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By Anonymous November 26, 2015 - 2:34pm
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I am in perimenopause and the hormones have wrecked my life, which is putting it lightly. I have constant nausea and lightheadedness. What do you recommend?

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thank you for reaching out to us!

Perimenopause is such a hot topic because it has been referred to as the time when our bodies betray us. This is a very intense statement and some women feel this way because our bodies are going through a significant transition from being able to carry children to no longer being able to do so.

Some women have such strong feelings about perimenopause because the symptoms associated with this change can be quite severe and cause uncomfortable lifestyle changes as well.

In the United States women report powerful symptoms including hot flashes, menstrual irregularity, sleep problems, bone density loss, changing cholesterol levels, mood changes, decreasing fertility, vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, decreased libido and increases urinary tract infections.

Once the group starts talking about perimenopausal symptoms the discussion logically turns to, how do we solve these problems? While each person’s experience is a little different there is one foundational suggestion that always improves some, if not all, of the symptoms.

What we put in our mouth can have a strong impact on perimenopausal symptoms. In general, increasing the amount of foods that come from plant sources help to balance out symptoms.

All plant-based foods -- fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes -- have fiber. Fiber binds to excess cholesterol and excess estrogen in the body.

Foods that contain isoflavones, soy, whole grains and beans may help reduce some menopausal symptoms and lower cholesterol levels. I recommend increasing the number of plant-based food until you are eating a combination of at least 10 servings every day.

If you are eating more plant foods it becomes easy to reduce foods that are high in fat. High-fat foods are not healthy for you because they raise the cholesterol levels and increase the heart disease as well.

We women may benefit from supplements calcium and iron. Calcium is one of the important minerals found in our bone matrix along with other minerals. During perimenopause and menopause the chemical changes in the body can cause bone density to decrease.

Foods that are high in calcium are clams, sardines, broccoli, legumes and dairy products. Iron levels may be impacted especially if women are having heavy bleeding. To replenish iron stores eat red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and nuts.

If you are eating processed foods make sure to read the labels of what is found in the foods. Be especially diligent about looking for the amounts of salt and sugar.

Foods that are known to have high amounts of salt are smoked meats, canned soups and canned foods. Sugar can be hidden in marinades, salad dressing, spaghetti sauces and products found in jars and cans, peanut butters, and baked goods, candy, cereals, protein bars, and ketchup, just to name a few.

Eating healthy is important during our transition to menopause and it helps create a healthy weight. I recommend that women maintain a healthy weight because extra fat in the body produces excess estrogen that creates an imbalance in our female hormones.

This imbalance makes perimenopausal symptoms much worse. So dropping the extra weight can normalize or alleviate symptoms all together.

Finally drink plenty of water every day. Water is one of the most important for normal body processing and getting rid of toxins from the body.

Anon, aside from food - try supplements like black cohosh. Get as much sleep as possible and walk away if you are feeling really stressed out and ready to snap. Yoga and acupuncture may help too.

You can also talk to to your doctor about other supplements or medication that could help.

This is not an easy time., Anon. I'm 45 with no perimenopause yet but it's coming at some stage. Experiment, find what works for you. Keep exercising and take time away when you feel any kind of rage that menopause can cause.

I hope this helps!

November 26, 2015 - 3:33pm
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