What is Perimenopausal Rage and What Can You Do About It?
Peri-menopause is a term that refers to the hormonal transition into menopause. This often happens between the ages 35 and 55, when a woman starts to ovulate less and less frequently causing a variety of changes in hormonal signalling. These signal changes often lead to a significant drop in the feel good hormone progesterone and continuous fluctuation in estrogen. The result is a variety of symptoms such as insomnia, night sweats, hot flashes, weight gain, fatigue, and for many women….RAGE! A study in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience in 2008 stated that irritability is the primary mood complaint of 70% of women in perimenopause. The trouble with this is that it is not just any irritability. Women in my practice often describe it as anger or even rage, and state that it can come out of nowhere and is often not proportional to the situation. Women also state that it is VERY challenging to control and is so extreme that it can hurt others in their lives. If this goes on unidentified and untreated it can negatively affect relationships with their partner, their children, colleagues, etc…
So…what can be done about it?
#1 Get your hormones tested:
Perimenopause can come with a range of hormonal imbalances. Though the most common cause of irritability and anger in Perimenopause is high estrogen and low progesterone, I have seen women with high progesterone, low estrogen and high or low testosterone as well. If a woman is treated (especially using hormones) without knowing what is actually the problem, the imbalance could be made worse! TEST DON’T GUESS!
#2 Try Bioidentical Progesterone:
The most common cause of hormonal symptoms in Perimenopause is low progesterone, and in some cases very high estrogen. This results in what we like to call, “Estrogen Dominance.” The best way to fix estrogen dominance and the symptoms that come with it is to decrease the gap between the estrogen and progesterone in the body. By increasing progesterone, using bioidentical progesterone (which looks identical to the progesterone that the body produces naturally) the imbalance can be quickly corrected, relieving unwanted symptoms like RAGE.
#3 Help the Body Break Down the Excess Estrogen
It often isn’t enough to increase progesterone in Preimenopause. Most of the time high Estrogen levels and issues with estrogen breakdown can cause some of the symptoms to persist. That is why it is important to give the body what it needs to breakdown estrogen in a healthy way, and eliminate it appropriately from the body. Things like DIM (diindolylmethane), calcium d glucarate, milk thistle and rosemary are just some options that can help.
#4 Clean up your diet
Alcohol, Sugar and excess caffeine make a huge impact on your hormones, especially estrogen. Just a few glasses of wine could increase bad estrogen levels, worsening estrogen dominance symptoms. Alcohol and too much caffeine can also tax your liver preventing your body from being able to break estrogen down properly. Lastly, refined sugar results in inflammation that throws everything out of whack!
These are just some options that can help with irritability, mood swings and even rage in perimenopause. There are many options, and every woman is different. For appropriate assessment and an individualized approach, come in for a consultation. I would love to work with you to help you feel like yourself again.
Dr. Lisa Maddalena, ND
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