9 Things Women with Perimenopause Need to Know

For women growing older, we learn quickly that as our bodies change after our child-bearing years, the health care industry is no longer interested in helping us. They can’t explain what is going on with our bodies. They tell us to go plant-based, exercise more, and drink more water. They make very little to no recommendations as our hormonal levels plummet, and we start to feel the side effects of perimenopause and menopause.

For those who have suffered from hormonal imbalances that led to cancers and tumors, you will find that the symptoms are heightened compared to other women who have not had surgeries to remove tumors. For women who are overweight, you quickly discover that if you don’t drop the weight (and fast), a life changing event could happen to you (a stroke or heart attack).

There’s the weight gain (and difficulty losing it). Let’s not forget hair thinning and bald spots.

Then there are the doctors that go silent on what they can suggest to us as we enter the menopause era. You’re more likely to discover what you can do to help your changing body from a nutritionist than a doctor.

It’s only now that people are starting to talk about perimenopause and menopause. It’s women sharing what they have discovered, in order to help other women.

That’s what this post is all about. I’m here to share what I discovered that works.

An Overnight Change – What You Need to Focus on From Here on Out

All of the symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause seem to happen all at once. You wake up one morning, and your whole body has completely changed. I started perimenopause at the age of 38, just one year after I had a tumor removed from my parathyroid gland (the gland that helps synthesize calcium). This is a type of repeating cancer caused by an hormonal imbalance. After seven years, a second tumor should appear in one of the three remaining parathyroid glands. For me, one started forming, but then all of a sudden it stopped growing. Whether it was the Moderna vaccine or something I was doing that stopped the growth, we are not sure. So far, I’ve been able to keep it at bay. These days, my life is focused on getting my hormones in balance as part of my wellness program.

Hormonal imbalances, especially in America, are linked to how we live. Processed foods, beauty products, home fragrances, toxic cleaners, etc., can wreak havoc on your body. While the younger generation criticizes older women for not wearing makeup or taking care of their skin, all I can say is, “What makes you think we weren’t like you at that age? That is why we are in this current predicament.”

Your doctor’s advice of going plant based, drinking more water, and exercising is only part of the equation to getting your hormones back in balance. Vitamins and using the proper beauty products also fit into this equation. So here are the rules of getting your hormones in balance that I find works for me.

1. Eat More Vegetables

A plant based diet is what you should aim for. Start by eating less meat, dairy, fats, and oil (all of these equate to high cholesterol), and then begin replacing those things with vegetables and fruit. A great Instagram to follow is Kiki Nelson (@plantifulkiki). Her cookbook Plantifully Lean explains how she started off prediabetic with high cholesterol, needing to lose weight quickly or face a life changing event (exactly the predicament I am in). She did a lot of research to see what would work. She lost 70 pounds. She shares on her website and Instagram how she did it, but the cookbook shares exactly the method she used to create a program that worked for her.

A note on being on a plant-based diet. I do not consume processed plant-based foods. It’s still processed foods and processed foods are not necessarily good for you. Focus on actual produce, rice, pastas, quinoa, legumes, etc. Plantifully Lean explains which foods to focus on. I also recommend Bountiful Cooking to learn more about food nutrition, especially if you do not want to take your vitamins. Her charts are what I live by when I need to see which foods will provide the vitamins I need (but I still take my vitamins).

2. Exercise More

I say exercise more, but I simply mean just exercise 30 minutes a day. At this stage in life, you need to focus on low-impact activities, resistance and weight training. Now, don’t fight me on this one. I fought myself on this one for many years, but then my body started hurting. I was in so much pain all of the time. I was taking ibuprofen several times a week just to make it through the day.

Believe it or not, your muscles start to go mush overnight (and it’s extremely painful). I hate to exercise, so I decided to find activities I would enjoy doing. Note, I said activities. More than one type of activity. I also threw the word ‘enjoy’ in there. Find activities you enjoy and put them on rotation.

