Menopause Matters

 Menopause Matters

     → Coping with Menopause

 Herbal Medicine

      ← Women"s Health

 


         

 


 

Our deepest wishes are
Whispers of our Authentic Selves.
We must learn to respect them.
We must learn to listen.

.Sarah Ban Breathnach

 


In ancient times, human beings believed that because a woman did not bleed for nine months before giving birth, infants developed from retained menstrual blood. Menstrual blood, called wise blood, took on powerful meanings. It was used for healing, to fertilize crops and to impart wisdom.

It followed that when a woman did not bleed for a year and did not bear a child, people believed she retained her wise blood. At that time she became a respected elder, judge, teacher, healer and leader. Her community respected her as a powerful and loving wise person who honored and cherished life. In her later years part of her purpose was to help humanity move through the passage of death as she had once helped us move through the passage of birth.



In ancient times, when the clan respected the maiden, mother and wise elder woman trilogy, women at regular intervals gathered in a separate space within the community to encourage, support and teach one another. Young girls who had yet to bleed and older women who had ceased bleeding would stay for days with menstruating women so that physical, spiritual and emotional knowledge could be shared and learned.

The tradition of women helping each other through menopause (and pregnancy and childbirth) broke down during the massive, community sanctioned torture and murder of nine million women during the Inquisition.

      

Today, millions of mid-life women are reaching the retaining wise blood stage. Many are frightened about physical and emotional upheaval, social and professional exclusion and health risks. Because of the past generations of silence around menopause, many feel ill equipped to make choices concerning hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and personal priorities. Fear can make them oblivious to opportunities for new choices. In the current economic and social allegiance to youth at any cost, many women feel vulnerable and naive as they approach "the change."

However, we also have a new climate for women who are coming of age. Never in our patriarchal society have so many political free and economically independent women begun entering the menopausal years. Women are now too educated and financially competent to accept the old definitions of menopause. A summary of those definitions describes menopause as the deficiency disease of an old, depleted woman with a failed uterus who is about to lose her sexuality and her mind. There are well known mature women who still have vibrant life juices flowing. Most of us now have friends and family as well as our own lives to show us that living is rich and full well beyond the Barbie stage.


    


Women are beginning to realize that menopause is more than a physical change. It is a rite of passage that holds deep meaning. In my work and research with women, I've learned that menopause is a call to make choices. Mid-life women now have an opportunity to live a future filled with love, satisfaction, serenity and joy of creative challenge. Menopause can awaken courage and re-commitment to life. Although some women may choose hormonal treatment during menopause, there is more to this passage than deciding whether to go on HRT. To discover the personal significance of this passage, many women are coming together to give voice to their inner lives and encourage each other. We are discovering that life experiences, including private hurtful and solitary experiences, are the seeds of wisdom that need to be shared now.

 

Menopause signals continuous change.

How a woman feels during the course of not only one day but over a period of weeks, months or years may vary tremendously. Depending on individual circumstances feelings towards menopause underwent conspicuous changes: night sweats were a source of bother and irritability one day and absent on other days thereby causing feelings to swing back and forth like a pendulum on a clock.


Menopause is an individualized experience with nothing about it cast in stone.


Some women welcome the prospect of not having no more menstrual periods, notice little to no differences in their bodies or moods and cannot understand what all the fuss is about. Others find the change of life bothersome and disruptive that they might feel that their life will suddenly come to an still stand or abrupt end. Menopause is not the beginning of the end, as many fear, but the end of the beginning. It can be the passage to the most passionate, powerful, productive, and purposeful time of a woman’s life.


   

   Homeopathy and Menopause


 

 

Homeopathy offers women another option, beside of regular and herbal medicine. Homeopathy can be a wonderful companion and friend for women to sail smoothly and symptom free through the transition from the mother to the crone.

  • Homeopathy supports you as an individual.
  • Homeopathic remedies have no side effects.

  • Homeopathy heals often other ailments besides the ones being presented.

  • Homeopathy is an effective alternative to HRT.

  • Homeopathy is gentle, effective, safe and natural.

  • Homeopathy addresses the issues, rather then only the symptoms.

  • You don't need to suffer with mood swings, hot flashes and many other common symptoms associated with the menopause.

  • Many women report improvement of menopausal symptoms after taking homeopathic remedies.

