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The truth is, it is not easy being a women. As age catches up, our body will go through a series of changes. I have been aware of what menopause is but through Nuvafemme’s Feminini Tea Workshop, I discovered something else called perimenopause. Although I’m still considered quite young to experience perimenopause, but it is always good to be aware of it first because it might affect people close to me. If you are in your 40s-50s, this post would be very useful for you and you might be able to see yourself through these descriptions. Do you feel different even though you are menstruating and as far as you know, menopause if still many years away? You don’t know what it is but you know something’s not the same anymore. Sometimes you just wonder and get worried whether something is wrong in your body. Chances are you are going through what we women know as the quiet before the storm (menopause) – PERIMENOPAUSE. An often overlooked time in our lives, perimenopause is a natural transition that women go through when her estrogen levels are fluctuating until she becomes fully menopause. Hence, as natural as it may be, perimenopause can hit you full frontal and affect more than your just menstrual cycle. To increase public awareness about perimenopause, the Nuvaceuticals division of Nuvanta Sdn. Bhd. has hosted “Feminini-Tea” education workshop at Talent Lounge, Damansara Perdana with Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Dr. Wong Kim Lei; Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Hariyati Shahrima Abdul Majid and Pharmacist, Datin Swanee Teh. Dr. Wong was on hand to address the key issues of perimenopause and to share her advice on coping with the daunting perimenopause prelude, whilst Dr. Hariyati tackled taboo topics related to women and their changing relationships in her trademark witty candour. Before you feel lost, fret not because Nuvafemme (meaning new woman) is here to help meet the needs of women undergoing changes during perimenopause or more commonly known as the female midlife medley. Menopause vs. perimenopause Not many women realize that they do not reach menopause over 24 hours. Menopause is defined as the time when a woman has not had her period for 12 consecutive months. Perimenopause is the time around menopause which could typically be up to 10 years before or a year after the last period. It is a time of significant change – not unlike a time of “reverse puberty”. Ironically, the perimenopausal prelude can be more troubling than actually hitting menopause itself – much due to symptoms being strange, unexpected and new to the woman. Hormones: Fast and Furious Perimenopause is hormonal driven affair experienced only by the human race. As estrogen levels fluctuate during perimenopause, various changes in the body will invariably take place as estrogen helps regulate more than 400 different functions in women. Fluctuation of hormone levels will trigger this newfound perimenopausal “rage” in women. Unless women are aware of what is happening and taking steps to prepare the body, nutritionally, mentally and emotionally, many go through difficult times without understanding what exactly is happening. As hormones control so many key features of a woman’s femininity, perimenopause is a time when women will start experiencing various symptoms which could make them feel “unfeminine”, Perimenopausal Signs and Impact: Who Stole my Body? There are more than 30 associated symptoms to tell when your hard-working ovaries start to take a little break, and most women will experience at least a few of them at one go. However, not every woman will experience every symptom; neither will every woman experience them to the same degree. Our menstrual cycles may lengthen or shorten, the flow may be light to heavy and we may even skip some periods or encounter “phantom” ones as the levels of estrogen rises and falls unevenly and unpredictably during perimenopause. That’s not all, women may also experience “de-feminising” signals, such as weight gain or extra pounds to the waistline due to a metabolism slowdown; skin dryness, hair loss, decreased libido and vaginal dryness – just to name a few other symptoms. The Hormone-Brain Chemistry Connection Hormones and brain chemistry are intimately intertwined. When hormones swing, the brain’s feel-good chemistry also changes leading to many women experiencing mood disturbances and depression including irritability, out-of-proportion anger and sadness, besides memory slips and poor concentration. On a larger picture, many a marriage or relationship are strained during perimenopause, often without the couple realizing that hormones may be to blame. Perimenopause may actually be nature’s way of telling women to care for themselves more closely when she has been caring for others all this while. It can be possible for this phase to be a blessing in disguise, something important to cherish. Genistein: Harmonizing the Hormones Besides resorting to medications, it could be better to first achieve good health and hormone balance nutritionally and naturally. For women undergoing changes in their journey through femininity especially during the perimenopausal phase, phytonutrients such as hydrolysed genistein may hold the key to feminine balance. Taking a cue from how Japanese women go through perimenopause almost seamlessly, research found the answer in a natural ingredient known as genistein found in soy which is a key ingredient in Japanese food. Genistein is an all-natural, phytoestrogen-antioxidant complex derived from organic soy isoflavones. One of its main actions as a phytoestrogen is to mimic the properties of estrogen produced by a woman’s body naturally. When estrogen levels are low, genistein helps fill in the gap. When levels are high, genistein will compete with estrogen in the body thereby regulating such hormonal ups and downs in the body. The actions of genistein are also selective in that it benefits areas of the body such as the brain (mood and memory improvement), bones (regulating bone building) and heart, without any adverse effects on breast or uterine tissues. Research has also highlighted genistein’s metabolic-regulating benefits, especially on fat cells. Women undergoing perimenopause know only too well the agony of eating practically “nothing” and still putting on weight, especially around the belly. This phenomenon is not caused by over-eating or a lack of exercise or our genes. It is simply the hormonal component of weight management “let loose”. The good news is that genistein is a fat regulator whose actions include preventing fat formation, reducing belly fat and inhibiting fat accumulation to complement a woman’s effort in achieving a healthy weight. When deciding on a genistein supplement, be sure to select one that is derived from 100% organic soy and is non-genetically modified (non-GMO). And whilst it would be good if one could derive hydrolysed genistein simply by drinking soy milk, 80% of soy products in the market unfortunately are genetically-modified. Furthermore, it would take at least two gallons of soy milk to derive the amount of genistein from one tablet. And when newfound understanding, age-old wisdom and modern convenience come together, it is inevitable that a “new woman” in control of her destiny is rebirth. For more information about Nuvafemme, please call 03-5636 3758 or 1300 88 1712 or e-mail: email@example.com