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How To Get Rid Of Perimenopausal Symptoms

In my previous blog post, I break down exactly what’s happening with your hormones as you move past your mid thirties and the various symptoms and changes this brings. Click here to read it if you haven’t yet done so and then you can come back to this post which follows on nicely. In THIS blog, I tell you how to get rid of perimenopausal symptoms by outlining three important aspects of perimenopause and six key nutrition and lifestyle factors that support them.

The really good news about perimenopause is that a person’s nutrition and lifestyle habits have a HUGE impact on their experience of it and it’s a massively underutilised tool!

As your body moves into its 40s, there are some things that likely need to change when it comes to how you eat and how you live. Some of the things we did or didn’t do in our previous decades might not work as well (or at all) from our 40s onwards. Rather than see this as a negative, I invite you to view your 40s as being an exciting window of opportunity for change. An opportunity to form nutrition and lifestyle habits that are conducive to optimal health and hormonal wellbeing – physically, emotionally and mentally.

Starting to pay attention to this NOW is a sure-fire way to improve the severity or intensity of symptoms 10-fold. Not only this, but it will allow you to safeguard your future health and help you to have a wonderful, healthy, strong life in all of your years post-menopause.

3 Important Aspects of Perimenopause To Support:

  1. Calm the oestrogen rollercoaster to shelter your body and nervous system from sharp highs and lows
  2. Support healthy levels of oestrogen in the earlier stages when it’s higher than ever
  3. Support your body to ovulate more months than it would have done without intervention (so you can make progesterone more often and minimise its decline)

The good news is that you can leverage your nutrition and lifestyle habits to support all of these three aspects! Let’s now look at each of these three areas one by one.

How to get rid of peri menopausal symptoms in 6 steps

The highs and lows of oestrogen become more erratic and sharp in your 40s. In the earlier phase of perimenopause, levels of oestrogen can be higher than ever before in your menstruating years, which can result in sharper spikes in the oestrogen rollercoaster and a worsening of various symptoms associated with high oestrogen. The sharper the spikes, the sharper the drops and the more intense the symptoms of low oestrogen will be. For a recap on the symptoms of both high and low oestrogen, you can read my previous blog here.

For a smoother rollercoaster and healthier oestrogen levels overall it’s crucial to support healthy and efficient breakdown and clearance of used oestrogen from your body, which occurs in your liver and then your gut.

1. Improve Oestrogen Breakdown + Clearance Pathways in the Liver

Once your body uses a hormone (in this case oestrogen) it needs to get metabolised (broken down) and detoxified (cleared out from the body). This is a process known simply as ‘oestrogen metabolism’ or ‘oestrogen detox’ and it primarily takes place in the liver, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It never takes time off.

If this clearing process is inefficient, it will lead to a build up of old oestrogen in the body that should no longer be sticking around, and result in symptoms such as heavy periods, breast pain, irritability and mood swings, headaches, fibroids, and breast cysts.

Foods shown to support the liver’s oestrogen detox pathways include:

  • Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, watercress, bok choi, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale)
  • Protein (amino acids)
  • Flaxseed (must be ground)
  • Oily fish (EPA and DHA Omega 3 fats)
  • Herbs and spices (especially rosemary, turmeric and loose leaf green tea)
  • Colourful vegetables (yellow, red, orange, purple, green, brown, white) and fruits such as berries

Other important nutrients for efficient oestrogen detoxification include choline, B12, B6, folate, iron, magnesium, alpha lipoic acid, and N-Acetyl Cysteine.

2. Improve Oestrogen Breakdown + Clearance Pathways From The Gut

Once the oestrogen is efficiently processed in the liver, it makes its way to to the gut where it waits to be removed from the body permanently via a bowel movement. Therefore you gut and bowel movements are the final stage of healthy clearance of used oestrogen from your body.

So you will want to be passing at least one fully formed, healthy stool per day. Anything less than this can result in that old oestrogen heading back into circulation in your body, increasing your total load of oestrogen and bringing on some or all of those symptoms I’ve already mentioned.

Good hydration, plenty of fibre from a variety of colourful non-starchy and starchy vegetables, berries, herbs, seeds, and whole grains, plus chewing every single mouthful REALLY well are all KEY ways to encourage and maintain healthy daily bowel movements.

3. Minimise Alcohol

Alcohol can increase oestrogen levels in the body, in a couple of ways.

Firstly, the liver will always prioritise the detoxification of alcohol over anything else (oestrogen) because alcohol is such a big toxin. This means that oestrogen detoxification gets pushed to the back of the queue, and may or may not take place, as your liver can only do so much at once.

Secondly, alcohol has also been shown to prompt the liver to begin converting androgen hormones, such as testosterone, into oestrogen, resulting in higher oestrogen levels. So, really consider whether that extra glass of wine or G&T is worth it or not.

