perimenopause insomniaDoes this sound like you? You’re waking at night sweating, periods are erratic, possibly heavier, fatigue is setting in, you’re less tolerant and more snappy with friends and family, you’re in your 40s. You could be experiencing perimenopause.

The journey towards menopause can be a turbulent and difficult time for many women. We live in an increasingly stressful world. The stress of our daily life, juggling jobs, children, and life in general can lead us feeling strung out, unable to sleep, experiencing night sweats, fatigued and irritable. We feel like we’ve lost ourselves in a hormonal rollercoaster. On top of this periods can become heavier, longer and less regular. Our hormones are fluctuating, and our life just seems out of our control. This is perimenopause, the transition to menopause, referring to the years before we reach menopause and usually starting in women's early 40s but it can start in the late 30s or even earlier.

Perimenopause lasts until menopause, when we cease ovulating, the ovaries no longer produce eggs. From our mid late 30s there is a natural decline in progesterone and then in the last 1 to 2 years of perimenopause a decline in oestrogen accelerates. By this stage, many women have menopause symptoms. Many women don’t expect to be experiencing hot flushes before menopause and it can come as surprise to be getting these vasomotor symptoms. Studies suggest 35-50% of perimenopausal women experience hot flashes and/or sweating at this time. Heavy bleeding can occur with less progesterone to regulate the endometrial lining of the uterus. Fibroids can develop and endometriosis can get worse. 40% of women experience sleep disturbances and others report poor memory and increased anxiety.

Perimenopausal symptoms include:

Perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms can be relieved by using natural treatments such as: bio-identical progesterone, magnesium, taurine, and reducing dairy and alcohol, having a low stress diet and regular exercise.

Natural progesterone, bio identical or micronized progesterone is completely different from the progestins used in oral contraceptives or conventional hormone replacement (HRT). It’s the beneficial hormone you used to make in your twenties and thirties.

Benefits of Progesterone:

  1. Boosts energy by stimulating the thyroid and heating up metabolism. That’s why your body temperature goes up half a degree when you make progesterone after ovulation. It also stabilizes communication between the hypothalamus and adrenal glands and so relieves HPA dysregulation (also known as “adrenal fatigue”).
  2. Soothes mood and rescues sleep because of the Valium-like effect of its metabolite allopregnanolone (ALLO). ALLO a neurosteroid interacts directly with GABA receptors in the brain promoting Progesterone also up-regulates the DAO enzyme and helps relieve the anxiety symptoms of histamine intolerance.Essentially, it stimulates brains’ sleep centres and is a beneficial treatment for perimenopausal insomnia.
  3. Nourishes hair and clears skin because it inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase it reduces male hormones (androgens). The result is faster-growing hair, less skin oil (sebum), and fewer skin break-outs.
  4. Lightens periods by counteracting oestrogen’s stimulating effect on the uterine lining.
  5. Prevents autoimmune disease: it modulates immune function, reduces inflammation, and up-regulates detoxification enzymes.
  6. Builds bones and muscle by stimulating osteoblasts (bone-building cells) and the growth of new muscle.
  7. Protects against cancer counteracts oestrogen’s stimulating effect on breast and uterine tissue.
  8. Relieves hot flashes, flushes and night sweats