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E74: Three Things Your Dr. Didn't Tell You About Perimenopause

Many women that I work with have been in their doctors office more times that they can remember, reporting symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, irritability, weight gain, IBS, emotional rollercoaster, PMS and messy periods.

But I bet that 99% of those women never hear the 3 things that I mention in this episode.

The three things that will have a major impact on hormonal regulation and ultimately your symptoms of hormonal imbalance.

When in our 20's and early 30's, we manage to get away with this, but as we move into perimenopause (35 and older), your body will start rebelling against how well these 3 body systems/organs are taken care of:

- nervous system; - liver function; and - gut health.

Come listen as I share 5 basic and simple habits that you can start implementing right now to regulate your nervous system, support liver function and heal your gut.


Well hello there and welcome back to the Perimenopause Podcast.

I’ve been aware of the changes in nature that were experiencing again, as we go transition from winter to spring over here in New Zealand and I absolutely love this time of the year. It reminds me of not only life in general, but also the changes that we’re going through physiologically.

And I truly believe that the perimenoipause years can be like your favourite season.

For many this is summer, but I know there are the few crazy people who prefer winter over summer, that’s definitely not me!

But this is exactly what perimenopause is. It’s yet another season that we’re moving through and it can last a very long time.

And each season that we go through every year, requires preparation.

For winter, the electric blankets come out, your wardrobe changes, the heaters are tested, here in NZ we make sure there is enough fire wood, our diets change from raw, cold salads to stews, etc.

For summer, the reverse will happen and we tend to get ready through the spring season and get our summer vegetable gardens prepared, get the summer shoes out, do a bit more exercise so we can jump in the swimwear again, etc.

So every season requires preparation and it’s the same with perimenopause.

We can feel the changes in our bodies happened but we were never prepared for it.

So we show up to a snow ball fight with swimwear and wonder why things are uncomfortable…

It’s just because we don’t know any better and I hope this podcast helps you to prepare a lot better for this season that you’re going through.

And trust me, once you figure out the dress code for this party, it’ll be the best season of your life. I’ll talk a bit more about that tomorrow.

Today I wanna just highlight a few things that I’m pretty convinced your doctor and healthcare team did not tell you about perimenopause.

I know certainly for me, this was never mentioned, over the span of 5 years and approximately 15 doctors and specialist appointments.

So I wanna make sure today that you hear these things and understand the physiological transition and process better. This will help you to settle in for this normal reproductive phase and enjoy the ride.

So the very first thing that I know doctors never tell their female patients who suffer from hormonal imbalance through perimenopause, is that stress is likely the main cause.

So if you’re experiencing heavy, painful, irregular periods, brain fog, constant fatigue, sleep issues, IBS, anxiety, irritability or the emotional rollercoaster, the root cause of all of this is likely stress and a deregulated nervous system.

Now imagine here for a moment you visit your gp with a complaint of debilitating periods. Instead of asking about the factors that contribute to a deregulated nervous system, he prescribes hormonal contraceptives. This means that he’ll be shutting down a normal body system, aka your hormone pathways, which is not really the cause. And he’ll leave the deregulated nervous system to fend for itself. This will eventually lead to anxiety, a dysfunctional thyroid, weight gain, disrupted sleep and all of these will then be seen as individual symptoms that will be spot treated with different medications, which again won’t address the deregulated nervous system.

Your nervous system is like the mother board of your body. Many women have no idea how their nervous system responds, what the triggers are, what the signs are and how to address all of this. This is why I’ve got a whole module on regulating the nervous system inside of my program The Hormone Health Academy.

Things that will deregulate your nervous system includes under eating, excessive work, little to no rest and downtime, undealt with trauma, to name just a few.

Now if you’re listening to this podcast, I’m pretty sure you’re a busy ambitious woman with massive goals and aspirations. So what I’m about to say is likely to give you a major mental tantrum, so brace yourself. Busy, ambitious, A-type personality women like me, find it really hard to put boundaries in place in our daily routine. We are our own worst enemy. We work 10 hours a day, look after the family, maintain the household, have a marriage, volunteer in our community and expect our bodies to be ok with 5-6 hours of sleep a night.

