#38 Turning 40: Hormonal Glow or Chaos?

#38 Turning 40: Hormonal Glow or Chaos?

naturopath paris carina greweling
THRIVE Podcast by : Carina Greweling on

#38 Turning 40: Hormonal Glow or Chaos?

#38 Turning 40: Hormonal Glow or Chaos?

If you’re in your early to mid-40s or approaching this age, you may be experiencing changes in your body that leave you wondering what’s happening. In this episode, we delve into the complexities of perimenopause, exploring its symptoms, hormonal fluctuations, and how to support your body naturally during this transitional phase.

In this episode, I discuss:

  • Understanding perimenopause.
  • Estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency.
  • The role of stress.
  • Effects of inflammation on hormone receptors.
  • Importance of maintaining gut health.
  • Dietary and environmental factors to consider.
  • Promoting overall well-being through healthy habits.

Discover my Hormone Thrive Program

Article: 7 Tips to Increase Progesterone Naturally

The 4 Phases of Menopause

The 4 Phases of Menopause

When women enter menopause (climacteric), a new phase in life begins, which is often accompanied by symptoms. However, the hormone level does not only change with the menopause, but up to 10 years before.

The course of menopause is therefore divided into different phases, which trigger different hormonal changes in the body depending on age. In this article you will find out what these are, the hormonal changes that occur in each phase and how you can recognise the different phases of menopause.

These are the natural phases of menopause

Menopause is divided into four phases: premenopause, perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. Sometimes you may also read that there are only 3 phases in menopause. This is because menopause is not necessarily a phase, but rather a specific point in time.

Stage 1: Premenopause

The first phase of menopause is called premenopause and describes the period in which a woman’s menstrual cycle changes very slowly. With the onset of premenopause, periods become more irregular, cycle intervals and the intensity of bleeding changes.

In addition to cycle fluctuations and menstrual cycle problems, women in the premenopause are also accompanied by other symptoms that indicate that menopause is approaching. Other early signs of menopause are premenstrual syndrome (PMS), mood swings, irritability, hot flashes, migraines, headaches, breast tenderness or sleep disorders.

Stage 2: Perimenopause

The second phase of menopause is called perimenopause. It begins on average from the age of 47 and is the most serious phase of hormonal change. When women talk about menopause, most of them mean exactly this phase, because the hormones ride a roller coaster and can mess up a lot in the body.

The consequences are typical menopausal symptoms such as: hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disorders, weight gain, depressive moods or a lack of libido. But how severe the symptoms of the menopause really are in the end also depends on the woman’s circumstances.

Because stress, diet, lifestyle and one’s own emotional state have a major impact on the hormone balance. There are women who hardly suffer from any symptoms during menopause or others who only have isolated symptoms. It doesn’t matter whether you have symptoms or not – it is important that you pay particular attention to your body during this phase and support it so that it can get through the hormonal change as well as possible.

Classification into early and late perimenopause

The second phase of menopause is divided into early and late perimenopause.

In the early phase, the cycle may be shortened, lengthened or the period may not occur at all. It is often difficult to distinguish early perimenopause from premenopause, because the transition is fluid.

In late perimenopause we are moving more and more towards menopause. In this phase, the intervals between menstrual bleeding become significantly longer, until menstruation ultimately stops altogether.

Stage 3: Menopause

Menopause is not so much a phase, but rather the time when the last menstrual bleeding was 12 months ago. The follicles can no longer produce enough estrogen to activate the structure of the lining of the uterus, ovulation and menstrual bleeding are now completely absent. It is said that 50 percent of women have their last menstrual period at the age of 52. Menopause occurs earlier in some women and later in others.

Stage 4: Postmenopause

In the last phase of the menopause, the sex hormones reach their lowest level. Due to the low hormone levels, many women in the postmenopause have symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disorders, depression, weight gain, incontinence or muscle and joint pain.

In this phase of life, the hormone balance first has to level off and stabilise again to a new normal state. The duration of the postmenopause is around 10 years (from the time of the last menstrual period), but it can vary from woman to woman.

Although some women are still struggling with symptoms in the final phase of menopause, most women are feeling much better now that the wild hormonal fluctuations have finally come to an end. The menopause is over.

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How do hormones change during the different phases of menopause?

For most women, the first phase of menopause is when they are still menstruating. However, the slowly falling progesterone levels can lead to increased PMS symptoms in the days before the period starts or during the period to mood swings, migraines, sleep disorders or increased menstrual cramps. The intensity and duration of menstrual bleeding can change, as can the length of the menstrual cycle (it usually shortens during the first phase of menopause).

