Saturday, May 6, 2017

Navigating Perimenopause

By Dr. Nadine Cyr, ND

It has been referred to as “midlife metamorphosis”, the 10 years or so before the cessation of menses. Between the ages of 40 and 50, women experience hormonal changes as the body prepares to transition into menopause. How we experience this transitional journey is dependent on many factors: lifestyle, diet, liver health, thyroid function and adrenal status.

Some of the more common peri-menopausal symptoms include:


  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Increased irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings, anxiety, depression 
  • Decreased libido
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Hot flashes

The Adrenal Connection

While the range and severity of symptoms vary from one woman to another, there’s one key underlying factor that will ease or exacerbate perimenopause: adrenal status. As the ovaries decrease and eventually stop their production of estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone, the adrenal glands need to be able to take over hormonal production. Women who have experienced extended periods of high stress throughout their life as well as those who may be nutritionally deficient as a result of sub-optimal dietary habits are far more at risk of experiencing a challenging hormonal transition.


There are many signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue including:


  • Difficulty falling and/or staying sleep
  • Need for caffeine to get start and/or get through the day
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Insulin resistance, Sugar cravings
  • Foggy brain, poor memory
  • Depression, excessive worrying, anxiety, difficulty relaxing
  • Inability to cope with stressful events
  • Weight gain in abdominal region
  • Ringing in the ears, dizziness

Since the level of adrenal depletion will determine how challenging perimenopause will be, finding out one’s adrenal status (Salivary Adrenal Stress Index and DUTCH test) is an important part of this menopause preparation journey. Once the adrenal status is determined, the appropriate treatments, including vitamins, minerals, and botanicals may be used to support and restore the adrenals.

Perimenopause - A Time to Reflect and Reset


The pre-menopause journey provides a very important opportunity for women to pause and look at what’s working and what needs improving- self-care, lifestyle, relationships, diet, hormones, so that we may improve and build on the health that will sustain us for the rest of our lives. It truly is the perfect time to press the mental, emotional and physical health re-set button. 

Dr. Nadine Cyr is a Naturopathic Doctor at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus on women's health and pediatrics. She has been a Naturopathic Doctor for over seventeen years and is passionate about finding and treating the underlying causes of dis-ease. To book an appointment with Dr. Nadine Cyr, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727.