Anxiety in perimenopause can take you by surprise. Sometimes it’s brand new: you’ve never been an anxious person before, and you might not even know what’s happening. Or maybe anxiety has been part of your life for a long time, but all of a sudden you’re in your 40s or 50s and it’s much worse.
Midlife anxiety can also come and go, following the rollercoaster of your shifting hormones, and that makes it hard to get a handle on it. Coping with anxiety while you’re also dealing with the rest of perimenopause, parenting, your busy life, and being a human in this complicated world can feel really, really overwhelming.
I work with anxiety in perimenopause using treatments personalized to you and your individual experience. Acupuncture and East Asian medicine (including herbal/supplement suggestions and very simple nervous system supports) help stabilize your nervous system and the hormonal flux so you can get your smile back.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Perimenopause
If you’re suffering from anxiety-related symptoms such as:
- Frequent worry
- Anxious thoughts
- Racing heart
- Chest tightness
- Panicky feelings
- Tight muscles
- Disturbed sleep
I’d love to help you feel better. Reach out for a free 15 minute phone consultation by calling 512.640.9778 or clicking here to schedule online.
Migraines are painful, draining, and sometimes alarming. They can derail your whole day, or worse. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of migraines and specifically, a lot of perimenopause migraines.
Perimenopause migraines can show up a few ways. You might be someone with a history of migraines that have gotten worse in perimenopause, or it might be that they were never a problem until recently. They might arrive like clockwork, premenstrually, or the timing and triggers might be random.
No matter what the pattern, the rapidly shifting hormone levels of perimenopause can trigger or worsen migraine symptoms. If you’re suffering from any of the following:
- Cycle-related migraines
- Stress-related migraines
- Jaw tension that leads to migraines
- Migraines with nausea, dizziness, or visual disturbances
- Migraines with no rhyme or reason whatsoever
I’d love to help you feel better so migraines aren’t ruling your life! Your symptoms are a request from your body for attention.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine look at those symptoms in order to identify patterns of imbalance in your body, then work to correct those patterns. (Your body is fully capable of it! But life can get in the way, and we all need a helping nudge sometimes.)
Your discovery call is free. Let’s talk and see if it’s a good fit.
Hot flashes are menopause’s dubious claim to fame, and finding hot flash treatment can be difficult. Up to 80% of people going through perimenopause and menopause will have hot flashes or night sweats, and pretty much everyone has heard of them.
The stereotype of someone stripping clothes off during a staff meeting may seem extreme, but sometimes a hot flash really feels that way! A rush of heat comes on suddenly, often in your chest and head. You might sweat. If you’re sleeping, you might wake up soaked. After the heat passes, you might feel cold. (Yes, cold flashes are a thing!)
Most hot flashes go away within minutes. Since they happen due to a lack of regulation in our hypothalamus (a region of the brain that controls our inner thermostat), you might feel cold afterward.
People joke about hot flashes, but they can be severe (up to 30 times a day) and have a huge negative impact on quality of life. They often get better post-menopause, but not always. Even when they’re relatively mild, they’re not fun.
Hot Flash Treatment
I actually love treating hot flashes because it usually doesn’t take much to gently tweak that inner thermostat back toward a more comfy middle balance. Acupuncture and herbs are pretty brilliant at this. They effects are often long-lasting, and I can help even if you’re also taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during perimenopause and menopause.
So if you’re sick of dealing with hot flashes, cold flashes, night sweats, and sensitivity to temperature, I’d love to help you feel better. Set up a free 15 minute phone consultation to discuss your hot flash treatment by clicking here.
Perimenopause insomnia is a big problem, and one not often discussed. But it often follows patterns that can be corrected. When people tell me they can’t sleep, I ask if they’re waking up at the same time every night. Most of them answer “Somewhere between 1-3 am.”
ESPECIALLY in perimenopause. During midlife, that time window is just a total jerk about letting you sleep.
So what’s up with the 1-3 am waking? In Chinese medicine, these hours correspond to the liver and its physical and emotional functions. It’s pretty easy (and very common) to piss off your liver, but the good news is it’s also pretty easy to give it support.
