Chaos to Calm

Reclaiming Your Flow: Conquering Heavy Bleeding in Perimenopause

May 21, 2023 Episode 10
Reclaiming Your Flow: Conquering Heavy Bleeding in Perimenopause
Chaos to Calm
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Chaos to Calm
Reclaiming Your Flow: Conquering Heavy Bleeding in Perimenopause
May 21, 2023 Episode 10

Join us this week as we explore the causes and challenges of heavy periods. Sarah discusses common triggers and tips to reclaim your flow during perimenopause.

Tune in to find out about:

  • What a ‘heavy bleed’ is defined as
  • How to monitor your amount of blood loss
  • Common triggers of heavy bleeding
  • What you can do to reduce excess oestrogen
  • Managing your stressors
  • Links to thyroid dysfunction and oestrogen
  • The cycle of blood loss and decreasing iron stores
  • Uterine-related issues causing heavy bleeding

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

Join us this week as we explore the causes and challenges of heavy periods. Sarah discusses common triggers and tips to reclaim your flow during perimenopause.

Tune in to find out about:

  • What a ‘heavy bleed’ is defined as
  • How to monitor your amount of blood loss
  • Common triggers of heavy bleeding
  • What you can do to reduce excess oestrogen
  • Managing your stressors
  • Links to thyroid dysfunction and oestrogen
  • The cycle of blood loss and decreasing iron stores
  • Uterine-related issues causing heavy bleeding

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.

Sarah McLachlan  00:03

Hey there. I'm Sarah McLaclan 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. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  00:21

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. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  00:59

Hello, and welcome to the chaos to calm podcast where we talk all about the chaos that it can feel like in your 40s with your changing hormones, mood, metabolism and energy. I am Sarah at the perimenopause naturopath and I am here to help you understand that that chaos doesn't have to be your new normal. And there's a lot we can do to make perimenopause not horrific. This is episode number 10. And we are going to be talking all about heavy bleeding and how it comes up in perimenopause. So it's really one of those earliest signs that women notice that your periods might be getting heavier, especially as you move in your 40s you're still getting a regular cycle, but suddenly, it's like you're bleeding. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  01:51

For Australia. It's really common. But again, it doesn't have to be normal or inevitable. You hear me say that a lot. I know. But it's true. And I really want you to learn that there as well. Again, like most things that I talk about, it's about understanding what is causing what's contributing to your heavy bleeding. And helping you take steps to reduce or, or even reverse the problem there as well. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  02:19

Understanding the biochemistry, the physiology of what's happening, but also understanding how to support your body in this time, as it's adjusting to those normal fluctuations. I've said this before as well. And it's not necessarily about balancing our hormones in perimenopause because the nature of the fluctuations that happen to end the way that say estrogen and progesterone decline is not something that we can easily balance but we can certainly help and support your body in metabolizing. And eliminating or detoxifying those hormones so that we're not contributing to excessive highs are really high highs and really low lows. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  03:09

So we'll talk a bit about that today as well. But it's important to know that still in perimenopause, even though we know often the fluctuations are contributing to those problems. There'll be other underlying reasons. And remember, I've talked to so if you want a primer, a refresher on your main menstrual hormones, estrogen and progesterone. I've done earlier podcast episodes on those, you could go back and listen to them. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  03:35

And let's first up take a look at understanding in what is normal. What is heavy, because how do you know? Great question I'm glad you asked. So the definition of a normal menstrual age is less than 80 mils over the course of your period, which isn't a lot, it often feels like more than that, doesn't it? Even with your you know, your regular cycle without having a heavy blade. It's interesting that it's actually not a lot. So a heavy blade is then defined as more than 80 mills and or a blade lasting longer than seven days, you might only lose at Mill but it might go for longer than seven days. So that's considered a heavy blade. Or you might lose more than 80 mills and it could be less than seven days. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  04:32

So sometimes as well, you might also get flooding and when you've got heavy bleeding and this is you know like where you move and you get a big gush of loss. And that can feel I know for a lot of women when this is happening I know this used to happen for me and I would be really worried about moving when I was at work or even being able to leave I have many clients and myself as well when this was happening. early on for me before I got myself sorted was, it was really difficult to leave the house on day one. And if you're getting heavy bleeding and your cycle starting to become a bit more irregular, it can be really difficult or unexpected when it arrives. And so yeah, it can be quite stressful and anxiety producing, for sure. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  05:22