  • Women who visit a homeopath for menopausal symptoms are those who either don't want to take HRT to avoid the known side effects , who want to come off HRT or for whom it was not successful.

Whether to undergo hormonal replacement treatment is a difficult decision for many women. It is important that a menopausal woman is well informed about HRT. Knowledge is power. The medical community itself is divided on the issue of HRT.

     

  Celebrate Your Rite of Passage. 

    It is a Time that needs to be Embraced.


Menopause is more than a mere biological certainty, it is shaped by socio-cultural beliefs and values and spans over a considerable stretch of time. Celebrate Your Rite of Passage.  It is a Time that needs to be Embraced. I believe that women need to look at this time in their lives as a new beginning, a time that enables them to take charge of their lives and needs. 

During menopause, our bodies become our teachers and demand our attention. We are learning to make choices,  we learn to care responsibly for ourselves. As we move through this passage of menopause we can create a future for our daughters and ourselves where we can be fully alive to the end.

Embracing menopause and finding meaning in the next phase of life is a healthy approach to something that cannot be stopped no matter how much we try.



 Embracing the Change

Honouring the rites of passage from the Maiden, Mother to the Crone.


Perhaps the most powerful Rite of Passage a woman goes through in her life is that of Menopause and Perimenopause. As she leaves behind her identity as a woman of the world and caretaker of others, she steps into full ownership of herself as a woman in her own right, free from previous roles and expectations. In acknowledging her own unique connection to Spirit, and her own inner wisdom, she can realize a greater depth of love and compassion.

      

               THE STORY OF MENOPAUSE


The onerous physical/emotional changes that accompany puberty and menopause are strongly influenced – both, positively and negatively - by cultural, familial, and personal beliefs. Women need to regain, reclaim their power, there power of choice, power of there bodies, power to have the knowledge which will lead to the right decision for them, particular in the subject of gynecology. Women as a whole are aware of how birth, menstruation and menopause have been translated by a large number of gynecologists into “Dis-ease “from which women suffer. Most women submit to the “power over” aspect of medicine in that they allow the doctor to have power over there body, accepting what they are told is best for them.

Until HRT came onto the scene, hysterectomy was routinely prescribed, to cure or circumvent the ills of the menopause. Now, HRT has taken over and it may be used to mask emotional dis-ease, would be more rightly seen as a lack of wholeness and balance. If a woman is in the habit of listening to her body, to herself, then she is more likely to have power of what she needs. She can consult her own instinctive knowing, her inner figure, which is the Crone.

 

If we expect our new self to be more powerful, more exciting, more interesting than our old self, we willingly undergo discomfort, pain, sleeplessness, emotional variability, and a host of annoyances and distresses. In the western world today, this is may be the case when we experience puberty, pregnancy, birth, and lactation.

If we expect our new self to be a weaker, less interesting, grayed-out version of our older self, we will naturally resist changing and find the normal abnormalities of change intolerable. This is often the case when western women encounter menopause.

          

Menopause has received quite a bad reputation with women around the globe. Amidst all of the blame and confusion there exist select groups of women who honestly don't know what all the fuss is about. Somehow they seem to have escaped all of the various symptoms that almost every middle-aged woman on the planet is suppose to have or in distress about.

While middle-aged women around the world are preoccupied with symptoms of extra weight gain, night sweats and unpredictable emotional upheavals, there are women who are quite frankly enjoying themselves. These small segments of women around the world have managed to not only bypass any type of menopause misery, but also truly thrive at this normally troublesome time in a woman's life. They are experiencing an unprecedented measure of joy and fulfillment in every area of their lives that goes against the norm.


 


So what do these women know that other around the world women don't know but should?


Simply this - "Menopause" or change of life as it's been known for years is simply that, a time of necessary life changes. These women have simply taken the menopause phrase and its intended meaning seriously verbatim. They have taken that phrase 'necessary changes' very literally moving positively forward in their lives by making many other necessary changes, as they recognize the need for change.

What these women have well understood is that this is their time. They have fully recognized it as the gift that it is. They verily recognize and understand that it is their time to do all those things that are not only necessarily crucial for abundance in life like eating right, exercise, etc., but that they finally have an opportunity to do all those things they have wanted to do all their lives but couldn't because of the constraints of various obligations during their earlier years.