Understanding Perimenopause Insomnia
If you’re waking often between 1-3 am and can’t get back to sleep, take a look at these four areas:
- Are you stressed? Especially if stress tends to make you irritable? If so, working on managing your stress response can have a positive ripple effect on sleep.
- Are you busy? Is your head dancing with to do lists? The liver likes to plan, so help it out by jotting down any nagging tasks at bedtime, and reassuring yourself you’ll get to them tomorrow.
- Are you still? As in, you’re not moving your body a lot? The liver likes to MOVE, baby, it likes to dance. Try getting some exercise (it doesn’t have to be intense, and it should be something you enjoy) and
- Are you hot? Hot flashes and night sweats often peak during these hours. Make sure your bedroom is cool and use fans strategically to keep your body temp lower.
If you’re still having perimenopause insomnia, acupuncture does such an amazing job at supporting sleep, as well as addressing any underlying issues, such as stress or hot flashes. I work with this all the time, and would be happy to help you get some zzzzzz. Click here to set up a free, no-pressure chat.
Fertility is a numbers game, and when you’re trying to get pregnant, you have to get those numbers exactly right. Or…do you really? My experience from years of fertility acupuncture tells me you don’t.
There Are No Magic Numbers
Twenty-eight days isn’t a magic number for a menstrual cycle. Three months isn’t a magic number for improving egg quality.
Here’s what I tell my fertility acupuncture patients, whether they’re trying to conceive on their own or using assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF or IUI.
It’s helpful if your period arrives regularly, especially if you’re working to conceive naturally. It makes it easier to track your fertile window, and irregular cycles can indicate an underlying pattern that needs attention.
And yes, egg quality is important for optimizing fertility. Chromosomal errors in eggs are one of the most common causes of early miscarriage or failed IVF cycles. It’s true that the full maturation cycle of an egg takes about 3 months, which is why you hear that number as the ideal time to begin working on egg quality before trying to conceive.
But, often good enough is good enough.
If you know when you’re ovulating, it’s okay if your period doesn’t show up exactly every 28 days. If your IVF cycle is in a month instead of three months, there’s still time to work on egg quality with fertility acupuncture.
Positive changes can happen quickly, with small tweaks – and I know that because I’ve seen it happen with so many people!
Fertility Acupuncture Helps
Acupuncture, supplements or herbs, and small lifestyle shifts can all have a BIG impact on increasing circulation to the uterus and ovaries, correcting underlying issues, and supporting your fertility.
I want you to know that there is hope. You have the power to make changes, you have options, and you have support along the way. If you’re in Austin, Texas and would like support with your fertility journey, you can set up a free phone consultation or an initial session here.
I love working with pregnant people! Acupuncture helped me so much during my difficult pregnancy that it became the original focus of my Austin, Texas clinic.
I often get asked how often people should come in during pregnancy, so here’s an overview of my Healthy Pregnancy Plan.
🌱 Early pregnancy 🌱 Weekly treatment until around 12 weeks. This helps establish a healthy foundation and minimizes early symptoms like nausea and fatigue. For anyone with a history of pregnancy loss, weekly treatment is especially valuable.
🌱 Middle pregnancy 🌱 Past 12 weeks, if you’re feeling good and everyone is healthy, we switch to once a month. The treatment focus now is to keep everything growing well and address any bothersome symptoms. If needed (for example, if you’re anxious, not sleeping, or still really tired) we can choose more frequent visits until you feel better.
🌱 Late pregnancy 🌱 For anyone interested in labor preparation treatments, we switch back to weekly visits beginning at 36/37 weeks. This helps get your body ready to give birth. Weekly visits are also fantastic for back, hip, and pelvic pain that often shows up in the final weeks.
Of course, not everyone gets started right at the beginning! No matter where you are, pregnancy acupuncture is a safe, super effective way to help you and your baby thrive. If you’re in the Austin, Texas area and interested in learning more, please click here to set up a free discovery call.
At the end of January, my journey through perimenopause ended when I officially reached menopause. On that day, I felt such a split between my personal reaction (celebration!) and how it felt when I chose to share that news (I felt shame, like I’m not supposed to talk about having or not having periods, even though THAT’S WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING.)