I decided to pick up aerobics (or dancing in place). I didn’t join a class. I just do random aerobic movements in my bedroom for 30 minutes, with the lights out, and Matthew Lucifer (the Maine Coon) sitting on the bed watching me. That way, I cannot see myself with all of the mush slinging through the air.

Something I want to make abundantly clear here with exercise is that I move like an old woman, and I’m only 47. I hadn’t worked out in 10 years (ok, maybe longer). I’m not a teenager or in my 20s anymore, so I can’t move like I did then. I am cautious with what I’m doing. I may move slowly and have the bed in front of me in case I fall, but it’s a small step forward. It’s about doing what you need to do… MOVE. In time, I will advance to not needing a bed in front of me to catch me. I’ll be able to workout with the lights on. It’s the small things you aim for.

I told my friend (who is in her early 30s) that I work out like an old woman and she reminded me that we are no longer our younger selves anymore. The way she works out now, is nothing like she did in her early 20s. She has to keep reminding herself that we are no longer who we were, so we need to stop comparing ourselves to our younger selves.

Keep in mind that you need to find low-impact activities (not high-impact activities, that’s not who you are anymore). I alternate doing aerobics, tai chi, qigong, walking 10k steps, and resistance training each week. I exercise for 30 minutes, Monday – Friday. I give myself the weekends off. I will say that before I started this, my body was in complete pain (head to toe) all of the time. Aerobics, focusing on the hip rotator (because my hips hurt), helped the pain to go away. Even if you are starting from a period of no exercise for the last 10 years, it’s fine. That’s where I was when I started this. I may move like an old woman, but I am moving. That’s the point… to move!

I do not recommend doing just one activity. I recommend trying different activities that are fun and get you to move. If you only walk, you risk injury because your body is basically moving one certain way. You need a variety of exercises doing different things for different parts of your body. Switch it up every day so you don’t get bored. Oh, and stretch more. Your body will thank you!

3. Drink More Water

One thing you will discover is how dehydrated you are. There seems to never be enough water, even though you feel like you’re drinking so much water. This is where I recommend having at least one glass of water with electrolytes every day. This will help your body retain some of that water. At this stage, water just doesn’t stay in your body very well. In our youth, we are 60-70% water. As we get older, it drops to 55% for women (and that’s not good).

How much water should you be drinking? Divide your weight in half. If you’re 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 ounces of water a day. If you’re 120 pounds, 60 ounces a day. A bonus is that if you are plant based, you can also get water directly from the plants you are consuming. SOURCE: Gennev.

4. Vitamins

This is a category I thought would not stick for me, but it has. In order to remain symptom free, I’ve had to focus on having vitamins every single day. I take Boron (to help absorb the vitamins). This comes as a liquid dropper. Take this first before taking any of your vitamins. After the Boron, I take Vitamins E, B12, D3, Estrogen, Lemme Debloat (prebiotic and probiotic), and a multivitamin. Three days a week, I take iron for my anemia. Since I cannot take pills, all of my vitamins are in gummy form. The multivitamin is in liquid form. I also have a glass of either electrolyte water, Bloom water, or Magnesium water after I take my vitamins. [Note: All of these items are featured in the Women’s Wellness shop in my Amazon Store link under Shop in the menu above.]

5. Beauty Products

What every woman starts to notice are the changes in her skin. I’m telling ya, it happens so quickly. From age spots to pimples and skin discoloration that never goes away, to the inevitable wrinkle (eek!), your skin changes literally overnight. That means you need new products.

BUT… before you reach for that anti-aging cream, know that most products on the market are hormone disruptors. From your hair products, moisturizers, makeup, and bathing products, you will need a complete overhaul (the earlier you can do this in your life, the better (looking at you, GenZ)). I highly recommend Pacifica Beauty (see their link under the Shop tab in the menu). Their products are vegan and almost everything they sell is the answer to a healthier you.

