Perimenopuase is the transition time from having a regular menstrual pattern and being fertile to the menopause which is when period cease and you are no longer fertile. It occurs because the amount of oestrogen secreted by the ovaries becomes really variable in the years leading up to the menopause. This variable level of hormone can produce a number of symptoms. Perimenopause is barely noticeable for some women and quite tricky for others.
The most common symptoms are:
- Hot flushes (maybe look into an hyperhidrosis treatment?)
- Mood changes
- Reduced sex drive
Some women also report problems remembering things or poor concentration.
What are the signs and symptoms of the menopause?
The primary symptom of the menopause is the ceasation of periods as the body no longer produces the eggs which drive the menstrual cycle. This results in very low levels of the oestrogen hormone which can cause many different symptoms. All of the above symptoms may continue for sometime after menopause.
In addition many women experience vaginal dryness which can make sex painful. Some women also suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections. It is important to remember that menopause is a normal part of getting older but that doesn’t mean it just has to be suffered through. There many different things you can do to resolve symptoms or make them much more manageable.
By Dr Prudence Knight GP at Push Doctor.
What foods should you eat during perimenopause?
Perimenopause is a time when your body is going through numerous changes. Because of those changes, your body could use a little bit more of certain nutrients.
Your muscle mass starts to decrease during perimenopause. So you’ll want to up your daily intake of protein as it can assist in maintaining muscle mass.
Protein can also help by regulating appetite and blood sugar levels. It may even help balance your hormone levels.
To get maximum benefits, I recommend spreading your protein intake out over three meals and a snack. Instead of plain toast, top it with some peanut butter. Add baked salmon or chicken to a salad for a protein boost at lunch. For dinner, beans are a great protein add-in for any number of entrees, including tacos. Make your own nut mix, with your flavour of spices, for a perfect anytime snack. Eggs, lentils, and yogurt are other great high-protein choices.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with decreased inflammation, as well as improved moods. Omega-3s have also been linked to decreased depression, which is something many women experience during perimenopause.
I recommend at least two servings of fish per week. You can also talk to your doctor about taking fish oil supplements. Another option is adding flaxseed oil into your diet to combat mood swings and irritability.
Fibre is another go-to during perimenopause. It helps keep you feeling full longer, which can curb cravings. This will go a long way toward weight-loss efforts, which can be especially tough as you age and your metabolism slows down. Fibre is vital for to maintain a healthy gut, which does more than just break down food… The gut is responsible for almost all of your hormone production, a key contributor in the regulation of the menstrual function, and possibly a factor in delaying menopause.
Fruits and vegetables are a great place to find fibre. Whole grains and beans are also good source. In general, the more processed an item is, the less fibre it’ll offer.
As you age, your risk of osteoporosis increases – a potential symptom of menopause. To keep your bone health in check, increasing your intake of calcium to 1,200 milligrams daily. Vitamin D is also important in this regard. You’ll want to check with your doctor for individualized recommendations, as not all physicians agree on the optimal intake for bone health. This intake can be easily achievable through consume diary and/or green leafy vegetables for example.
What to avoid during menopause and perimenopause?
In terms of what to avoid, it’s recommended to limit highly refined carbs, such as white breads, pasta, and baked goods.
You should also avoid blood sugar spikes and constant cravings that can have a detrimental effect on hormone production. Substitution is an important factor here. For example, you can make it a habit to substitute whole grain brown rice for white rice.
Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can exaggerate hormone symptoms in some cases. It’s unrealistic for me to say stop having all of these things, but look to limit your intake as realistically as possible.
Will Hawkins Nutritionist at Push Doctor