If you’re curious to hear more about my thoughts on that sneaky shame response, I talked about it over on Instagram!
But today I want to share with you five of the realities I learned during the time I was in perimenopause.
1) The transition into menopause can last longer than you think and start earlier than you think. The average is 4-7 years, but for me, it was closer to a decade and started when I was in my early 40s. That is not out of the ordinary!
2) What perimenopause feels like changes all the time. Many people will have changes in mood, energy, sleep, libido, physical endurance, body shape, or body temperature well before they ever miss a period. And there might be long stretches that feel pretty normal, but you can swing from normal to “OMG what is happening?” in the space of a few days.
3) Perimenopausal rage is REAL. I won’t ever forget the night I felt so angry that I left my house at midnight and spent an hour driving around town, blasting my most pissed off playlist. I don’t remember WHY I was angry, and I know it wasn’t anything major. But it felt like fire.
4) It gets better. My hot flashes are occasional now, my sleep is improving, and my mood is more stable. Research shows that for most of us, those improvements keep going as we head into our post-menopausal years. I feel liberated and excited to embrace my crone years!
5) Knowledge is a release from fear. Those 10 years weren’t always comfortable. But I wasn’t afraid, because I had the advantage of training that taught me what was happening, and I had acupuncture and Chinese herbs to support me through the most bothersome symptoms.
Thanks to silence around midlife and aging, a lot of people don’t have that knowledge. So many people arrive at my clinic afraid, thinking they’re broken or sick, or that they’ll never feel better again. If this resonates: you aren’t broken. You can and will feel better.
If you or anyone in your life is struggling with perimenopause, I’d be happy to help. I work with women in Austin, TX and the surrounding areas. Book a free call and we can chat and see if it’s a good fit.
Here’s to my crone years, and to yours as well, whether now or in the future. Here’s to power in midlife and redefining what it means to get older. Cheers!
It would be SUPER NICE if one day you just never had a period again, but yeah…that isn’t how it goes for most people. Menopause is talked about as an event, but it’s really a process. That includes what happens with our periods.
Your cycles might get shorter, coming as often as every 2-3 weeks.
Your cycles might get longer, not showing up for well over a month.
You might sometimes have a normal cycle length, around 28 days.
You might skip months entirely.
You might randomly spot all month long, with or without an actual period.
You might pingpong through all of these.
When things are winding down, you might even come close to the magic 1 year mark without a period, only to wake up bleeding one day.
This can be a pain in the ass. To some extent, it can be managed using holistic or conventional therapies. But hormonal fluctuation is part of the process, and therefore so are wacky cycles.
If your period is changing a lot, I encourage you to talk to you doctor and make sure all is well. This is ESPECIALLY true if your period has been gone for over a year and then returns — this is a possible red flag that should be looked at as soon as possible.
Note: this is Part 2 in a series that will bust some common myths about menopause and midlife hormone changes. To read Part 1, click here.
I hear this ALL the time: “My periods are super weird and I’m hot at night and I just don’t feel like myself, but my doctor said I’m too young for menopause.”
Here’s the thing: there’s menopause, and then there’s PERIMENOPAUSE. Menopause is when your period goes away and stays gone for 12 consecutive months. Average age for that to happen? 51 years old.
Perimenopause is the whole phase BEFORE that, when hormones begin to shift, and that can last for . . . up to 10 years. Yeah. (I’m sorry.)
So doctors are right that it would be unusual for a person in their late 30s or early 40s to go through actual menopause. But could all those new symptoms be part of perimenopause? TOTALLY. Irregular periods, periods that are much heavier or more painful than usual, weight gain, irritability, weepiness, brain fog, hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue: all are possible.
If you feel like something is changing in your body, it probably is. You know yourself better than anyone else, and I want you to NEVER let anyone tell you that what you feel is imaginary or insignificant.
The good news is that there are lots of options for managing the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause: diet, exercise, acupuncture, botanical medicine, supplements, stress management, and hormone replacement can all be super helpful. So: trust yourself, and don’t suffer.
I offer support for women during perimenopause and menopause in my Austin, Texas clinic as well as through online health consultations. To book a free discovery call and see if it’s a good fit, click here.