Here are the symptoms you don’t want to talk about. Heavy, flooding periods. Mood swings. Insomnia. Hot flashes.
They’re not nice symptoms because, well, it’s not fun to bleed through your clothes or wake at night with your heart pounding and your sheets all wet.
And part of you is thinking that maybe you’ve done something wrong to get into this situation. Or, at the very least, that you’ve made the shameful mistake of getting older in a society that doesn’t want to hear from older women. And so you keep quiet.
You’re okay. I’m here to throw you a lifeline and to assure you that you’ve done nothing wrong and that these symptoms won’t last forever. And there are simple things you can do now to feel better quickly. (Things that aren’t the hormonal IUD or antidepressant your doctor wants you to take.)
Please try them In Order, adding the next treatment only if you need it.
Step 1. Magnesium plus taurine
Together, magnesium and taurine boost GABA which is the calming neurotransmitter your brain needs as it adjusts to the great progesterone crash in your 40s. They’re incredibly soothing and can improve sleep, mood, and hot flashes. I recommend 300 mg magnesium plus 3000 mg of the amino acid taurine. If you’re lucky, you’ll find them together in the same formula like the one I give my Australian patients.
Tip: For additional relief, consider adding 50 mg of vitamin B6, which is another good way to boost GABA.
Tip: In a 2017 paper called “Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review,” magnesium was found to be effective treatment for symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.
For mood and sleep and hot flashes, this could be as much treatment as you need. Try it for a few weeks, and then if you’re still suffering, consider adding progesterone.
Step 2. Natural progesterone cream or capsule
Natural progesterone or micronized progesterone is entirely different from the progestins used in birth control or conventional hormone replacement (HRT). It’s not a drug. It’s the beneficial hormone you used to make in your 20s and 30s.
Progesterone has many benefits.
It makes periods lighter so progesterone can be used together with turmeric and other treatments to relieve the crazy heavy periods of perimenopause. For very heavy periods, a progesterone capsule such as Prometrium is preferable to a cream. (For a full discussion of heavy periods including the very important treatments of iron and stopping dairy, please see Chapters 9 and 10 in my new book as well as my Heavy Period post.)
It relieves hot flashes—even on its own without estrogen. Progesterone works best in combination with magnesium and taurine.
It improves sleep. For severe sleep problems, a progesterone capsule such as Prometrium is preferable to a cream. By ingesting progesterone, you can convert more of it to the sedating metabolite allopregnanolone (which is like a natural sleeping tablet).
It helps to clear histamine thereby relieving the histamine intolerance that can flare up during perimenopause and menopause.
It stabilizes the HPA or adrenal axis and improves your ability to cope with stress.
Tip: Other strategies to stabilize the HPA adrenal axis include rest, meditation, and adaptogen herbs such as ashwagandha and Rhodiola. All are valuable treatments during the menopause transition.
Tip: I recommend that natural hormones not be taken continuously. Instead, I recommend that both progesterone and estrogen be stopped for at least five days per cycle.
Magnesium + taurine + progesterone should be enough for most of you. Try it for a few weeks, and then if you’re still suffering, consider adding a small amount of bio-identical estrogen.
Other Estrogen-Balancing Compounds
Estrogen-balancing compounds, such as Di-Indole Methane, Calcium D-glutcarate, black cohosh root,chrysin and chaste tree, may be beneficial for your health and lowering your symptoms of perimenopause.
Di-Indole Methane, or DIM can be found in cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, and various supplements. It has been shown to reduce symptoms of perimenopause, support hormonal balance, and lower the risk of breast and cervical cancer
Calcium D-Glucarate may support liver detoxification and your digestion. It may help your body to effectively deal with chemical exposure in your food, water, air and environment that may interfere with your metabolism and overall health. As a result, it may help fight symptoms of perimenopause, such as fatigue, weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.
Black Cohosh Root
Black cohosh root is particularly beneficial for women dealing with hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Research has found that it can be effective in reducing these symptoms during perimenopause. Most commonly it is ingested as a pill or as a tea.
It may also be part of an alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). If you have blood pressure or liver problems, black cohosh may not be right for you. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbal or natural supplements
Chrysin is a type of flavonoid that occurs naturally in passionflower, honey, and bee propolis. It can offer protection and support for beneficial estrogen aromatase activity. It may also help hormonal balance, reduce inflammation, and lower anxiety during perimenopause
Chasteberry tree or chaste tree may be beneficial for women dealing with perimenopause. Since it can increase progesterone, it can help maintain a hormonal balance between estrogen and progesterone. It can help decrease hot flashes and breast pain as well