They are doing everything they've always wanted to do. Some women are walking, running, taking various exercise classes, traveling, writing books, eating exotic foods, painting, exploring religion and going back to school. And that's just from a small cross section of women. What these women are venturing into in their lives is as varied as the many cultures that they come from. They are simply having the time of their lives because of a simple definition that opened their entire world anew.



   

Every woman has a unique time line and an individual journey through the different stages of menopause. If your personal experience does not fit the model, keep in mind that it is only a general picture of a woman's journey through the transition.

Experts found that although most women follow the model at least somewhat, a lot of women do NOT go through the transition in any orderly way.

Some women moved back and forth between the different stages of perimenopause, while other women skipped perimenopause altogether. So the transition is truly unique for every woman.

 

1. Pre- menopause- periods are still regular but the first symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood changes, may appear.


2. Peri -menopause -the function of the ovaries declines, the periods can become irregular and symptoms may be more severe. The peri-menopause is the period of time from the first changes in a woman's cycle to when she finishes bleeding all together. She is said to be post-menopausal when she has finished bleeding for 2 years. The peri -menopause was characterised by more frequent negative perceptions than the post menopause when most women have had time to make sense of their experience.

         

Dr Christiane Northrup says the peri-menopause is another labour, which results in the woman giving birth to a new self. The severity of the symptoms within a woman’s peri-menopause are related to the severity with which she experienced the premenstrual part of her menstrual cycle. Both of which are often wake-up calls for a woman to notice the detrimental effects of toxins on her health. Toxins such as stressful life styles, dysfunctional relationships and an unhealthy diet.

Peri-menopause takes as long as it takes, and mostly the woman needs support from her family and friends that what she's going through is normal. As her hormonal balance shifts she experiences all manner of symptoms and it is her time to read the messages her body is giving her to fulfill her physical, emotional and spiritual needs. If she ignores the messages of her body the symptoms just get louder and bigger.

The peri-menopausal time of a woman's life is probably also accompanied ('complicated') with her teenagers special needs and her aging parents reaching their needy time as well. So, peri-menopausal women need all the support and encouragement possible. They need to know that they are highly capable and hugely resourceful women otherwise if they didn't realise that, they would probably need lots of prescription drugs to numb themselves. Peri-menopausal women may have grown up children and be grandmothers or they may have younger children, or both.

     

3. Post-menopause - this stage runs from the last period onwards. Your last period is known as the menopause.

If you have not had a period for twelve months you have crossed the divide - you are now officially in post menopause. This time frame was chosen because a large majority of women will not have a period again. However, there are exceptions to every rule and some women will still have a period after 12 months without a cycle.

Again, post-menopause begins 12 months after the last period and lasts for the rest of your life. Several years after your last period, the hot flashes and night sweats disappear (at least in most women) as the body adjusts to the lower hormone levels.

If you have some vaginal bleeding after menopause, check with your doctor. This can also be a symptom of fibroids or a serious illness, not just a quirk of your menopause transition.



A woman’s body begins to prepare for menopause sometime between her late 30’s and late 50’s.


During this time, the levels of her hormones required for pregnancy start to decline. These two hormones are estrogen and progesterone.

Because of the decline in the production of these two hormones, she will start to experience irregular menstrual periods. She will also experience the cessation of the egg production in her ovaries. This condition will finally lead to the termination of her menstruation.

The occurrence of menopause varies among women. However, the average age is about 51. When a woman is experiencing symptoms but has not yet been without periods for 12 consecutive months, she is peri-menopausal.

      


Some conditions like surgery and some illnesses can cause the earlier occurrence of menopause.


More often menopause is a slow process that usually takes about 2 to 5 years. During this period, many changes in the body can occur. This is due to the decrease of estrogen being produced by the ovaries. Estrogen, which is a hormone found in females, helps control and regulate menstrual cycles and bone density.

The interesting thing is that as the ovaries decline their production of estrogen, nature has something else up her sleeve. We are able to produce a form of estrogens, called oestrone, from our adrenal glands in order to compensate for the decline from the ovaries. This it makes it all the more important the adrenal glands are healthy in order for the woman to ensure that this other form of estrogen is being produced. We also produce estrogen from fat cells, so being ultra slim will not have health benefits in the long run, particular if the woman is going through menopause. Overweight isn’t the answer, either, but from an estrogen-production point of view, the woman is better off being slightly overweight then slim.


