The 2 Key Hormone Changes in Perimenopause

Understanding perimenopause symptoms is not easy. Why? Because, for the most part, they show up as “just a wonky period”. Cycles get shorter, bleeding is heavier and PMS is worse.

And, women haven’t been educated specifically on perimenopause making it even more challenging and frustrating.

Education is paramount. And it starts with hormone levels.

We know that hormone levels change starting in perimenopause. And often, that’s as far as the conversations goes. And that’s just not very helpful.

What’s helpful is understanding how hormones change and how they can be tied to symptoms.

Here are the two key things to know about hormonal changes at perimenopause. And how they are related to the common symptoms of perimenopause.

ESTROGEN GOES UP BEFORE IT GOES DOWN (AND THE RIDE IS NOT SMOOTH)

It is commonly understood that hormone levels, in particular estrogen, drops during menopause. And that is accurate. But, many depictions of this show it as a smooth, gradual process (see chart on the left below). When in fact, it is more like a roller coaster where estrogen levels can get really high and are volatile (see chart on the right below).

Why is it important to know this about estrogen levels? Because high estrogen levels and jumpy, unpredictable estrogen levels can be the root cause of common perimenopause symptoms:

Heavy periods. We know that estrogen builds the endometrial lining. Lots of estrogen means thicker lining means heavier periods.
Anxiety and hot flash/night sweats. Drops in estrogen can trigger hot flash/night sweats and feelings of anxiety.

PROGESTERONE GOES DOWN

Progesterone is less controversial. Progesterone production starts to drop in perimenopause. Lower progesterone is related to:

Shorter and irregular cycles because progesterone regulates cycles. Less progesterone less predictability in cycles. Often they get shorter before they get longer.
Increasing moodiness and anger because progesterone gives a feeling of calmness
Impacting sleep because progesterone breaks down into melatonin. Less progesterone means less melatonin.
Progesterone helps the body utilize fat for energy. Lower progesterone potentially impacts fat burning.

The estrogen and progesterone balance each other out and the ratio of estrogen to progesterone is a key measure to understanding balance (or lack thereof). With estrogen increasing and progesterone decreasing, this ratio will increase dramatically. This is a state called estrogen dominance and also may contribute to severity of symptoms.

TWO NATURAL PRODUCTS THAT CAN HELP

Our health and wellbeing is always of utmost importance. Eating well, staying strong and flexible, finding emotional balance and nourishing relationships are all important, especially when things are changing. Much advice for managing symptoms focuses on overall balance and wellbeing. And it’s good.

But, when symptoms are severe and disruptive to daily life, these pieces of advice aren’t going to cut it. Women need clear solutions to address the underlying causes – high and volatile estrogen and low progesterone.

Thankfully, we can rely on traditional plant medicine as well as modern science to help.

For high estrogen, it’s logical to want to get rid of estrogen. Doing so will lower levels as well make the drops less severe. For that, there is a phytochemical that helps metabolize estrogen called DIM (Diindolylmethane) with strong research backing it up.

To boost progesterone production, try Vitex Agnus Castus aka Chastberry.  This plant has been used for hundreds of years to support women’s menstrual health. And is continued to be used by modern herbalists as well as women’s health specialists and physicians.

WHAT NOW?

Women must find their own way through. Self-awareness, education and informed decisions are the tools for success. According to a study by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in the US, there are less than three OB-GYNs for every 10,000 women. And most of them have little or no menopause training.

Understanding root causes of symptoms and natural remedies that can help is a powerful first step. This is how it started for me. I had very disruptive symptoms, one of which was very heavy bleeding. It led me through hundreds of hours of research and ultimately to start MIGHTY Menopause® and design its first perimenopause supplement, Formula 4|5 which contains both Chasteberry and DIM.

Why? Because perimenopause and menopause get confused.  And, Formula 4|5 is the only product on the market that doesn’t confuse the two.

I designed this formula specifically for women who are experiencing painful symptoms of perimenopause, who are looking for relief, and those ready to do something about it.

About Jeanne Chung

Jeanne Chung is a fierce advocate for women’s wellness and is dedicated to supporting all women as they go through menopause. She is the founder of MIGHTY Menopause® and designed Formula 4|5 specifically for perimenopause symptoms. For more information on Jeanne, you can contact her via the MIGHTY website. For Perimenopause Hub members, the promo code MIGHTYHUB15 gets you a 15% discount.

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