“I am 48 years old, in menopause and it seems like once a year I go through this itching stage to the point that I break out in hives. Have you heard of this and what can you do about it?”
At 48, big changes are happening in your body. As you go through the menopause transition, you may notice a lot of symptoms including differences to your cycles like longer or heavier cycles, lack of sex drive, and skin problems like itchy skin, dry skin and vaginal dryness.
The reason for this is that your estrogen is declining. When we are fertile, our ovaries make the majority of the estrogen we produce. Once we begin menopause, our adrenal glands take over most of the hormone production. Our adrenal glands are our major stress hormone producers, so when they have to take over with reproductive hormones as well, they often aren’t able to make as much or in the right times.
This leads to a decline in all sex hormones, but especially estrogen. When estrogen is in balance, we feel:
- juicy and lubricated in our joints, vagina and skin
- able to roll with any stressful situation that might arise with ease
- well rested from sleeping deeply at night
- sexy and ready for the no-pants-dance
- clear and focused without foggy brain
Estrogen regulates our levels of skin-smoothing collagen, and so the itchiness and dryness comes with low estrogen. The hives may be the result of an inflammatory reaction as your body adapts to changing hormone levels.
It is also possible that time of year (i.e.: allergy season) or specific foods could cause hives.
What can you do about it?
1. Take note of the time each year this happens and track how you’re feeling. This will go a long way to seeing if it’s environmental, stress-related, cyclical with your cycle or linked to specific foods or activities.
2. You can also try gently increasing your estrogen naturally with phyto-estrogen foods. You can use ground flax, chia and pumpkin seeds liberally for this purpose. Or try seed-cycling, which balances both estrogen and progesterone. Some black cohosh, red clover or motherwort tea may also be helpful.
3. With your diet, try to include more anti-inflammatory foods like leafy greens, the seeds above, oily fish, non-starchy vegetables, berries and other high-colour foods. Healthy fats like butter or ghee, coconut oil, olive oil and the oils from the seeds mentioned above are fantastic.
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