By Dr Anita Sturnham, GP
An internationally renowned doctor specialising in dermatology and anti-ageing medicine
Uterine bleeding problems.
With less progesterone to regulate the growth of the endometrium (lining of the womb) the uterine lining may become thicker before it is shed, resulting in very heavy periods. Periods also become more irregular due to the fluctuations in hormone levels and a change in the cycle of hormones.
Up to 30% of women going through perimenopause will experience mood-related signs. This may be linked to the significant stressful life events that many of us are exposed to as we reach this stage of life. For many women, menopause provokes emotions around no longer having periods and being able to conceive and the physical signs that one may experience secondary to hormone deficiency can also cause concern. In addition to this, sex hormones are closely connected to our brain health and neurotransmitters. For example, Oestrogen is needed to produce Tryptophan, which is converted into Serotonin, ‘our feel good’ hormone and also Melatonin, our sleep hormone.
The change in hormones often goes hand in hand with some adrenal fatigue and mitochondrial dysfunction (your energy producing cells). I recommend taking a targeted supplement that addresses these needs with gut friendly live bacteria, adaptogens, digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals that support healthy hormone balance, such as magnesium, Vitamin B6, thiamine and iodine and Omega 3 DHA to support brain function.
Brain fog and memory issues
Many women complain of short-term memory problems and difficulty concentrating during the menopausal transition. Oestrogen interacts with both the cholinergic and serotonergic systems which are the main brain systems involved in normal cognitive functioning. DHEA is needed to make acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for memory and learning. Deficiencies in these hormones can therefore lead to memory issues.
Many women report weight gain in the perimenopause and menopausal period. There are a number of reasons why this can occur. We know that women are more likely to become Insulin resistant, which can alter sugar metabolism and lead to weight gain. We also know that our fatty tissue can convert androgens into a less potent form of oestrogen called estrone. The theory is that as the body starts producing less oestrogen in our ovaries, accumulation of fatty tissue can help to support estrone production and boost oestrogen levels elsewhere in the body.