   


Traditionally, Menopause, the cessation of menstruation was the rite of passage from Mother to Crone.


However, we now live longer than our ancestors. Women, girls, had babies at 14, were grandmothers in their thirties and died in their forties. Many women died before they reached the menopause. Now, if we are well, we can have a long life, we can live up to 80 plus years.

Because of the longer life span, women can now enjoy a fourth season in her life before she reaches the age of the crone. This is the life season that features the harvesting her life skills. Her focus shifts from her own family, as they grow up, to her community.

And then there's the rite of passage of retirement marking the transition through the autumn time of a woman’s life to the to Crone. Retirement or withdrawal from the busy-ness of life marks the beginning of, the time of the Crone, the winter of a woman's life.

Crone-hood is not valued in the same way in our modern culture as it was in traditional cultures. Not too long ago, the Crones were respected and valued.


     

           The Crone - The Hag–
      The Wise Woman in History

Did you know that "Hag" used to mean "Holy one" - from the Greek "hagia"? I would say we have some re - framing and reeducating to do - for ourselves and for our daughters, granddaughters and goddaughters.

The wise woman, the woman who knows from experience what life is about, the woman whose closeness to her own death gives distance and perspective on the problems of life.

      

The Crone or Hag, the wise woman was an image who used to be honored, who had a place and function in society. She was a figure of awe, having the power of life and death. She was the grandmother of the tribe, the wise one who guided and inspired. Her wrinkles were a badge of honor. Part of a trinity, she symbolized, maturity, authority and inexorable death. As the leader of the tribe, she was the antithesis of patriarchal values: attuned to nature and instinct.

Valuing life and its rhythmic cycles, she was equally comfortable with, and unafraid of, death and change. She was a figure of strength, courage and wisdom. The Crone was healer, seer, medicine - woman; and when death arrived with certainty, she was the midwife for the transition to another life.

The Crone – the wise woman is a figure, which incorporates both dark and light, life and death, creation and destruction, form and dissolution. She acts as a guide through the great passage of life. She is attuned to the rhythms and as such can be a potent guide to maturity. Feminine power is creator, preserver and eliminator in the appropriate season.


    


AGING WITH GRACE


Menopause is one of the major turning points in a woman's life.

Some women dread reaching menopause while others look forward to it. For some women, menopause is devastating. They are not ready to give up that part of themselves that can bear children and fear the inevitable passage of time. Some feel it is an affliction that will make them unattractive, lonely, helpless, and useless. They mourn the loss of their fertility and youth. They also fear being viewed with one of the many stereotypes that exist when it comes to women as they age. These include being seen as old, dried up, useless, asexual and undesirable. Why do men get distinguished and women just get old? I have never understood that.

Other women discover that it gives them a new lease on life - physically, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually. They are enthusiastic about becoming free of their concerns about pregnancy and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Most experience a wide range of feelings, from anxiety and discomfort to release and relief. If you are like most of today's women, you will live a third of your life after menopause.


    


Aging is a natural process.


It is also very much a women's issue. Resisting the cultural phobias about growing older begins right at home - within our own bodies. How each of us sees our own aging process can in turn influence how the culture sees it. Today, those of us who choose to name ourselves Crone, do so to raise consciousness around issues of aging. Paradoxically, at the beginning of the 21st century, the ancient Wise Woman Crone archetype is emerging within women all over the world. We are beginning to realize that this third and crowning stage of female life (the one our culture throws away) is more authentic, creative, outrageous, powerful, funny, healing and profound than we ever imagined.

The medical definition of menopause as a retrospectively observable event, a demarcation line, an invisible milestone, allows for too narrow an interpretation. Initial signs of aging such as a missed bleed are sometimes greeted with shock, disbelief, alarm and unhappiness. It is usually not the end of menstruation and fertility that is mourned but the fact that physical signs of aging increasingly make their appearance in the form of gray hair, wrinkles, weight gain and less elastic skin. Not all women have immediately grown to love their changed and mature appearance and many seem to have ‘lost’ part of their physical identity. However, it became clearly evident during the multi-stage interviewing process that in the space of time women gradually comes to accept menopause in a more positive light.


