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  • Writer's pictureJo Leccacorvi

Why a holistic approach is necessary for symptom management during perimenopause

Perimenopause marks a significant phase in a woman's life. It typically begins in your 40s signalling the gradual decline in your sex hormones, oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone and leads to various physical and emotional changes. From hot flushes and night sweats to mood swings and disrupted sleep, perimenopause can present a myriad of symptoms that impact daily life. However, managing these symptoms requires a comprehensive and multifaceted approach that addresses the diverse aspects of women's health during this transitional period.




 

Understanding Perimenopause:

It's crucial to understand the hormonal shifts and physiological changes that occur during this phase. Oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels fluctuate unpredictably, leading a range of symptoms that vary in intensity and duration for each woman. These hormonal changes can affect not only physical health but also mental and emotional well-being.

 

The Multifactorial Approach:

Managing perimenopause symptoms effectively requires a holistic approach that considers various factors influencing women's health during this transitional phase.

 

Here are key components of the multifactorial approach:

 

1.    Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy, also known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), involves supplementing the body with oestrogen, progesterone (if you still have your womb) and many women may also require testosterone to alleviate perimenopause symptoms. It can help regulate hormonal imbalances, reduce hot flushes, improve sleep quality, and alleviate vaginal dryness. If you wish to take this, please speak to your GP about taking body identical HRT.

 

2. Lifestyle Modifications

Making lifestyle changes can significantly impact perimenopause symptoms and overall well-being. This includes maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to support hormonal health and manage weight. Regular exercise, such as aerobic activities and strength training, can reduce hot flushes, improve mood, and promote better sleep. Additionally, managing stress through relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help mitigate mood swings and anxiety.

 

3. Nutritional Support

Certain dietary supplements and herbal remedies have been shown to alleviate perimenopause symptoms. For example, soy products contain phytoestrogens that mimic the effects of oestrogen in the body, potentially reducing your symptoms. Black cohosh, dong quai, ashwagandja and shatavari are among the herbal supplements commonly used to manage perimenopausal symptoms. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional, such as myself, before taking any supplements.

 

4. Therapy

There are many different types of therapy, for example, CBT, psychodynamic, or person centred. Therapy can improve your mental health and emotional well-being. It can be particularly beneficial for perimenopausal women experiencing mood swings, anxiety, or depression. By learning coping strategies and stress management techniques, women can better navigate the emotional rollercoaster of perimenopause and enhance their overall quality of life. It can be life changing. If you are considering seeking the services of a therapist please go The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

 

5. Sleep Hygiene

Sleep disturbances are common during perimenopause, often due to night sweats, hormonal fluctuations, and psychological factors. Practicing good sleep hygiene, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and optimising the sleep environment, can help improve sleep quality and duration. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and electronic devices before bedtime can also promote better sleep hygiene and alleviate insomnia symptoms.

 

6. Regular Health Check-ups

Regular health check-ups are essential for monitoring overall health and addressing any underlying medical conditions that may exacerbate perimenopause symptoms. This includes routine screenings for conditions like osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and, if you are taking HRT, it is important to have regular reviews with your GP.

 

Perimenopause is a natural and inevitable phase of a woman's life, but it doesn't have to be synonymous with suffering. By adopting a multifactorial approach to symptom management, women can navigate this period with greater ease and resilience. Whether it's hormone therapy, lifestyle modifications, nutritional support, psychotherapy, sleep hygiene, or regular health check-ups, each component plays a vital role in optimising physical, mental, and emotional well-being during perimenopause. Remember, every woman's journey through perimenopause is unique, so it's essential to personalise your approach with the guidance of healthcare professionals to find what works best for you. If you would like some support with your symptoms why don’t you book in for a free midlife health review? Click here to book.

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