I have spent the last 4 years sans makeup to help my skin heal. Pacifica Beauty has been a huge part of that journey. I use almost all of their products. I like to use Pore Warrior Everyday Lotion as the base, and top it with Vegan Collagen Every Day Lotion SPF 30. Glow Baby is a great vitamin C cleanser. I use their hairspray and their makeup (when I use makeup).

I spent a lot of money on luxury makeup and nothing worked. It wouldn’t even go onto my skin correctly. Pacifica Beauty was the only makeup that was perfect for my skin. Their website is literally my one stop shop for buying beauty products that are good for me.

I highly suggest doing a complete overhaul of all of your bath and beauty products and focus on vegan products that are not hormone disruptors.

6. Perfumes

Be careful with perfumes. This can be a huge hormone disruptor. Pacifica Beauty has their own line. But there are also scented oils that are popular in European and African countries that work far better than eau de toilettes and perfumes. They won’t disrupt your hormones, so be on the lookout for those.

7. Hair Care for Hair Loss

This is probably the most important item on this list because so many suffer from hair loss and balding. Pacifica Beauty’s Rosemary Purify is your answer. All of your hair care products are hormone disruptors. Rosemary Purify helps with hair loss. After a month, you will start to notice new growth.

For some women, they notice immediately. I have a friend who suffers from hair loss worse than I do. She noticed the changes in my hair and asked me what I was doing differently. She immediately bought all of the Rosemary Purify products. A week later, her sister ran into her and asked what she was doing differently, because she noticed her hair looked so much better. She bought her sister a complete set, as well. So it is not just you who will notice, people who see you every day will notice. [see link under the Shop tab in the menu to go directly to Pacifica Beauty’s website.]

Another thing I use along with the Rosemary Purify collection is a home remedy.

ROSEMARY & MINT WATER: Bring a pot of water to boil with a few sprigs of rosemary and mint. When the water becomes fragrant, turn off the heat. Remove the rosemary and mint. Wait for the water to cool and put the water in a spray bottle. Before bed, spray some of the water onto your scalp. Massage the water into your scalp. That’s it. Just forewarning you that this is very fragrant. While it smells good, some people may not like the fragrance.

Note: When using rosemary products, it is important to use the Rosemary Apple Cider Scalp Detox Tonic from Pacifica Beauty. Using hair products creates buildup (think congestion). You need to let your scalp breathe, so it can start new growth. Use the Detox Tonic every other day.

8. Collagen

I use Primal Kitchen Collagen Peptides (Unflavored). I sneak this into smoothies and soups. Since there’s no flavor, it just adds a little extra creaminess to the dish/drink. Collagen helps with hair, skin, and nails.

9. Meditation

Your mental health is just as important today as it is any day. Take some time out every morning and practice silence and self-reflection. Hormonal shifts can lead to a variety of different emotions that we do not want to feel (like anger).

If you experience anxiety (like I do), sometimes this occurs during a hormonal drop. I never had anxiety until about a year ago. This always occurred when I felt a hormonal drop. Practicing meditation helped me to work through that anxiety. If you’re doing everything else above, you will find that the anxiety starts to dissipate when you get your hormones back on track. But there are times when you have no control, and that hormonal drop will start the anxiety up again.

Believe it or not, Matthew Lucifer (the Maine Coon) taught me how to manage my anxiety. I was having an anxiety issue one night when I was trying to sleep. He sensed it and came over to me. He grabbed my wrist, put it against his neck, and started purring. It was like he was telling me to focus on the purring and breathe with him. Three minutes later, my heart rate was back to normal.

What this taught me was that the key to getting my anxiety under control was to focus on my breathing. I use meditation podcasts when I can’t get my heart rate down. I focus on ones that have a breathing exercise at the beginning. Within a few minutes, the heart rate is back to normal. It doesn’t matter where I am, if I am having an episode, I focus on me, not what other people might think. That is practicing self-care.

At Home

One thing you will be surprised to discover is that there are things around us in our home that can disrupt our hormones. How we clean, the detergents we use, and the air fresheners we plug-in can cause a hormonal imbalance. Even our mattresses can have a layer of formaldehyde on it that can disrupt your hormones.

