Perimenopause and beyond
into the Journey we Go
The very thought of peri menopause can be daunting and overwhelming for some women, especially those experiencing all of the crazy ups and downs that happen with our shifting hormones (I know it came fast and furious for me), but if we shift our approach and mindset the journey through menopause can be rewarding and enlightening. This is the next chapter of our life, a second spring (in traditional Chinese medicine terms) and one that we must be present for, through the good, bad and maybe at times a bit ugly.
Did you know that perimenopause can take up to 10 years for some women?
What can you do to support your journey through menopause and be better beyond it? In this page I will touch upon some of the remarkable changes that happen to our body, so you can understand a bit of what is going on.
If you need more help and want to get access to more in-depth information, recipes, Pilates classes and more we’d love you to join our growing community! Within your My Fit Over 50 platform we will explore important categories of health associated with perimenopause: physiological, nutrition, bone health, digestion, energy, body changes and more. Join in and be supported by a community of women through guest speaker events, a community platform on Facebook, Slack, and more.
Let's define some of the Natural Stages of Our life
Perimenopause, It's NORMAL!
Perimenopause is natural part of our aging process, but the symptoms you begin to feel during this stage shouldn’t be so uncomfortable and overwhelming that it prevents you from sleeping, keeping active, and feeling your best. Nightsweats, mentrual irregularities, mood changes, insomnia, weight gain, thinning hair and fatigue are some of the wonderful features of perimenopause and menopause (just kidding), the good news is after a while our hormones should balance out and the symptoms reside.
I have clinical and personal experience using traditional Chinese medicine to reduce menopausal symptoms, but you can also find help via bioidentical hormones if needed. Don’t struggle with hormonal symptoms, talk to your alternative health practitioner or doctor for help.
how to support your journey through perimenopause and beyond
First of all this is a time of transition and the changes and shifting going on in your body should start to balance out soon, but there is work to be done. Commit to taking care of your whole body that includes your mind and spirit.
Get a bone density scan during this phase of your age to get a baseline reading of their density and health, especially if you have a family history of osteoporosis or have had to undergo cancer treatment.
Menopause - it's here!
You have reached menopause when you haven’t had your period for at least 12 months consecutively. The average age of women transitioning into this is late 40’s to mid 50’s. Exercise, nutrition and self care is definitely a priority now to reduce any of those lingering symptoms typical with this time but it’s also important to set your body up for a better outcome as we age – seek some help with a professional if needed.
Some typical symptoms include:
Now that your period has stopped flowing for 12 months it is important to focus on your bones, brain and heart as the drop in estrogen affects these greatly!
Usually these symptoms begin to reduce as our estrogen and progesterone hormones drop, however I have worked with many women who still struggle with this for many years after.
Some women find it hard to stay asleep years after menopause, waking early in the morning, but there is help which may need to come from a practitioner.
The reduction of hormones, having multiple babies and a weak pelvic floor can make it hard to hold your urine, strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help.
Yes more dry stuff – we can blame this on our estrogen loss… look for a natural vaginal lubricant if sexual activity becomes painful or uncomfortable.
Our hormones once again can be blamed, however you may need to check your thyroid function, as that too can be affected in menopause.
As our hormones try to balance out, we have to be aware of what we are feeding our body as well as keeping track of our daily hydration.
I’m sorry to say there is no time frame or quick answers to getting over the hump of menopause, as every woman is different, but the most important thing to think about during this time is how all of these shifts now play a large role in your health moving forward. The reduction of estrogen will have a profound affect on your body (physically and mentally) so the more you can do to support your journey through Perimenopause and beyond from a whole body perspective the better outcome you may have in your later years (see the list above). Conversations and education are valuable tools.
A little note to all aging women out there...
It’s never too late to think about ways to support your body, mind and spirit’s health, living a great quality of life and continuing to learn and grow as a valuable person within your family and society. Age is a number but it shouldn’t define what you can and can’t do. Yes, making choices to do an activity that may not be the best for your body’s current physical ability is very important because recovering from injury as we get older may not be as easy and if you have osteoporosis you may be more at risk for fractures. The other challenge many of us may face as we age is the greater chance of developing an illness or disease, so spending the time to take care of ourselves now is super important, and if we do come face to face with a serious illness we may have a chance at a better outcome and overall recovery.
Here are 3 quick Band Exercises to support your body and bones!
Cindy Willems has been a Pilates instructor for 15 years with her own practice in the Toronto area. She uses her holistic nutrition and acupuncture training to treat and guide her clients through perimenopause and beyond. If you are in the Toronto area and would like to book an appointment contact her at email@example.com.