Your adrenals in perimenopause: The friends you would want to take out for a lovely walk
Did you know that as your ovaries start their journey towards menopause, your adrenal glands take over some of their roles?
The adrenal glands are endocrine organs that sits on top of our kidneys and produce a variety of hormones that have a strong influence on many aspects of our health and wellbeing.
As we know, perimenopause is the phase in our life leading to menopause. It can start as early as in our 30’s and can last even 10 – 15 years.
In this period, changes in our ovarian function can lead to significant hormonal fluctuation, not just intracycle but also in between cycles.
Despite regular periods, there can be months where ovulation does not occur, exacerbating an oestrogen dominant picture, where high oestrogen level is unopposed by progesterone. Or there can be months where oestrogen level is low, especially as we move closer to menopause.
What have our adrenal glands got to do this?
They can partially compensate for changes in our ovarian function by making precursor hormones for the secondary production of oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone.
But there is a catch!
Have you ever heard of fight and flight response? Yes, their primary role is to help us deal with stress through the production of adrenaline, noradrenalin and cortisol, so too much stress will inhibit their ability to support our ovaries.
It goes without saying that supporting our adrenals in paramount, in this period of our life, even more.
How can we love and cherish our adrenal glands?
Here are few tips:
1. Balance your diet: Ensure any of your meals is rich in high quality proteins and colourful vegetables and fruit. Don’t fear good, healthy fats and don’t forget fibre. Reduce refined and processed foods, they are empty calories aside from causing inflammation.
2. Exercise: Introduce restorative yoga practice in your routine, or pilates, or maybe a brisk walk with a friend. Exercise is key but balance is a must. Too much cardio activities can lead to increased cortisol production further impacting a situation of adrenal dysfunction.
3. Love yourself: Self-care is essential. Bring yourself to be peaceful and calm in this hectic world we live in and allow yourself permission to relax. Maybe have a warm bath, get lost in a book, meditate.
4. Sleep well and enough: And if it is not always possible, rest. Don’t get frustrated by the changing sleeping patterns, it will make them worse. Rosemary oil is my forever favourite to bring my mind back to sleep. Maybe lavender oil or a soothing herbal tea is what could work for you?
5. And don’t forget to address the triggers: Maybe there is something you can change to ensure you can manage your stress level? Stress is not always bad when we know how to balance ambition, means and goals (Eustress), without falling into distress or chronic stress.
A holistic approach is essential when seeking health and wellbeing. The best outcome can only come from a combination of nutrition and lifestyle changes and as you can see, balance in all aspects is key.