Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Beauty Bazaar -

Mood swings like you’re a teenager again. A feel­ing of brain fog. About as much in­ter­est in sex as in do­ing your taxes. The one thing these shock­ingly var­ied woes share? Fluc­tu­at­ing hor­mones. “Your body is a finely tuned hor­monal sym­phony,” says in­te­gra­tive physi­cian Tami Meraglia, au­thor of The Hor­mone Se­cret, and con­se­quently, even very slight changes can yield enor­mous side ef­fects.

“Some­where in your mid-30s to early 40s, lev­els of key hor­mones shift as the body pro­gresses through per­i­menopause to­ward menopause,” says Sara Got­tfried, an in­te­gra­tive physi­cian and the au­thor of The Hor­mone Reset Diet. Ev­ery woman is dif­fer­ent, but the ex­perts agree that di­etary sup­ple­ments and bioiden­ti­cal hor­mones can be ef­fec­tive tools.

Un­for­tu­nately, hor­mones can rise and dip dra­mat­i­cally over the course of six months, says Mary Jane Minkin, a clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of ob­stet­rics and gy­nae­col­ogy at the Yale School of Medicine. What’s more, you can have lev­els that fall within the “nor­mal” range but still suf­fer dra­matic side ef­fects, notes Meraglia. Ask your doc­tor for blood tests to de­ter­mine your lev­els, but re­peat them once you’ve had treat­ment and feel bet­ter so that you know “what your lev­els are when they are op­ti­mised,” says in­ternist Erika Schwartz, au­thor of Don’t Let Your Doc­tor Kill You. Here, a hor­mone cheat sheet.


“THE PEACEKEEPER” This is the hor­mone that starts to dip first as you age, says Meraglia. Some­times called the Val­ium of the fe­male mind, pro­ges­terone can cause you to feel in­creas­ingly anx­ious, frus­trated, and short-tem­pered when lev­els dip. Sink­ing lev­els can also cause in­som­nia, and since pro­ges­terone has a nat­u­ral di­uretic ef­fect, a lack of it can leave you feel­ing per­pet­u­ally bloated. Hor­mone ther­apy (ei­ther bioiden­ti­cal or tra­di­tional) can help. But sup­ple­ments may also give sig­nif­i­cant re­lief, says Got­tfried, who sug­gests 750 mil­ligrams a day of vi­ta­min C or 500 to 1,000 mil­ligrams of chaste­berry.

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