Not Menopausal, but Feeling Moody? Here's Why.

lifestyle wellness Sep 15, 2021

I have so many clients who are as young as their 30s and into their 40s who feel off balance and they’re not sure why. Like the little things make them fly off the handle or react like never before. A spilled bottle or a misunderstanding can send them into a full-blown meltdown.

If you are one of them, don’t worry, you are not alone! I’m here to talk with you about the rarely discussed but oh-so-real experience of perimenopause.

As women, we experience two major developmental shifts in life. Puberty and menopause. But just like puberty isn’t just an on switch, menopause also is not just this sudden occurrence. Your body prepares gradually for menopause with a phase called perimenopause. Some women handle this phase really easily, with barely any symptoms while others may find it even worse than menopause as hormones start to become imbalanced and things get a little rocky. There are definitely some changes that start to occur in the body which may show up symptomatically as weight gain, difficulty sleeping, low libido, less stress resilience, and yep you guessed it MOOD SWINGS.

The truth is that the body’s hormone production starts to change somewhere between 35 and 50 years old which means that’s the age range when you’re likely going to feel some of the effects.

What happens is that your ovaries start to sputter which makes their output of the hormones estrogen and progesterone which used to run like clockwork, a lot more faulty. Your ovulation can start to become irregular and because of this, you might get more irregular periods. This can also make you feel super moody. Your other hormones start to dysregulate as well and your adrenals and thyroid may start to give you issues (hello being more stressed and frazzled). Put all of that together and it’s no wonder you’re an emotional rollercoaster.

If you think you’re in perimenopause know that you’re not alone. Here are some of the really common symptoms:

- unexplained weight gain

- mood swings

- low energy

- insomnia

- brain fog

- less joy

- constant stress and irritability

- irregular menstrual cycles

- feeling sad or withdrawn

And if your doctor tells you you’re crazy, these symptoms are so real, so it’s time to find a new practitioner who is willing to work with you. The answer is not another birth control, antidepressant or anti-anxiety pill

If you want to ease some of the moodiness and stress that may come along with perimenopause there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make to make a difference

If you’re dealing with mood swings and low energy - the issue may be a disrupted cortisol pattern: my recommendation would first be to cut caffeine and alcohol and then add in an adaptogen supplement like Rhodiola. From there, you’re going to want to address where the stress in your life is coming from and find solutions to reduce it. Maybe you’re always feeling rushed in the mornings, so you wake up a little earlier and go to bed a little earlier. Or perhaps your stress is coming from a toxic relationship you need to leave. Set aside some time to meditate! This will work wonders on your cortisol.

If you’re feeling bad PMS - the issue may be low progesterone: my recommendation would be to take a vitamin C supplement - about 1000 mg/day has really been shown to help women with progesterone deficiency. High levels of cortisol block progesterone receptors so do things that calm you down like taking a nice warm bath at night, yoga or connect with your partner or a friend.

If you’re feeling irritable and have brain fog - the issue may be low thyroid: my recommendation would be to make sure you’re getting enough trace minerals from your diet like selenium from Brazil nuts and iodine from sea vegetables. You’ll also want to minimize your intake of grains for a while because they can worsen autoimmune thyroid issues. Finally, add in a vitamin B complex supplement. Especially B2 and B3, are critical for thyroid health.  A high-dose B complex will also help support skin tone, immune system, improve emotional health, and also support the adrenals.

Perimenopause can make you feel like you have no control, but I promise, you totally do when you open your mindset to doing life a little differently. You can do without all the mood swings and crazy stress and begin to enjoy this transition phase if you just begin to listen to your body more and incorporate these changes slowly and incrementally. It’s definitely a process and one that may be harder on the front end (but so much better for you in the long haul) than another pill but better self-care is the answer to feeling your best.