Are you getting the following symptoms;

  • Pimples
  • hair loss
  • oily skin
  • hair in places you don’t want?

This could be due to high androgens  (male hormones like testosterone) or androgens favoring the more potent pathway.

Peri-menopause is a bumpy time, our hormones are up and down like they are in puberty. However, before they decline completely like the other main female hormones, androgens will fluctuate throughout this time.  This is confusing but you can have higher androgens at times throughout peri-menopause.  This could be you if you are all of a sudden breaking out on your face and back and experiencing hair loss.

Before you jump on the medication path, there are many things you can do to support high androgens and pathways….


Manage insulin resistance – High insulin levels drives the ovaries to make more testosterone which can trigger rogue hairs and pimples as well as raising inflammation markers.

This is where a lower carbohydrate diet is beneficial.   Avoiding processed foods, wine, sugar and dairy is key here.  Exercise regularly and maintaining a healthy weight helps control insulin and blood sugar.

Cinnamon – is a natural insulin sensitizer, stimulating glucose uptake by fat cells.  You can use cinnamon essential oil or straight up cinnamon.

Not sure if you have a problem with insulin?  Stand naked in front of the mirror, jump up and down, if your belly wobbles, you have a problem.

Fiber – A low GI high fiber is best for women throughout perimenopause.  Unless you have sufficient fiber in your diet most testosterone will be secreted into bile and then reabsorbed in the gut and used again.

Zinc – If you have some of the high androgens characteristics like male pattern balding, and acne increasing zinc rich foods like sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, green beans, meat, eggs and legumes. You can also supplement through a health practitioner.

Avoid dairy – Milk and cheese have been shown to increase inflammation which can lead to higher androgens increasing acne.

Saw Palmetto – Reduces the conversion of testosterone to the more potent DHT to block androgen receptors.

Lifestyle changes – Activating the parasympathetic (rest/digest) nervous system to get out of the sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight/freeze) helps with balancing hormones.  Sleep, stress reduction, xenoestrogen exposure and self-care are all important at this transition time.

It’s not all about high levels many ladies will have waning testosterone levels which are characterised by:

  • Low libido
  • Fatigue
  • Low lean muscles mass
  • Lack of motivation.

Is this you?  More on low testosterone levels next post.

Mel Aytan
Functional Nutritionist
Bach.App.Sci (Human Movement), Adv.Dip Nutritional Medicine, Adv Dip Sec.Edu, Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN)

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