Remember your teenage days when you had to learn how to match your period with the appropriate feminine product so that you aren’t caught in a sensation of warm fluid gushing down when attempting to stand up, rendering you worrying about whether an embarrassment had just happened? Peri-menopause is like puberty the second time around. It’s a time when the body is going through big change. The body is trying to establish a new hormonal pattern, that if done right, you’ll be set for a healthy, graduated process well into older age.
If you experience heavy bleeding on your period, take a moment to thank nature for bringing awareness to your body; take a moment to realize that your body is part of nature and that is it as dynamic as life itself.
An increase in your flow during peri-menopause, usually accompanied by breast tenderness and migraines are signs of
1. Skipped or missed ovulation (but you’re still ovulating here and there)
2. Low progesterone
3. High estrogen (relative to progesterone)
4. High cortisol
5. Flat cortisol diurnal pattern
Here I’d like to offer you ways to reduce the frequency of heavy bleeding. Note, I am not discussing heavy bleeding related to abnormal uterine bleeding such as that in fibroids, endometrial polyps, pregnancy, contraceptive use, blood clotting problem, and PCOS. I am only discussing heavy menstrual bleeding on days of a normal period.
Skipped or missed ovulation
As women transition into menopause, missing an ovulation here and there is normal. Imagine your endometrium is like your lawn that is maintained by a boy who lives down the street. On the dot every 2 weeks you call him to come cut your lawn. You picking up the phone to call him represents ovulation, and the boy cutting the grass represents progesterone. The boy (progesterone) keeps your lawn (endometrium) nice and at an appropriate height. Now imagine you forget to call the boy one day (missed ovulation), the boy won’t come (no progesterone), and so your lawn (endometrium) outgrows its usual height. When the boy comes next time to cut the lawn (which will have been a total of 4 weeks passed), the grass cuttings (shedded endometrium) will be double the amount – hence heavy bleeding.
We can reduce the likelihood of missed ovulation by taking an herb called Chasteberry (lat. vitex agnus-castus), provided that you live a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet.
Going along with the lawn example, you want to make sure your lawn boy shows up when you ask him to. If he doesn’t show up or does a half-job, then your lawn will still grow longer than you’d like. Ways to encourage production of progesterone include:
– take chasteberry supplement in the luteal phase
– Vitamin B6 supplement
– Cal-Mag supplement
– Make sure your thyroid is working optimally (ask your doctor to check your thyroid and
– Plenty of sesame seeds or sunflower seeds in the luteal phase
Estrogen is like water and fertilizer for your lawn. When not balanced by regular cutting (progesterone), grass will inevitably out grow in the presence of excess rain and fertilizer. Ways to reduce your estrogen level include:
– Say no to sweets and alcohol
– Add extra fibre to your breakfast – bran, oat bran, flaxseeds, psyllium husks
– Aerobic exercise at least 3x/d – moderate intensity is just fine. If you sweat, great! If not, just work up to where you can feel your heart beating hard. I.e. speed walking
– Licorice tea
– Avoid or limit dairy
– Red meat in moderation (especially if you are big on meat)
– Castor oil pack over right lower ribs on non-menstruating days
– Probiotics containing lactobaciilus acidophilus
High cortisol and flat cortisol diurnal pattern
Cortisol competes with progesterone for its raw materials. Think of your cortisol as your close by neighbours also wanting to hire your lawn boy. They are stopping your lawn boy from cutting your lawn and so your lawn grows uninhibitedly. Ways to re-establish a normal level of high cortisol include:
– Adaptogens such as rhodiola, ashwaganda, siberian ginseng, magnolia
– Antioxidants and bioflavonoids (berries, grapes)
– Make sure your thyroid is working optimally (see Low progesterone above)
– Minimum of 15 minutes of mindful exercise per day: yin yoga, meditation. The more the better
– Say no to coffee, coke (including diet coke), and other highly caffeinated beverages
– Counselling for any stressors to do with interpersonal relationships or significant life events
Nature always has a way of bringing you back into balance, if you enable it. When you think you have simplified your lifestyle, there’s always more simplification you can do. But you can only do the best you can, so be kind and gentle with yourself. During a heavy flow, allow the body to heal by nourishing it with rest, iron-rich foods and start your cycle again with the best intention for your body, mind, and soul.
It goes without saying, if your period returns after 12 months of cessation whether you’re on hormone replacement therapy or not, medical attention will be required. Talk to Dr.Kait Now if that happens and consult about to start your menopause treatment in calgary.