USE green products to clean. Do not be fooled by products that are not 100% green. Use only products from reputable green companies. Clorox may say that their product is Green, but they don’t have to tell you the percentage of it that is not eco-friendly. I recommend using companies like Thrive Market and Grove Collaborative to read the labels for you and take the guesswork out of the process of trying to figure out if this product is safe to use or not.

DO NOT USE air freshener plug-ins or scented candles. First, it’s not good for animals, and it’s definitely not good for your hormones. A work around is room sprays made by Caldrea and reed diffusers. Grove Collaborative has a whole section of safe air fresheners you can use. Caldrea is a favorite of mine. It’s the only spray my Maine Coon loves (and he doesn’t run when he sees the spray bottle – it’s like he looks forward to smelling the fragrance).

USE eco-friendly laundry detergents and wool dryer balls. I use Stoneworks laundry detergent pods in Rose Petal or Method’s laundry pods, and Friendsheep wool dryer balls. Invest in a set of dark and light wool dryer balls. They last 5+ years. This saves you from buying dryer sheets that have perfumes and chemicals on it that could disrupt your hormones (and cause damage to your dryer). You can add your favorite essential oil to the wool dryer balls when you want to add a little bit of fragrance to your laundry. [You can find these products in the At Home-Apartment Living tab in my Amazon Store link in the menu above.]

USE eco-friendly products to wash your dishes, clean your home, and clean your carpets. I can’t even begin to tell you how horrible toxic cleaners are to your health. Not only are people with cancer sensitive to toxic cleaners, but you will find that the history of bleach in the home is what started a lot of cancers, and eventually the changes in our bodies, generation after generation to now seeing so many children with autism and childhood cancers. Blame the toxic cleaner that was introduced into the home, not the falsified report on vaccines. You can read more about it in Green This! Volume 1: Greening Your Cleaning. You’ll learn a lot about how toxic cleaners changed our DNA after it was introduced into the home.

Hey, even the vet told me to green my cleaning after she discussed Matthew’s allergies, just in case it was a toxic cleaner, and not seasonal allergies. I was instantly able to rule that one out, because we do not use toxic cleaners in our home.

Wow, Right?

I know. This is a lot to take in. I had to learn quickly what I needed to do when everything changed. So bookmark this page and come back to it. Print it out. I tried to make things easy to find in my Amazon shop. Pacifica Beauty is beyond amazing. I’ve seen instant healthy changes every single time I try a new product. I can’t speak enough great things about the products available there.

As you go through these changes in life, you will need to find what makes you feel better. Do I get hot flashes? In the beginning, I did. Do I get night sweats? Only when my hormones are not balanced.

What helped? Everything I mentioned above. I am month four into the menopause phase. I was feeling the symptoms like crazy in the very beginning. I went to my doctor for my annual physical and we focused on the labs from the bloodwork to see what needed to be my focus. I incorporated the vitamins, exercise, and a diet that is moving towards being 100% plant based.

Within two weeks, I noticed the changes. No more night sweats and hot flashes. The brain fog started to dissipate. My body wasn’t in pain anymore. I could actually move a little faster since I was not in pain (i.e. I could finally keep better pace with my friends). The anxiety is a little more under control now that I’m aware that I was suffering from it (and what triggered it).

You can find all of the products I’ve listed above at either the Amazon Store or the Pacifica Beauty website, both of which are linked under the Shop tab in the menu above.

If you’ve found something that works, comment below, because there are many women that need to try the things that are working for others. But I recommend visiting your doctor first for an annual physical. They can go over what they see from your bloodwork and show you what you need to focus on to get to better. For instance, my bloodwork discovered anemia, pre-diabetic, and high cholesterol. I even got to see what my blood cells contained (and it was not a good report). Really looking at that report helped me to see where the hormonal imbalances were happening so I could focus on those areas, while maintaining the others.

I recommend starting with your doctor first and then building a program that will work for you.