Menopause & Perimenopause

Written by Melanie Dixon

Common Symptoms

Psoriasis is a whole-body inflammatory condition that is so much more than skin deep. People with psoriasis often experience symptoms including:

  • Skin plaques that can be large or small, smooth or scaly, red or white, depending on which type of psoriasis you have
  • Food sensitivities
  • Other auto-immune conditions such as Coeliac disease, thyroid auto-immunity and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetes and heart disease
  • Depression

Common Causes

Conventional medicine often views psoriasis as just a skin condition, but psoriasis is actually an auto-immune condition, meaning that part of the body’s own immune system becomes confused and attacks normal tissues in the body.

  • Poor Digestion & Leaky Gut undigested protein can create toxins that get into the body through the gut lining, causing the immune system to react
  • Yeast Overgrowth a yeast infection in the gut called Candida is quite common in those with psoriasis
  • Nutritional Deficiencies are seen in psoriasis, particularly of omega-3 fats (found in fish and some nuts and seeds), vitamin D, B12, selenium and fibre

Certain food sensitivities are also linked to psoriasis, especially gluten, nightshades (red peppers, aubergine and tomatoes) and alcohol. Stress, sunburn and anything that affects the immune system can also cause flare-ups.

Menopause & Perimenopause

Menopause is the life phase that begins one year after your last period and is a completely natural part of a woman’s hormonal development, just like getting your first period. Perimenopause is the two to twelve years leading up to this, when you’ll begin to experience symptoms as a result of hormonal changes. Menopause usually happens between the ages of 45-55, and perimenopause usually starts between the ages of 40 and 44.

Typically, we talk about ‘going through menopause’ but menopause is actually more like the destination, and perimenopause is the journey there, with all of its ups and downs. Along this journey, you’ll experience changes in your cycles. The symptoms that typically accompany these changes will often reduce once your body has had a chance to adapt, but there are also plenty of things you can do to support your body through this transition.

Early Menopause

Early menopause (defined as menopause before the age of 45) affects about 1-5% of women, and is often a result of genetics, surgeries or cancer treatments. If you think you might be going through early menopause, speak to your doctor if your periods stopped or have been coming less often for the past 4 months.

What changes to expect with Perimenopause

What are some of the signs you’re entering perimenopause?

  • Changes in your period including a heavier or longer flow, shorter cycles (less than 25 days between periods) and increased menstrual cramps
  • Changes in your body such as weight gain without changes in your usual exercise or eating habits, sore or swollen breasts and migraine headaches
  • Changes in your hormones which can lead to symptoms such as night sweats, waking up in the night and mood swings

You may not get all of these symptoms, but any three of these changes can be a sign you’re entering perimenopause. You may want to contact your GP or a Functional Medicine practitioner who can advise you on treatment options.

Symptoms of Perimenopause & Menopause

Your nervous system has to adapt to your changing hormones during perimenopause, which can be a bit tricky, and you’ll likely experience some of the following signs and symptoms

  • Hot flashes and heart palpitations
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety, depression and mood swings
  • Insomnia, sleep disturbances and night sweats
  • Possible allergy-like symptoms such as brain fog, hives and nasal congestion
  • Vaginal dryness and increased likelihood of UTI (Urinary Tract Infections)
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Low libido

The good news is that these symptoms won’t last forever, and menopause itself is often a much calmer phase than perimenopause.

Common Signs

Without even noticing, it’s completely normal to lose between 50-100 strands of hair every day, especially when brushing or washing your hair. If you’re worried that you’re losing more hair than this, it’s advisable to see your GP. Common signs that your hair loss isn’t normal are:

  • Gradual thinning on top of the head
  • Hair that’s easy to pull out or comes out in clumps
  • Bald patches
  • Loss of body hair
  • Itching or burning of the scalp

Common Causes

  • Tight hairstyles and chemical treatments 
  • Age
  • Family history 
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress or trauma
  • Sudden weight loss 
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Health conditions, after an illness or cancer
  • Medications, chemotherapy or radiation treatment

Top Tips for Perimenopause & Menopause

Slow down and look after yourself. Make more time to rest and relax. You may want to consider taking up meditation or booking a yoga class.
Reduce or eliminate alcohol as it stops us from properly processing our hormones and can make symptoms worse.
Consider taking some supportive supplements – have a look at our article Herbs for HRT – Botanicals to Support You Through The Menopause.

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