If you enjoy the occasional one glass of your favourite tipple from time to time this is unlikely to be too much of a problem. However, if you’re consuming more than one glass at a time and too often, this could be something to address in case it is impacting your body’s ability to process oestrogen.

4. Minimise Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

Also known as endocrine disruptors, hormone-disrupting chemicals are various chemicals, found in our environment and in various products we may use, that look like oestrogen, and so once they get inside the body they have the ability to get into our cells, just like oestrogen would, and exert an effect. This effect is a very negative one however.

These chemicals can disrupt function and communication of your hormones, wreaking havoc on your hormones and overall health. Not only this, these naughty chemicals can increase the total load of oestrogen in the body, increasing those typical high oestrogen symptoms such as heavy periods, breast pain, irritability and mood swings, headaches, acne, fibroids, and breast cysts.

Where hormone disrupting chemicals are found:

  • Perfumed/fragranced products (‘parfum’) and products containing parabens and phthalates, which includes shower gels, deodorants, body and hair sprays, creams, hair care, make up, candles, laundry detergents etc.
  • Household and industrial cleaning products, air fresheners and plugins
  • Non-natural personal care products such as sanitary towels and tampons
  • Plastics, plastic bottles, food packaging, straws, food containers, till receipts
  • Cooking, heating and freezing in plastics
  • Non-stick pans, plastic cooking utensils
  • Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides

What you can do:

  • Switch to glass and or stainless steel for all of your drinking, cooking, heating and storage.
  • Gradually switch to chemical-free versions of your favourite products.
  • Natural skincare brands include Tropic, Green People, Ren and Neal’s Yard.
  • Natural household cleaning brands include Bio-D, Method and Attitude
  • If you like burning candles, some natural brands include Neom, Espa and Neal’s Yard. 

5. Eat Three Nourishing Blood Sugar Balancing Meals

Perimenopause is NOT the time to restrict calories or specific foods, especially proteins and fats. It’s a time to be really well nourished with ENOUGH calories coming from: 

  • Proteins: chicken, turkey, fish, red meat (grass fed, organic where budget allows), eggs, tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds. PROTEIN is the KEY nutrient for good blood sugar balance, which is essential if you want healthier hormones and a better experience of perimenopause. Aim for 30-40g of protein with 3 meals per day (yes, that includes breakfast).
  • Healthy fats: olive oil, avocados, oily fish (omega 3), coconut, nuts, seeds 
  • Slow-release carbs: root veg, beans, lentils, whole grains
  • Fibre + plant chemicals: colourful vegetables, berries, flaxseed, herbs, spices, green tea.

Your body needs a constant supply of many important nutrients, including the omega 3 fats DHA and EPA from oily fish, iodine, zinc, B vitamins especially B12, B6 and folate (B9), vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin A (as retinol, which is only found in animal foods), choline, selenium and zinc. 

6. Manage Stress And Support Your Nervous System

Stress is the biggest blocker to ovulation (progesterone production) AND makes the oestrogen roller coaster more pronounced.

Your brain will NOT tell your ovaries to ovulate if stress is chronic/you’re always in “fight or flight”. Read more about ovulation and progesterone here.

Busy days filled with work, rushing from one thing to another, intense workouts, scrolling on your phone, answering WhatsApps, being everything to everyone keep you in a state of chronic stress. Add to this, starting it all as soon as you wake up until the moment your head hits the pillow at night, and your hormones are in for a rough ride in perimenopause.

Simple lifestyle habits shown to rebalance cortisol levels and switch you out of ‘fight or flight’ into ‘rest and repair’ include walks in nature/green spaces, qigong, yoga, deep breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness, having a good evening wind-down routine and good sleep, and getting your eyes into daylight within 30-60 minutes of waking. Even just 5-10 minutes a day of some of these things (scattered throughout the day) can make a profound difference.

If you’ve been wondering how to get rid of perimenopause symptoms, I hope this blog has been helpful for you. Before I go, I’d like to leave you with a couple of questions to consider…

  1. Which if the tips and tools mentioned here resonate with you the most? Perhaps it’s nutrition related or is it the stress piece?
  2. What 2 changes can you slowly begin to make, with regards to your dietary and lifestyle habits, that you KNOW would make a difference to how you feel? (start with the lowest hanging fruit!).

Hi, I'm Francesca

I’m a Registered Nutritional Therapist who helps womens in their 40s find vibrant health and vitality, and thrive through perimenopause and beyond.

With nearly 10 years of experience working with hundreds of people, I empower and support women to support their bodies and hormones for a smooth and happy ride in their 4os.

Through our work together, clients have improved their energy, their periods and cycles, their mood, sleep, brain fog and digestion, and learned how to better manage their weight.

I am here to help you get back to YOU so you can have a fantastic time in your 40s.

My signature nutrition and lifestyle coaching approach to supporting women with their health and wellbeing is refreshing, down-to-earth and realistic.

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