness me. 

 

23:08

So we have covered off the 10 symptoms that are super common, but really don't have to be your normal in perimenopause. So we've talked about brain fog, headaches and migraines, insomnia, low energy and exhaustion, heavy or painful periods, weight gain, food sensitivities and intolerances, breakouts or acne, joint pain and stiffness and mood swings. 

 

23:32

If you are experiencing any of these, please just don't accept them. head to my blog, have a look at the tips and things that are there. Choose a health professional to someone a naturopath and nutritionist any you know whoever is your preference, and talk to them about what's going on for you and what they can do to help you overcome these symptoms.

 

23:54

Because perimenopause does not have to be horrific! And I'll remind you that you can find the link to my free the perimenopause decoder that is in the show notes at www.chaostocalmpodcast.com.

 

24:12

Thank you so much for sharing your time with me today and tuning in to listen to the Chaos To Calm podcast. I invite you to subscribe and please leave a review it was really helpful in this podcast being shown to other women who need to know that perimenopause does not have to be horrific. And of course you can share it with your friends and anyone that you think could do with the information. So once again, thank you so much for joining me and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

 

24:49

It's really common for women over 40 to experience the chaos of changing hormones mood, metabolism and energy. But I hope you know now that common doesn't have to equal normal for you or them. You can help others understand that aren't alone in feeling this way, and that perimenopause doesn't have to be horrific by subscribing, leaving a review and sharing this podcast with other women in their 40s and beyond. Thanks so much for listening and sharing your time with me today in this chaos to calm conversation.