PMS, Puberty, Menopause, Hormones, need I say more?
One of the issues you usually don’t consider when planning a family is the fact that having kids later in life will increase your chances of hitting peri- menopause and puberty at the same time.
Menopause itself may be a scary prospect. . .
But together, peri menopause and puberty envisages scenes of tears, slamming doors, shouting and grunting. . . and that’s just the mother!!!
Certainly as the mother of a pre-teen I have started to experience a big change in my daughter, one of the issues I struggled with initially was her push for independence;
wanting to go shopping without adult supervision, to the movies, and to meet her friends at the local café.
But little by little I have released by grip, trusted her and realized she is sensible and responsible.
We all know that teenagers become uncommunicative as they try to find their own independence and confidence. Peri menopause can also make you feel un-grounded as reproductive hormones fluctuate. This only makes it more difficult which to be reasonable and deal with teenage behaviour!
Peri menopause can start at 35 and last for (at most) 15 years. While we are experiencing a decline in reproductive hormones, your teenage daughter is experiencing the rise and establishment of ovulation/ menses.
The symptoms can be very similar. . .
- mood swings,
- sore breasts,
- hot flushes,
. . . I know it all sounds great – but it is the age of coping with adaptation.
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As a side note I thought it was funny to discover research from Psychologist, Karen Pine (of the University of Hertfordshire in the UK), where she has found that of the women in the later stages of their cycle (luteal phase before your period starts) two thirds made impulse purchases, mostly
JEWELLERY AND SHOES!
. . .She found that overall spending was : less controlled, and mainly due to intense emotions, stress and depression to cheer themselves up.
This can be attributed to surges and fluctuations in hormones which affect the part of the brain linked to emotions and inhibiting control
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Menopause aside, researchers have discovered that puberty is starting earlier;
The average age in the latter half of the twentieth century was 12.5, now a days it’s not uncommon for kids in Australia to start menstruating in years 5 and 6!
In some cases this is explained by:
- Faster weight gain: once a girl attains a certain percentage of body fat the leptin hormone is triggered, which stimulates the brain to switch on the cycle that leads to breast development, follicle stimulation and menstruation.
- Stress: Researchers have discovered girls living in stressful environments hit puberty earlier. Particularly girls exposed to marital breakdown and domestic violence were more likely to get their periods before girls in more secure home environments.
- Xenoestrogens in the environment, which means oestrogens that we are exposed to outside the body which have been introduced by chemical, agricultural and industrialization of our world, but that’s … a whole other topic.
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My beautiful Irish mother was constrained by her upbringing, and the social norms of being a teenager. When I came back from girl guide camp aged 11 and asked her what a period was, having seen older girls dealing with this, her answer at that stage was “ I’ll tell you when you are older”. Needless to say when my first period began at the age of 13 I thought I had injured myself on my bike, luckily I had two older sisters who eventually set me right, but it was scary and I didn’t understand what was going on.
So keep the lines of communication open, I usually find the best time to have a casual conversation is when we are driving as we are not face to face, or shopping, and by not asking direct questions.
With social media, our kids are more savvy than we are and usually learn from their peers. It’s still a time of anxiety and it’s important to give the impression that it is all a normal process to feel this way, and that we are very willing to talk about all aspects of “the change”.
Now I am lucky as I haven’t been too effected by, too many peri menopausal symptoms.
Stress makes peri menopausal symptoms much more extreme,
Due to the fact that physical, chemical and emotional stress is the body’s number one concern,
the nutrients and hormones that metabolize stress hormones are the precursors to reproductive hormones.
If your adrenal glands are fatigued (due to long term chronic stress) there is little left to produce female hormones,
by producing high cortisol (from the adrenal glands), the body “steals” from the production of progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone.
That steep decline in production of oestrogen and progesterone,
usually increases the severity of menopausal symptoms.
So. . . managing your stress and assisting the body to adapt to stress by specific nutrients and diet and lifestyle changes is the key! Before the roller coaster has started, this too will make it much easier to deal with your teenage daughter!!
I am determined to be reasonable and don’t want my daughter to experience changes that she is unprepared for.
Even as I grapple with fluctuating hormones my mantra will be ‘patience and perspective”, after all I was there once, it’s just that my changes are the opposite but still may have the same emotional connotations which I hope I will fully embrace and deal with!
Be kind to yourselves, and one another.
If you’re needing any support, or have questions about your hormones. . .