So how do you know how much you're losing? Well, there is. A menstrual cups are great for this, because often they'll have markers, or they'll tell you how much how much they capture. So like when you first bought it in the instructions, it might tell you there or it may have like lines in it markers in there. If you use pads or tampons, you can still get an idea. And super tampons and pads hold about 10 mil. And regular tampons and pads hold about five minutes. So think about how many you go through over the course of your day and your period. Again, Tracker is your friend or making notes in your calendar, it's really useful for you to get that data so that you can be clear on what is happening or what isn't happening for you that and this a lot of you know a lot of irregularity and uncertainty in perimenopause. So even if you haven't used a tracker, Tracker app, or paper or in your calendar, on your phone, or notes on your phone, whatever works best for you. Even if you haven't used that before, now is a good time to start using it because you're gonna get data, you can see when things are changing, and relate that to different phases of your cycle or see if your cycle is becoming more irregular or what's happening for you. So put your symptoms like heavy bleeding in there. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  06:50

So let's talk about why this might happen. Things to think about things to get investigated. These are the six most common triggers that I see in my clients. So estrogen, estrogen imbalance. Now, I know I just said before, it's natural for estrogen to be imbalanced in perimenopause. Yes, it's true. But what I see is that if there was an imbalance in estrogen levels and excess, before or leading into perimenopause, then you're more likely to have heavy bleeding and or, you know, really extreme heavy bleeding and flooding. This is because estrogen stimulates the lining of your uterus, the thickness of your uterus. So if you have higher estrogen levels, then it's gonna become thicker. There's more blood there for you to lose during a period. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  07:50

So remember, in perimenopause, we have that roller coaster of estrogen and sometimes it's low, and sometimes it's higher overall, it's trending down, but it can spike high. If you already have higher estrogen leading into perimeno, well, it's going to spike higher than high, you know, it's super high. Don't forget as well that another contributor to the estrogen problem is fat stores around your tummy. So fat cells are their own endocrine organs. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  08:21

So yeah, not just a comfy pillow, not just keeping you warm, they are actually producing estrogen and the more inflammatory or less beneficial estrogen there as well. So it's there to make mischief. It's so important to maintain a healthy body composition as well. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  08:44

So number two, low progesterone, now dirt that's happening in perimenopause and talked about how it happens all the time. How are we going to overcome this? Well, it's not necessarily about overcoming it, because we can't it's natural for it to decline in our 40s and perimenopause and early on in the proceedings. So what do we need to do? Well, we need to think about the other things that impact on our progesterone levels like that. Stress, I know, wouldn't be an episode if I didn't mention it, but it's seriously it's the biggest blocker to health, happiness, weight loss in your 40s. It's the busiest phase of life. Progesterone, your natural stress resilience hormone is declining. You are going to feel more overwhelmed, less able to cope with the stressors in your life. Because your body wants you to slow down it wants you to take a rest. So you need to deal with your busyness which is a stressor in your bodies in perimenopause so that excess estrogen as well can contribute to lower progesterone levels zero creates a bigger relative gap between the two there as well. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  10:00

So we want to focus with the estrogen on detoxification and elimination. And talk about that a lot in the estrogen episode. But the cliffnotes here for you is you want to be using your bowels every day at least once. You want to support your liver and reduce your liver loaders. So alcohol, caffeine sugar. They're the big hitters and making sure you're eating, nourishing diet that has lots of the vitamins and minerals that your liver needs for detoxification and elimination of estrogen, brassicas broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, is that family really beneficial and useful here. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  10:46

