Your Cart

No items in your cart

The Hormone Gap: Perimenopause Explained

Why is perimenopause so awful for so many women? What quietly breaks my heart is that women experience such a wide range of symptoms when their hormones start to change, that they can end up divorced, out of a job, have to switch to part time, feeling terrible about themselves and utterly miserable. And the worst part? Many women have NO IDEA what is going on. We are not educated about menopause, and we can all experience it so differently that it can be hard to figure out what the heck is going on - especially when doctors often offer little help, and the internet is rife with misinformation.

Your Hormones in Perimenopause

Our two key monthly hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is made primarily in the ovary; progesterone is made primarily from the sack that surrounds an egg after it is released at ovulation.

From late teens to around 35 – these two hormones are (a) in balance and (b) we have sufficient amounts of them. True, there may be a bit of an imbalance in the last few days before a period starts – we know the term for that - Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). But, in general we have a sufficiency of both of these key hormones.

The Role of Stress in Perimenopause

From age 35(ish) onwards we start to have cycles now and again where there is no ovulation. This can be an age-related decline BUT it can also be due to the impacts of stress and a diet that is high in simple carbohydrates. When we get stressed we tend to crave sugary foods for the energy boost they will provide. We busy women are not to blame in this – we work, we have kids (often doing most of the heavy lifting with these kiddies), we run households, we volunteer, we are chauffeurs, we grocery shop, we often manage on super tight budgets. We know eating out isn’t the healthiest option but without a housekeeper and in-home cook (no-one has these) who really has the time to prepare nutritious meals that can be eaten on the go?

While we should expect more from our partners, society around us, and our doctors… The reality is - this stuff needs to get done. If you are not able to adjust your work schedule, find me-time, and establish a good work/life balance, then you are on the hamster wheel to hormone insufficiency.

Understanding Hormone Insufficiency


Back to the hormone insufficiency story...

When we have more and more cycles where we don’t ovulate, then we don’t make enough progesterone. We still make PLENTY of estrogen though. This situation is known as estrogen dominance – but it should really be called progesterone insufficiency. Estrogen is important for many things – but it needs to be balanced by progesterone. Estrogen unrestrained results in mood swings, weight gain on the hips, waist, and thighs, short cycles, loooong cycles, heavy periods, PMS, breast tenderness, fibrocystic breasts, fatigue, loss of sex drive, mood swings, depression, anxiety.

The Hormone Gap Between Estrogen and Progesterone

If we are not making progesterone anymore and we still have estrogen, then we have a gap – the hormone gap. Fortunately, we can close that gap. Millions of women have benefited from using progesterone cream to close that gap. We’re talking bioidentical progesterone here, not birth control pills. A doctor may prescribe birth control pills not as a contraceptive but as a method of reducing some of the symptoms - but these often come with side effects.

We’re here to tell you that there is another, less disruptive way. Perimenopausal women can use 25 mg of topical bioidentical progesterone per day for days 15-28 of their cycle. By replacing the missing progesterone, we can close that hormone gap. We have sufficient estrogen, we now have sufficient progesterone, and while it won’t get the house cleaned for you, it will go a long way to helping you manage your life without having to leave your job, your career, or driving your family to run for cover half of every month.

Being Ready for Menopause

The closer we get to menopause, the more we are going to benefit from adding back in some progesterone. While estrogen levels do start to drop eventually (bringing a whole other set of low estrogen symptoms), by the time we reach the menopause transition around age 50 we produce only the smallest amounts of progesterone from our adrenal glands. We have a whole blog on why progesterone is important here.

So, if you or someone you know is thrashing around through perimenopause, it’s time to close the hormone gap with Vibrant Third bioidentical progesterone.