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Why stress, unexplained palpitations and anxiety happen at perimenopause time

Posted by Tabitha Fennell on 4 September 2018
Why stress, unexplained palpitations and anxiety happen at perimenopause time

So I've been doing some research on this thing called Perimenopause and I came across some information that totally spells out why we get these symptoms such as unexplained anxiety, palpitations along with feeling stressed and not sleeping well, not to mention the fatigue when really there is no real cause to feel this way.

Here is what our body is going through

*So estrogen levels begin to decrease and this sends a bio feedback signal to the brain, which then sources other estrogen from other areas of the body, affecting other organs. Then since the ovaries are not sending their usual feedback of estrogen to the kidneys or the adrenal and thyroid glands, the lower reptilian brain, the survival brain, responds to a perception that the body's under stress. Now it produces more stress hormones, which make the heart rate increase, which cause palpitations.  In response, the higher brain starts releasing stress hormones, with the adrenals pumping cortisol. This explains why women can feel nervous or have increased anxiety as menopause approaches, without any real explanation. This overload of stress hormones affects the ability for the body to relax and go to sleep at night, not allowing the body to have a restorative sleep and often waking at 3am unable to return to sleep and then you're exhausted the next day.

Sounding familiar?

But kind of relieving that we are not just making it up and that there is a very real hormonal process going on. I can also see that if we are leading a stressful, busy non stop life, that these symptoms will be exacerbated making us even more unbalanced. So the key here is to slow down, breathe and take away any extra stresses where possible within your life.

Alcohol, coffee, foods high in sugars plus hot spicy foods will just intensify these symptoms, so minimise or really it's just best to stay clear of them. It's now so important to drink 2 litres of water a day, consuming warm nourishing foods like soups and stews plus foods that are already half broken down will help the digestion and your energy. Taking time to chew while eating and trying not to eat on the run or eating while working. 

  • Exercise is a must but doing what we did 10 years ago to get fit will not help. We need to have a cardio workout in small regular intensities, like a good pace of walking with a few hills to get our heart beating. Running or a high intense cardio work out will drain us more than build us at this stage of life. Stretching is a must, several times a week and you can do this at home or at a gentle yoga stretch class or flex class. (Which I have just found at Mudgeeraba Firth Hall with Mark, it's amazing and so energizing, 5522 9375 Fitlife Martial Arts). Moving the qi and blood will help move the stagnation and improve all your organs vitality.
  • Meditation to lower anxiety and palpitations is now an essential part of life and it's in the earlier hours of the morning that a practice of this could really benefit these symptoms. Using this time for creative ventures is said to be an amazing thing to do instead of staring at the ceiling or tossing and turning.
  • Support is a huge key here, so talk to your good friends and reach out to therapist that specialises in this field for ways to transition through this phase a little less traumatically.

I always knew through my friends and clients what a big hormonal shift it is to transition into menopause but this explanation of the hormonal feedback loop just spells it out so clearly. It also makes it so clear to me why acupuncture is so amazing for this time of life. In Chinese Medicine the liver time is from 1-3am, with lung time coming after it from 3-5am, this is when the organs are doing their house cleaning so when the energy is disturbed you will wake. These organs also hold the emotions of anger and grief so it may be time to let any held in emotion flow out. Chinese herbs can also support your internal organs with this, helping you sleep better.

I'm so interested in what has helped you?

So let's get a conversation going that can support us all on this journey to eldership.

Best, Tabitha

*Tantric Sex and Menopause by Diana Richardson and Janet McGeever (a must read)

Author:Tabitha Fennell
About: Acupuncturist and Director of Studio Qi
Tags:fatiguechallengelibidohormoneschangedepressionanxiousanxietyexhaustedmeditationcalmingGold CoastinsomniachemicalsBurleighinspirationalbusiness womenlifestylemenopausehot flushesestrogenwomen's healthwomenperi menopausechinese herbsacupuncture

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