Okay, so cause number three is stress because it does impact all of those things that we just talked about estrogen progesterone, and, you know, you had to know what's coming. It is the biggest factor most women are swamped with stress. There's so many chronic, low grade stressors in our daily life, they add up to big stress and you constantly being in fight or flight mode influences the other glands and hormone producing glands in your body. Things like the hypothalamus, your pituitary, your train, or your thyroid glands, which all influence your reproductive or female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. So, your adrenal glands which control your stress response, your thyroid, your ovaries are all controlled from the same center in your brain, the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. So upregulation of or extract activity in one of those areas, is going to when it happens for a longer period of time, influence those other organs and glands. So, if your adrenal glands are busy, up regulated, it's going to impact your thyroid and your ovaries, and it can increase your estrogen production there and also slow your thyroid. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  12:14

Now, there is a link between hypothyroidism, that's a slower thyroid, and heavy bleeding. And your iron levels as well can influence that. So it's, I think it's like, our body's primal instinct to try and preserve it. When our stress levels are really high, it slows the thyroid down, wants you to go lie in your cave. Nice and quiet. Take a rest. Don't let any more stress levels come at you. It's It's a survival mechanism. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  12:49

So yeah, this is why, you know, the busier you are sometimes you're like, oh my gosh, I can't think I can't, I don't even know what to do in this situation. Because you're in that fight or flight mode, maybe your thyroid is that subclinical thyroid picture, where it's that survival mechanism, it's trying to slow you down and get you to go live in the cave so that nothing else goes on, or comes at you. And it wants you to just Yeah, relax, chill out. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  13:18

So, you know, I say stress is the biggest blocker, I'm just talking and touching on the surface here. Because you know, stress also makes you more insulin resistant. And then you're more likely to reach for those, you know, quick high energy foods, and the liver leaders that are going to throw off your hormone balance and increase inflammation. So it really is really, really is the biggest blocker to your health. And it's you know, even if you did nothing else, but look at your stress levels. And I have a whole section on my blog all about stress and how it impacts your body and what to do about it in perimenopause. So go check it out if you want to. It really is so important. Even if you did nothing else, you would benefit. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  14:07

So let's talk about iron and nutrients because our bodies as you know, they're amazing machines. So well tuned, great feedback mechanisms in place to make sure everything stays in balance because that's what your body wants, always wants to stay in balance. It's its default mechanism there. Except when it comes to iron, and low iron in particular. So when your iron levels are low, perversely, you're more you will lose more blood during menstruation, which means you lose more iron becomes a vicious cycle then so your levels will drop of iron stores, your ferritin levels will start to drop and your periods gonna get heavier and random as you go and makes it really hard. You know, he can feel really exhausted even when your ferritin stores are not below the normal lab ranges because the normal lab ranges are too low. And you can be feeling tired and struggling to think and get through the day before they, you know, go below that normal range. So it's hard to feel motivated then because iron is a building block for dopamine, your motivation molecule in your body, it's really hard to get up and get going and eat the foods that you need to to build your iron levels there. So it's always if you're having heavy bleeding, please get your iron and ferritin checked, it's an absolute must. And please do it fasting in the morning to get the most out of that. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  15:37

And also, I was talking about your thyroid before interesting link between hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism, and low iron and heavy periods there. So this is a connection between having lower iron when you have a slower thyroid there. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  15:56

Now, the last thing I'll talk about is uterine related issues. So sometimes the cause of heavy bleeding is in the uterus itself. And it's again contributing to a thicker lining or, and dysfunction there. Things like fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine polyps, maybe there's an IUD and you've got an issue with it. There, infection and even uterine cancer there as well. So it's, you know, if you are having heavy bleeding to just write it off as Oh, well, it's because I'm in perimenopause, please get things investigated and looked at because there can be some sinister causes there. And as I said, at the start of the episode, you don't have to put up with this either. You don't have to accept that as your normal. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  16:50

Now and remember as well, that unfortunately, it does take women longer to get diagnosed with a health condition. For a woman with endometriosis. It can take up to 10 years for a diagnosis and really unacceptable. But it also means that if you get dismissed or just told our it's just perimenopause, and you feel like there's something wrong or you feel like there's something deeper wrong, then please persist and get a second opinion. So trust your instincts and get that investigation done. So that you can be reassured, you know, if the dual of that and there's nothing wrong, well, great, but you know, we don't want something to be missed, and have the opportunity to resolve it before it becomes a big issue. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  17:36

