As incredible as it sounds, people are often loathe to blame their hormones being unbalanced for them feeling off, yet they will gladly seek out anti-depressants, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication and all manner of alternative remedies in a bid to feel well again.
When women hit their mid-thirties and early forties and beyond, the very early stages of perimenopause start to creep up on them. Many have no idea that’s the reason behind their suddenly unbearably heavy periods, irritability, exhaustion and general malaise. And, whilst there is lots of help available out there, many women often suffer in silence – because they’ve slowly forgotten what it feels like to be at their best.
But as a rule of thumb; it’s not your age, it’s your symptoms that doctors go on when deciding whether you’re perimenopausal and if treatment is advisable.
Menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, can be treated with HRT, even if you’re still having periods, so seeing a qualified doctor is crucial if you feel you’re in need of expert advice.
But there are several other ways in which you can help balance your hormones and give yourself back a decent quality of life.
If you can, cut back on ‘white’ foods – such as white pasta, white bread, French fries and food which is packed with refined sugars – like muffins and chocolate chip cookies. The reason for this is that they can send your insulin levels soaring and then crashing, when it’s better to keep blood sugar levels as consistent as possible – which in turn balances your mood and energy levels.
Slow-burning carbs are better as they give you a constant source of fuel throughout the day. Add some green veggies to your diet where possible. This doesn’t have to mean nibbling on lettuce leaves or going overboard guzzling endless green juices – the key here is balance.
Lots of people have happily switched to courgette noodles thanks to the spiralizing craze and, paired with a fantastic fresh basil, garlic and lemon juice sauce, you’ll wonder why you didn’t convert years ago – especially as it takes minutes to make.
If you can’t bear the idea of no pasta then you can maybe try half and half? There are enough recipes available online to last you several lifetimes.
It often seems as though stress is something we have all just grown accustomed to having in our lives, but try to find ways to stay calm and tame anxiety. Your body floods with cortisol when you’re angry, worried, overloaded and stressed – which wreaks yet more havoc on your body’s hormonal systems.
Unfortunately for some of us, caffeine and alcohol are not your body’s friends, but maybe cut back – you could perhaps try going alcohol-free for three nights a week and reduce gallons of coffee in the morning to just a couple of small cups?
Making daily ‘me time’ is a wonderful priority to build into your day, even if that’s a soak in the bath with a good book before bed – it’s not a luxury, it’s an essential for all of us in order to feel less overwhelmed and stressed.
Sleep is when our bodies repair and regenerate, so if you can make a point of having several early nights in the week and really relaxing for at least an hour before you go to bed, then your body will thank you for it and your entire quality of life will improve as a result.
If you can fit in exercise – whether that’s having a half an hour spin on your exercise bike in front of the news when you wake up, or a swim or brisk walk or ten minutes of yoga after work, you will notice a massive difference in how you feel.
Many women also report fantastic results with acupuncture, which paired with even a few gentle tweaks and changes in diet and lifestyle, often does the trick to diminish those awful symptoms of hormone imbalance.
If you still don’t feel any better then see a medical specialist, nobody should ever have to suffer in silence.