Today’s big idea is there are several types of professional practitioners who can help you address your perimenopause symptoms. I value Western medicine, I truly do, but there are some things where it’s not all that helpful. And women’s health and wellness is generally one of them.
Listen to the Podcast Here
For the first six months after my last period–although at that time I didn’t realize it was my last period, of course–my back was KILLING me.
One night in bed I started crying because there was just no position I could find that didn’t hurt. I talked to my Ob/Gyn about it, who is very smart and who I like and respect a lot. Ad asked if it could be part of my transition. Her eyes fluttered a little bit, like, what a silly thing I had just said. She was like, um, that sounds like a musculoskeletal issue.
After Jolinda and I stopped recording our interview–which aired yesterday and you should totally listen to, because she shared so much information on self-care for perimenopause symptoms. I told her about this experience. She said that estrogen is an anti-inflammatory, so since it had really declined by then, perhaps I was feeling a pre-existing musculoskeletal imbalance in a whole new way. Even knowing that piece would have helped me so much when I was going through it, instead of just feeling like I had somehow damaged my tissues.
To really get insight into what’s going on with your body and perhaps some actual relief, it might be that you have to seek someone outside the traditional medical paradigm to find it. (I DO believe in doctors, and in Western medicine, just to be clear.)
There are three types of practitioners that, in my experience, are well-suited to helping you through your hormonal transition.
The first is an acupuncturist
Acupuncture is great for things that Western medicine often struggles with, like fatigue, indigestion, swelling and bloating, and insomnia. An acupuncturist gets all up in your business during the initial intake. They look at your tongue, feel your pulse, ask you about your poops and your cycle and your sleep. And they will be able to make sense of your seemingly disparate symptoms and identify a specific energetic imbalance in the body that’s at the root of what you’re experiencing. Then they’ll insert tiny needles into the exact points on your body where your energy is getting stuck and get things flowing again. I think of it as getting a tune up.
I personally HATE needles and admit that I don’t enjoy the part where they are inserting them. But once they are finished and they leave me to relax on the table, I drift off in to a dreamy la la land where I can practically feel my body righting itself from the inside out. More and more acupuncturists are covered by insurance, or there are also community acupuncture centers in most cities where you can pay on a sliding scale.
The second is a nutritionist
Because your insulin levels start changing as you go through perimenopause, you might find that you can’t really eat the way you’ve always eaten and still feel good. You might be gaining weight, or you might be feeling bloated, gassy, and/or tired after your meals. Working with a nutritionist, or a doctor that really understands nutrition, like a naturopath or a functional medicine doctor, can really help you make sure you’re eating in such a way that your body can function at its best.
A naturopath or functional medicine doctor can also potentially prescribe supplements based on the results of your blood work to help you stay more in balance. I worked with a naturopath when my periods first started getting irregular and she really helped me stabilize by talking me through giving up gluten. I know if I hadn’t made that change my perimenopause symptoms would have been just exponentially more challenging. That naturopath saved my bacon!
An herbalist could also be very helpful
As plants contain medicinal compounds that many modern medicines are based on. I interviewed herbalist Kim Charlot of Eden’s leaves in episode 423. Check out that interview because she really shared some great insights about how to use herbs to support your whole being.
Daily Tiny Assignment
My overarching point is, you don’t have to endure these 4+ years of perimenopause symptoms on your own. Your tiny assignment is to ask yourself if it might be time to seek out some support for your own perimenopausal transition. Just sit quietly for a moment, think about whatever symptoms you may have been experiencing. And then ask one of my favorite questions–what do I most need right now? If the answer is support, give some thought to what modality appeals to you the most–acupuncture, a nutritionist, naturopath, or functional medicine doctor, or an herbalist.
And then do a little bit of research. An internet search, or texting a friend, or posting on social media media for a recommendation. There are so many people who undergo tons of training so that they can help people just like you with things just like what you are going through. If support is what you need, there’s a great fit out there for you.
Come back tomorrow, when I’m sharing the insights I’ve gleaned about perimenopause now that it is officially over for me. It’s good news, I promise.