I love talking with other women about their health concerns. In an environment where women feel able to speak freely, all types of issues will come up.
I am frequently asked about diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Other major topics that women have many questions about are the subjects of menopause and perimenopause. Perimenopause is the period that leads up to menopause.
According to the Mayo Clinic perimenopause, also called the menopausal transition, is the interval in which a woman's body makes a natural shift from more or less regular cycles of ovulation and menstruation toward permanent infertility, or menopause.
Perimenopause is such a hot topic because I have heard this time referred to as the time when our bodies betray us. This is a very intense statement and I think that 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.
I also think 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.