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Perimenopause is a natural transition into menopause and can be supported and delayed with herbal medicine and nutritional therapy. Accepting that there are no mistakes, just lessons to be the best version of yourself, but sometimes our bodies let us down just as our life is getting amazing. Whether you are in perimenopause or postmenopause, estrogen levels are lower than they used to be. 

Support through Perimenopause

The Greek origin ‘Peri’ translates to ‘about, around’ and  ‘menopause’ translates to a period in a woman’s life when menstruation ceases, so Perimenopause means around about the time when menstruation ceases. Perimenopause generally start in the 40’s, but it is not uncommon to start from the late 30’s.

Symptoms of lowered estrogen in perimenopause

  • Hot flashes
  • Lower sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Changed periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Mood swings

Nutrients to increase estrogens

Phytoestrogens are plant sources of estrogens, and may help ease the symptoms, and I have a list of foods sources to share! I also have a special Phytoestrogen recipe book available here. On a side note, these foods needs to be broken down to release the nutrients, so make sure your digestive system is in good order too!

Natural food sources of Phytoestrogens come from:

Coumestans – naturally occurring compounds in plants which mimic steroidal estrogens. Alfa Alfa and clover sprouts are the highest source. Also Split peas, pinto beans, lima beans.

Lignans – polyphenols found in plants, when ingested, they are precursors for estrogen. The bacteria in the intestine metabolise the lignans into enterolignans, enterodiol and enterolactones. Flaxseeds are very high in lignans (301,129 microg/100 g), followed by sesame seeds (29,331 microg/100 g). Generally, lignans are found in seeds, whole grains (7 to 764 microg/100 g), bran, beans, fruit, and vegetables. The highest in vegetables are brassicas (185-2321 microg/100 g).

Isoflavones – rich in soybeans as glycosides (bound to sugar molecule); digestion or fermentation releases the sugar molecule leaving an isoflavone aglycone. I take two precautions with Soy products:

  • Find organic sources because Soy bean crops are often genetically modified (GMO)
  • Avoiding highly processed soy foods, like soy based supplements or soy drinks high in sugar

 Examples of food sources of phytoestrogens:

SOY PRODUCTS

GRAINS

SEEDS/NUTS

LEGUMES

Tempeh

Oats

Flaxseeds

AlfaAlfa

Soy Beans

Brown rice

Sesame seeds

Pinto Beans

Tofu

Quinoa

Sunflower seeds

Lima Beans

Soy milk

Barley

Pistachios

Lentils

miso

Rye

Almonds

Chickpeas

Caution:

It is not advisable to increase estrogen foods where there is estrogen dominance or an estrogen dependent tumour.  

Herbal Medicines for Perimenopause support

As a Naturopath, I not only specialise in Nutritional Medicine, but I also specialise in Herbal Medicine. Certain herbs contain steroidal or triterpenoid saponins and have hormone balancing effects. Some examples are Chamaelirium luteum, Vitex agnus castus, or Actaea racemosa. Herbal Medicine is not a one size fits all because of the active constituents, some are contraindicated for use with some medications and individual constitution, so it is best to book in for a Naturopathic Consult. 

 

 

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