As a women we can take on a lot. In our 20’s and 30’s we can feel invincible. We are confident, happy, energised, unstoppable! For some this continues throughout life, but for others , the 40’s and 50’s can paint a very different picture.
By the time we reach our 40’s we may be balancing a career with a young family; we may have ageing parents who need our care, then there are the bills, the running of the home, the children that are becoming challenging teenagers. Whatever the situation is, many of us respond the same way, by putting ourselves at the bottom of the list; just ploughing on, keeping all those plates spinning, with little thought to the impact it’s having on our body.
And if this isn’t enough to deal with, from 35 our body starts entering the realm of fluctuating hormones, made worse by the amount of stress we are under and the lack of nurturing we are giving our body. We trundle on, trying to ignore the signs because we ‘haven’t got time’ to be tired, we haven’t got time to look into why we are gaining weight or feeling generally fed up. We justify it by saying it’s because we have so much on or it’s just our age BUT actually it could well be Perimenopause. If we recognise this, we can learn ways to support our body and get ourselves back to functioning as we did in our 30’s!
Perimenopause is described as the decline of oestrogen production. It starts from around the age of 35 (I can still remember my shock when, at 35, the gynae called me a geriatric mum) and continues to around 55 when menstruation ends. This varies greatly from woman to woman and has a strong genetic link so it’s worth noting when our mother’s cycle ended. We then move in to menopause and then post menopause.
Progesterone also declines around 35 years but much more rapidly than oestrogen which can leave us with significantly more oestrogen than progesterone. We have 3 main oestrogens which can cause a high and low oestrogen picture. E2 is linked to cancers and E3 is more protective.
Low oestrogen symptoms
Weight gain, sleep issues, fatigue, depression, brain fog, hot flashes, night sweats, osteoporosis, hair loss, hardened blood vessels, incontinence, vaginal dryness, forgetfulness, trouble falling asleep, achy joints, loss of interest in exercise, dry eyes and skin, low libido, painful sex, sagging/thinning skin, high FSH.
High oestrogen symptoms
Weight gain, fat around your hips, fatigue, varicose veins, cellulite, heavy menstrual bleeding, breast or ovarian fibroids, breast/ovarian/thyroid and uterine cancers, PMS, endometriosis, infertility, enlarged breasts and breast tenderness, irritability, mood swings or anxiety, headaches or migraines, particularly before your period, bloating, puffiness or water retention, crying spells for no good reason, trouble falling asleep, gallbladder problems or removal.
Low progesterone symptoms can be very similar to high oestrogen because they are intricately balanced with one another. Low progesterone can also give rise to clumsiness, itchy legs at night and miscarriages in the first trimester.
I’m on the go all the time…
If we ignore these symptoms and never step off the ‘on the go all the time’ train, we elevate our stress hormones; cortisol and adrenaline. Stress hormones are our survival hormones and for that reason they take priority. When elevated, they create a cascade of events to enable us to ‘run’ from the danger (stressors). This includes the releases of sugar into the bloodstream for energy which, if not burned off, gets stored around the belly for a later date. It also makes the body temporarily suppress other less vital systems, including digestion and reproduction- we don’t need to be procreating or digesting food if we are facing a near death situation! This is fine short term but sadly modern day living can mean that we are subjected to micro stressors all day long, be it life, toxins, environmental, emotional or dietary stresses. This can mean that our body is in a high alert situation for way longer than it would like and this can impact the rest of the body, including the hormones.
In current day life, this is a ‘design flaw’ ,but one we need to understand if we want to have any chance of getting and keeping our hormones (and the cascading events the occur thereafter- raised insulin, fat storage, and all the other symptoms listed above) in balance.
How cortisol impacts your other hormones
All steroid hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, cortisol, adrenaline, testosterone) are made from the same mother hormone, pregnenolone. Cortisol and progesterone are along the same pathway and, as we now know, cortisol is the dominant hormone. So, when this is released, the body will choose it over progesterone production (this is known as pregnenolone steal).
Progesterone and oestrogen work in harmony, so less progesterone means more oestrogen and an imbalance between the two. Because high cortisol means suppression of other body systems, it can leave us with many of the symptoms that we all feel today -stubborn belly fat, wired and tired, infertility, cravings, skin conditions, insomnia, etc. This can be particularly evident by the time we reach our 40’s, when we’ve been subjected to many years of stress and our resilience has lowered.
It can also leave us in a precarious situation where we can feel overwhelmed, can’t cope and lose confidence. I’ve known highly qualified women not go for promotions because they doubted themselves. I’ve known women think they are losing their memory, have clinical depression, alopecia or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) when really they are trying to deal with high stress levels whilst going through perimenopause. I’ve also seen these women turn things around and get back in control, once they got to the root cause of their issues and rebalanced their hormones.
Sadly, many of us also put ourselves so far down the list that we often don’t realise how bad things have got. Subtle changes occurring month in, month out, can add up over the years and its only when we address them that we realise how amazing we can and should feel, regardless of our age!
I can help you….
At Lucy Childerley Clinic, I help you rebalance your hormones, so you can regain control of your life. I feel very passionate that every women deserves this. We are amazing creatures who often just get on with things and look after everyone else first, BUT we are the hub of the family and when we are low, tired, grumpy, not feeling ourselves, it can have far reaching consequences on all of those around us, be it family, friends or work colleagues. By finding out the root cause of your issues, and then following a nutrition and lifestyle plan completely designed for your body’s needs, you can get back to the INCREDIBLE person you are.
I offer a FREE one to one discovery call where we chat through your symptoms and see if and how I can help you. If you want to go ahead, we book a consultation (and any tests that we think you need, if necessary). Once I have all of your information, I design you a personalised diet and lifestyle plan to help get you back on track. To book a call or consultation you can contact me on:
M- 07813 871 776
Face book, Instagram and LinkedIn @lucychilderleyclinic