The second phase is the shortest phase of menopause and only lasts about three years on average. In this phase you will feel the most physical changes, because now the estrogen levels are also falling more and more. The brain registers the falling hormone levels and tries with all its might to stimulate the ovaries to produce hormones. This can be clearly seen in the blood from the FSH value (follicle stimulating hormone), which increases significantly towards the end of the second phase. This hormonal tour de force can often cause estrogen levels to rise really high, only to then plummet again in the second half of the cycle. This rollercoaster ride of hormone levels then causes typical menopausal symptoms in many women, which can be unpredictable.

In addition, the effects of testosterone can become more dominant due to the drop in progesterone and estrogen. Although testosterone is a male hormone, it is also present in the female body. Under the influence of testosterone, many women become more assertive during the menopause, can set themselves apart better, no longer have to please everyone at any price and stand up for themselves more.

In the third and last phase, estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest and the turbulent years of the hormone roller coaster ride are over. Many women feel better again during this phase. However, if health problems do occur in the postmenopause, then it usually has other causes such as chronic inflammation and the associated increased cortisol and insulin levels, disorders of the intestinal microbiome, lack of nutrients and exercise or pollution.

When is menopause the worst?

Most women perceive late perimenopause as the worst phase of menopause. Because in this phase the most extreme hormonal changes take place in the body, which bring with them many complaints. This is usually exactly the year before the final menopause occurs.

When is the peak of menopause?

The peak of the menopause heralds the last menstrual period. A year after the last menstrual period, it is fairly safe to say that the woman is in menopause and has thus reached the peak of menopause. Women are on average 53 years old when menopause begins.

Also check my podcast interview with Angela Sido: “The Menopause Essential Oils Success”.


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How long does menopause last?

The entire hormonal change of your menopause takes between 10-15 years. The period from the first phase until women reach menopause (last menstrual period) is between 5-12 years.

Menopause despite hysterectomy?

In most women who have had a hysterectomy, the ovaries remain intact and continue to produce hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, even if your uterus had to be removed, the typical menopausal symptoms can occur. In most cases, however, the age shifts somewhat and women without a uterus often enter menopause earlier.

In the case of a total hysterectomy (including the ovaries), menopause begins immediately after the operation – regardless of age. In this case, women often experience significantly more severe symptoms because the drop in hormones is very extreme.

How can I find out what phase of menopause I am in?

1. Document your period:

While you’re still on your cycle, you should document your monthly period. This will help you recognise when your cycle is shortening or becoming more irregular.

2. Document your symptoms:

Keep a journal of what types of symptoms you are experiencing and how long they last. The documentation allows you to better understand whether your symptoms are changing, staying the same, or getting worse and whether they could be related to external influences such as diet, stress or sleep.

3. Do a hormone test:

Gynecologists often use a blood test to determine the anti-Muellerian hormone, which can provide an indication of the egg cell reserve and thus conclusions about the status of your menopause. Important note: However, the AMH test is not reliable for younger women who may still want to have children.

Of course, one could also have the estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels determined. But keep in mind that there is quite a hormonal chaos during menopause. Therefore, hormone tests are only a snapshot and are not suitable for determining the specific phase of menopause.

Conclusion on the phases of menopause:

Of course, it is interesting to know what phase of menopause you are in. However, I have found that your lifestyle, your habits, the quality of your sleep, the amount of exercise, your diet and your inner attitude have a major impact on when menopause begins and, above all, how it progresses.

Studies examining the living conditions of women in indigenous peoples have clearly shown that our modern lifestyle has a significant influence on the severity of menopausal symptoms. That means you don’t have to be the victim of your hormones and expose yourself to the hormonal rollercoaster ride.

It is up to you to shape your diet, your stress levels and your lifestyle in such a way that you get through the menopause harmoniously and enjoy this new, powerful phase of life and use it for your personal development.

Take a look at my online group program Hormone Thrive and discover how you can balance your hormones with the help of Ayurveda, building healthy habits and the best support from other women under my guidance.


Hormone Yoga Therapy: Balance your Hormones for Optimal Health

Hormone Yoga Therapy: Balance your Hormones for Optimal Health

History of Hormone Yoga Therapy

Hormone Yoga Therapy is a form of yoga developed by Dinah Rodriguez, a Brazilian author and yoga teacher. Her aim first was to help women who are suffering from unwanted side effects of menopause. But soon she discovered, that the benefits serve all women suffering from any of the multitude of problems caused by hormonal imbalances.

In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about Hormone Yoga Therapy and how it can benefit you.

What is Hormone Yoga Therapy?

It is a holistic practice used to reactivate hormone production. As a result, it is said to improve and even eliminate hormonal imbalances.