You require a major mindset shift here.

So what I recommend to my clients, is that you take your schedule or diary, and block out your 8 ours of sleep first, then you blok out 3 slots of 10 minutes each for white space, another words doing nothing that stimulates your brain or nervous system, then you block out the family time that you need to prioritise each day, then you block out meal times, this can be 10 minutes for each meal (and no, not eating while working) and then whatever is left, you use for work.

See, I told you, massive mental tantrum in progress.

But I wanna challenge you to start doing this, as a trial, for 3 weeks and measure your productivity. You’ll soon realise that your current routine is not serving you or any of the people that you love.

The second thing that your GP probably didn’t and will never tell you, is that in order to have healthy, balanced hormones, you need a well functioning liver!

If your liver is dealing with things like alcohol, toxins, caffeine, sugar, prescription drugs, preservatives and sweeteners every single day, it will not be prioritising the processing of hormones, because it’s totally overworked and simply can’t get to all the things.

So it’ll recirculate those hormones, that desperately need to be eliminated, back into your system. This leads to estrogen dominance and other toxicity issues.

The liver has more than 500 jobs to tend to every day, so we definitely don’t give it enough love or attention.

Again, if your a busy, ambitious woman with your eyes set on high achievements, you’re likely functioning on coffee or tea during the day and relaxing with a glass of wine every night. Never providing the liver with the nutrients that it needs to effectively perform it’s 2 main detoxification pathways, but in fact adding to the toxins that it needs to process every day.

Mental tantrum alert again… But cutting out the wines for at least 4 weeks, you’ll soon see the effect on your sleep, skin, anxiety, mental clarity, pms and so much more. And stop having coffee as breakfast. So make sure you have a decent breakfast and have your coffee with the breakfast and start replacing the evening wine with a relaxing activity. Call me old, but I love knitting or crocheting and that’s extremely relaxing for me. But find the thing that you can start doing at night to wind down.

Again, do a trial for a few weeks and decide for yourself if it’s worth it.

And then the third thing that your doctor likely didn’t mention to you when you asked him or her about all your hormonal symptoms, is that you can’t have healthy hormones, good gut health, a strong immunity or a healthy body if you don’t have good gut health. There is so much research supporting this, that I actually feel it’s criminal that doctors never talk about this.

But something I remind myself and all my clients of all the time, is that doctors are experts at disease, they are not experts at health. They are trained to identify symptoms, and treat it with medication. They were not trained to keep you healthy. That’s the job of people like me, who are functional dietitians. We’re the experts in that arena.

Your gut is critically important for maintaining healthy body systems.

It has major part to play in balancing hormones, on your mental health, on your ability to manage stress, etc.

So again, everything that I’ve mentioned in numbers 1 and 2 today will have a huge benefit for your gut.

So that was

  1. Manage your stress but mapping out the important things in your day first

  2. Stop replacing your meals with coffee

  3. Stop drinking wine every night and allow your body to heal before you go back to occasional drinking

  4. And eat a good breakfast.

  5. You can also have a good quality, broad spectrum probiotic every day to support the good bacteria populations in your gut.

Now I know it might sound like I’m also pointing fingers at the medical systems, but I am convinced that the huge health dilemmas that we have to deal with today, is because we’ve given over the responsibility of our health to a system that was not designed to keep us healthy.

We’ve been trained to prioritise cure and treatment above prevention.

And that is also the healthcare system that your doctor is trying to his or her job in…

It really is our responsibility to take the ownership of our health and that of our family.

Especially when in comes to perimenopause, because I’d say the biggest percentage of healthcare providers have not upskilled themselves in the area of women’s health and still operate within a major research gap. If you’re interested to understand that more, I’ve talked about this on episode 68 of the podcast.

Ok my friend, I’m so grateful that you’ve been here again today. I would be so grateful if you could share this episode with another lady that needs to find answers for her body that feels out of control. And if you could place a rating or review, it would really help me to reach more women that are suffering in silence through perimenopause.

Until next time my friend, bye for now!

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