So, in perimenopause and heavy bleeding, your doctor might offer you something like synthetic hormones like the pill, or most often, it's the Mirena there. They might offer you at the ablation or even a partial hysterectomy. And these are, you know, that's quite extreme. And they don't resolve the underlying issues that led to the problem in the first place. So even if it alleviates your heavy bleeding, you might see other symptoms popping up there as well. And the next podcast episode is all about the Mirena or the pill for heavy bleeding and perimenopause symptoms and why it doesn't have to be your only option. So tune in for that next time. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  18:20

If you are, if you have been offered either of those things in perimenopause. So what do I like to do? Well, I like to look in and find what is underlying what is going on. So I do blood tests with my clients, all my clients have blood testing done. And I look at those through optimal for women ranges, not those normal lab ranges that are very broad and leave you feeling very crappy, but oh yeah, you're fine. And we address any deficiencies that might be playing a role. We look at a person's health history and their symptoms and what that tells us about their detoxification and elimination pathways so that we can help optimize hormone elimination and reduce those super highs of estrogen. We look at nourishing the body with the foods that are optimal for that person's it's personalized to them, it's anti inflammatory, to help balance your hormones and reduce that heavy bleeding as well. stress, stress, stress stress, we look at that and tweak the lifestyle you know, natural beauty and my perspective is holistic and boundaries. You know that mental and emotional aspect of health is very important and lifestyle change will help support that as well.

 

Sarah McLachlan  19:45

So we're looking at you know, what boundaries can you sit in what can you delegate what can you delete? What can you automate, to help make your life easier and less busy? And of course, as a naturopath, I can use herbs with my clients as well if we need To to help give them a boost. But I find the food does the heavy lifting for us and we can really get things on top. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  20:06

Now, if you are working in 3d things on your own, just know that sometimes hormones can be a little slow and responding. Sometimes they can take a few months to for you to see change in your cycle there. So don't be disheartened if you start doing things and it doesn't happen for you straight away there. But you can definitely see a big difference in your periods in just a few cycles with this type of approach. I often say for my clients, we get it within one cycle with personalized nutrition is the balm for helping to optimize your digestion and detoxification and elimination as well as providing the nutrients that your body needs to thrive. So that was all I wanted to talk through there with you today. We have covered off those reasons, main reasons that can come up or that I see come up in my clients that are contributing to heavy bleeding and perimenopause. So we've got the uterine related issues like fibroids and adenomyosis. Stress Of course, and low progesterone, high estrogen and that relative gap there and nutrient deficiencies as well. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  21:20

So it's really important to know where you're at with your body, how its functioning, your nutrient levels. And it's in Australia, you can definitely get bloods done annually and have this checked. But also if you are having you know you're feeling tired you having this is heavy bleeding, it's please follow it up and go and see a doctor and get your bloods done. And or work with someone like me, a naturopath who's used to looking at blood from that more functional perspective and using optimal ranges for women if you really want to get your health optimized. And it is super important and it's never too late to do anything but in those early phases of perimenopause is such a great time to get on top of things because supporting your body supporting your adrenal glands, which fill the gap with estrogen when we move into menopause is ideal to have that smoother transition to menopause. So the earlier you can get on top of things or get your body set up and ready, the smoother transition that you will have. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  22:32

A key to that is working on your stress levels and optimizing your health at that cellular level. Getting your body at its best will give you the smoothest transition to menopause. And if you're further along, like I said, it's never too late your body will always benefit from anything that you can do. So that is all for today. I will remind you that you can find the show notes at www.chaostocalmpodcast.com or wherever you're listening to this podcast. Don't forget, you can get in touch with me there from the show notes as well. I'd love to have your questions that helps me shape what I record or what I create for you. And if you do enjoy the show, please rate and review us wherever you listen to your podcasts so that more women will have the option to listen to me and learn about what is happening in their body during perimenopause. 

 

Sarah McLachlan  23:34

Don't forget to come back next week we will be discussing the Mirena and the pill for your perimenopause symptoms and that you have more options than just those two things. Until then I'm Sarah, the perimenopause naturopath. And don't forget perimenopause does not have to be horrific.

 

Sarah McLachlan  23:59

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.