HYT includes a fixed set of yoga postures, breathing techniques and visualisations. It draws primarily on hatha and kundalini yoga poses and practices.

Breath techniques (pranayama) alongside yoga poses activate the following glands: the hypophysis, thyroid, adrenal, and ovarian glands. The stimulation of these glands is increased by the application of mudras and bandhas alongside a Tibetan energy technique.

A bandha is also known as a body lock, whereas mudras are gestures with the fingers and hands. Both are used to help energy flow into certain parts of the body. 

Who is it for?

The therapy can reactivate glands and treat low or imbalanced hormones. It is therefore useful for women of any age, and specifically helpful for women who are:

  • experiencing a hormonal imbalance, for example: difficulty conceiving, menstrual disorders, ovarian cysts, vaginal dryness, and low sex drive.
  • looking for a preventative measure for the symptoms of peri- and menopause. Hormone levels start to drop at around 35 years old. 

Techniques used in Hormone Yoga Therapy

The techniques used in the therapy include: asanas (yoga poses), pranayama, mudras, bandhas, visualisation. We also work with the chakras. In order to stimulate the glands, we will practice dynamic asanas, along with powerful breathing.

Various types of breathing techniques are practiced during the class. To stimulate the glands, we use pranayama techniques involving strong abdominal breathing. For instance, breath of fire and full yogic breathing. Strong abdominal breathing moves the qi, prana, in the body and therefore improves circulation to the glands. 

These breathing techniques can also be used daily when you’re looking to find a little more calm or focus.

The practice consists of basic yoga poses and therefore you don’t need to have any experience in yoga to start the therapy! You will be taken step by step through each pose, as well as the breathing techniques.

Relaxation is also an important part. Students are led through the practice of yoga nidra, a relaxing, meditative style of yoga that takes you into a dream-like state. This, consequently, has huge benefits on your mental wellbeing and sleep.

What are the benefits?

This holistic therapy offers a host of mental and physical benefits for women of all ages, who experience hormonal imbalances. 

Managing the symptoms of the menopause

No woman should have to deal with the symptoms of menopause. HYT offers a natural and drug-free alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

In short, it can help alleviate the following symptoms of menopause:

  • Hot flushes
  • Urogenital dryness
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia and sleeping disorders
  • Anxiety and sadness
  • Changes in periods
  • Osteoporosis prevention


Infertility is often linked to low hormone levels and other hormonal imbalances. The therapy will therefore stimulate hormone-producing glands and consequently help with infertility problems.

Yoga is also a wonderful support to the stresses surrounding difficulties with conception. A regular hormone yoga practice, will promote a positive relationship with your body. As a result, you will learn to love and nurture your body rather than feeling frustrated with or negative about it.

Stress and anxiety

In addition, whether you are experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety, HYT can alleviate the symptoms and leave you feeling much calmer and grounded. Meditative relaxation and visualisation techniques teach you to focus less on your thoughts and more on the present moment. So, these techniques are incredibly valuable and you can practice them on your own whenever needed.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Moreover, hormone yoga therapy, can lessen and even heal hormonal imbalances around the period, such as: tender breasts, cramps, mood swings, food cravings, digestion problems and others. It is the regular practice that increases blood circulation in the reproductive organs and balances hormones. As a result, it can help significantly with PMS problems.

More benefits of HYT

Other imbalances where HYT can help:

  • Insomnia
  • Painful periods
  • Incontinence
  • Hypertension
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Low libido
  • Depression and emotional instability
  • Absence/loss of menstruation (amenorrhea)

In addition, here are a few other ways that HYT can help with:

  • Balance the immune system
  • Balance the autonomic nervous system
  • Improve circulation and healing
  • Weight loss
  • Increase flexibility
  • Balance emotions
  • Develop an awareness of a healthy diet and lifestyle

When you should avoid HYT

Certainly, there are some conditions for which HYT is not suitable. Therefore, contact a doctor if you have, or have ever had:

  • During pregnancy
  • Cancer that is hormone related
  • Psychiatric problems
  • Severe hyperthyroidism
  • Severe hypertension
  • Large myomas/fibroids
  • Women who have had appendicitis but still have the appendix
  • Advanced endometriosis
  • Undiagnosed abdominal pain
  • Recent surgery
  • Severe cardiovascular diseases
  • Advanced osteoporosis

In conclusion, Hormone Yoga Therapy offers a natural alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy. Most importantly, when practised regularly, it can alleviate symptoms of hormonal imbalances. As a result, Hormone Yoga Therapy will help you feel your best again!

Discover my online group program for women


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