How to Improve Symptoms of Perimenopause and Love Your Body Through the Transition
A woman’s body is a miracle to be celebrated! I know it can be uncomfortable to feel your body change, but it is a natural part of life; a process to be embraced.
People talk about perimenopause as though it’s the beginning of the end for a woman’s body – but it’s quite the opposite! In fact, this is the beginning of a beautiful new chapter, my friend.
Let’s welcome your emergence into this next phase of life by taking healthy steps towards supporting your body, so you can make a graceful transition!
So, What is Perimenopause?
I know you’ve heard of menopause before – that time of life when your body stops ovulating and you no longer get your period. Odds are you’ve heard about hot flashes, mood swings, and sleepless nights that can come along with it, too.
But what you might not know is that these symptoms often start during the time leading up to menopause due to fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone. This phase is called perimenopause and can last about four years on average (but it varies from woman to woman). 
Potential symptoms of perimenopause include:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Bladder infections
- Trouble sleeping
- Night sweats
- Low libido, or less interest in sex
- Weight gain
- Panic attacks 
Feeling doomed? I know it doesn’t sound glamorous! But I promise, by accepting this phase of life with open arms and supporting your body with nutrition and lifestyle changes, you can greatly reduce symptoms of perimenopause and navigate this time with grace.
Habits to Improve Symptoms of Perimenopause
Your body is going through changes, and so your nutrition and lifestyle habits must change with it. And while change is never comfortable, I encourage you to look at this as a good thing.
You can use this life marker as an opportunity to really take care of yourself and your health. Trust me, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for it as you reap the benefits. 😉
#1. Eat to Support Your Body.
Protein: During perimenopause, your hormone levels are changing and your muscle mass starts to decrease. Including a source of protein with every meal, like fish, meat, chicken, tofu, tempeh, beans, or eggs can help balance your hormones and support strong bones.
Healthy Fats: Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids help ease symptoms of perimenopause due to their link with decreased inflammation and depression.  Try adding more avocados, fish (especially salmon), olive oil, and walnuts to your dishes.
Fiber: In addition to supporting your overall nutrition and weight loss, fiber has also been linked to decreased hot flashes in perimenopausal and post-menopausal women.  Needless to say, filling your diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is nothing but beneficial for you!
That being said, I recommend running a food sensitivity test with your functional nutritionist to make sure you’re eating foods that are healthy for you.
Calcium: As you age and hormone levels change, your bones can become less dense. Eating a diet rich in calcium (including leafy greens, cheese, beans, edamame, almonds, and tofu) can help protect your bone health, which is linked to many other important organs in the body.
Work with a functional nutritionist to determine what amount of calcium intake is right for you, as too much can also cause health problems.
#2. Prioritize Sleep.
I know what you’re thinking…
Ah “sleep”, wouldn’t that be nice?
When you’re going through perimenopause, it can feel like your body has turned against you as you try to get some shut-eye each night. Whether it’s the sweats, racing thoughts, or an active heartbeat, it’s not easy to get the sleep you need. But it’s exactly what your body needs to recover from your day and replenish you for the day ahead.
So, here are a few of my top tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Save the bedroom for sleeping only (with the exception of sex)
- Put away screens at least one hour before bed
- Develop a calming and consistent nighttime routine
- Turn the temperature down at bedtime
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol 4-5 hours leading up to bed
#3. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol.
Ah, our favorite indulgences… I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but caffeine and alcohol mess with our hormones and can greatly exacerbate symptoms of perimenopause, including hot flashes, headaches, night sweats, and mood swings.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to eliminate your morning cup of joe or your favorite red blend completely! But I do recommend drinking it mindfully – pairing it with food, steering clear of it well before bedtime, and always consuming it in moderation.
#4. Kick Stress to the Curb.
When we experience stress, the body works to produce cortisol, pushing the production of other hormones aside. This can be problematic for women going through perimenopause who need proper levels of estrogen and progesterone for their health.
Of course, it’s hard to eliminate stress completely. We all have responsibilities and factors outside of our control that causes us stress. But do your best to cultivate peace in your life by setting boundaries and developing daily practices like journaling, walks out in nature, or evening baths to nurture a sense of calmness.
#5. Move Your Body Every Day.
Exercise supports your mind, body, and soul, which can help to relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, weight gain, issues sleeping, and so much more.
If you don’t already, I recommend getting into the habit of moving every day! It doesn’t have to be for too long (I’m talking 20-30 minutes) and it doesn’t have to be at the gym.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to get moving:
- Dance around the house
- Go to a yoga class
- Walk around the neighborhood
- Jump on a rebounder or trampoline
- Do a quick HIIT workout video
You Don’t Have to Suffer!
While your mother, friends, or even a health professional might tell you this is something you just have to “suffer through”, it’s not the case.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
You, my dear, can make a choice to transition gracefully into this next phase of your life without all the chaos, discomfort, and drama.
And I’m here to help!
As a functional nutrtionist, I work with my clients to make highly personalized changes to their diet and lifestyle based on their unique body, so they can make this transition with grace.
Book an initial consultation to get started.
- Clinic, C. (n.d.). Perimenopause: Age, stages, signs, symptoms & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21608-perimenopause#:~:text=The%20average%20length%20of%20perimenopause,are%20no%20longer%20in%20perimenopause
- Today, M. N. (n.d.). Natural Remedies for Menopause. Medical News Today. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/natural-remedies-for-menopause#symptoms
- ScienceDaily. (2009, February 1). Omega-3 fatty acids ease depressive symptoms related to menopause. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090128104702.htm#:~:text=Summary%3A,menopause%2Drelated%20mental%20health%20problems
- Upham, B. (2021, January 12). A high-fiber diet may help Lower Depression Risk. EverydayHealth.com. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/womens-health/a-high-fiber-diet-may-help-lower-depression-risk/