        


We live in such a youth obsessed society that women who are past a certain age are overlooked and passed by. This is unfortunate because women in this phase of life have much to offer. Instead of being full of fear, wouldn’t it be wonderful if women who are approaching menopause found that menopausal zest so often spoke of and gained a new lease of life? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all lived in one of the cultures that revere older women and respect them for their life experience and being so wise?

One of the tragedies of this modern day culture is that women are not honored for this phase of life. We then devalue ourselves, comparing ourselves with our younger and more "sexually desirable" sisters. We lose sight of the blessings that this time of our life offers. This can be a confusing time for us women, where we sense the loss but have not yet recognized our new gifts. As we turn towards ourselves, we find all the answers lie within. We are able to tap into the relaxation, the joy, the passion, the outrageousness of living our own life on our own terms, finally free to be ourselves, completely, uniquely.

 

In a world that is obsessed with youth, ageing gracefully can seem impossible, especially for a woman. Whether it is the media or your peer group, sometimes it is as though every 'improvement' a woman makes to herself somehow relates to slowing or halting the body's ageing process. While there are endless reasons to reduce ageing in the sense of your overall physical health, it can be a struggle for women to age gracefully following menopause. However, many women manage to look and feel vibrant and healthy long after they reach their change of life. There are a number of things these women tend to have in common as well.

Still, there is a stigma that a woman is old and unattractive once she has experienced menopause. Youth is considered attractive and for women in particular, ageing is seen as something to be dreaded, both physically and cosmetically. The end result of this stigma is that men become more focused on finding a youthful woman while women become obsessed with preserving their youth and rebelling against the natural changes of menopause.


              


Anti-Aging Natural Supplements Humans seem to forever search for the “Fountain of Youth.


Literature abounds with stories of the elusive fountain, the elusive youth. Our culture is obsessed with the beauty of youth, often over the wisdom of age. This is ever so evident in the celebrity obsessed culture. Youth and beauty is revered among the celebrity crowd.

But each of us age. Each of us grow older. We should do it with grace and dignity. Perhaps that is the trick-to really start to nurture and care for your body and soul. Exercise, good nutrition, time for contemplation and solitude, stress reducing therapies and a wide variety of natural supplements can all help us to “age with grace and dignity”.

 

The problem with natural supplements is that just because it is natural does not necessarily mean it is safe. One of the best ways to include natural anti-aging efforts into your life is to work at improving your diet.
Nature has really given us wonderful gifts when it comes to anti-aging. Antioxidants occur naturally in the food we eat and much of the current research indicates that there is an anti-aging effect from them.

Antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals. There is a long scientific explanation as to what free radicals are but essentially just know this–too many free radicals cause premature aging, wrinkling of the skin, and other damage to your body and immune system and free radical damage increases as we age. So eat your fruits, vegetables and whole grains, the antioxidants from them will help to protect your body from free radical damage.


    


If you are looking for a “magic pill” you won’t find it here. Diet is the best way to get your Anti-aging natural supplements. And then a good multi-vitamin. There are some antioxidants that do come in pill form but it has been proven time and again that often a pill just does not have the same effect. Some of the antioxidants need the synergistic effect of all of the elements found in nature and that just cannot be duplicated in a laboratory. Nature has the best pharmacy!

While there is nothing wrong with trying to maintain the vitality of youth as much as possible in terms of physical health, fitness and nutrition, our health can be affected when we incorrectly focus on menopause as a disease. By ignoring the unique health needs of a menopausal woman or by medicating each woman rapidly before assessing her risk factors, symptoms and potential side effects from treatment, her physical and cosmetic health can actually be adversely affected, rather than improved.


       


Old age is not just about surviving, it's about flourishing.


There is increasing evidence that most women feel a greater sense of fulfillment, self-actualization, reaching their peak- whatever you want to call it-as they grow older. As women grow into the age of menopause they are more often certain of their identity.

"I have a sense of being my own person,"

"I feel my life is moving well", felt more productive and generative "

"I feel a new level of productivity or effectiveness,"

"I have influence in my community or area of interest" and were more confident in their power

"I feel I have the authority to do what I want,"

"I feel confident".

These women talked about having "come into their own," reaching a level of maturity, confidence, and competence that was not just satisfying but exhilarating.



Certainly, older age brings with it adversity, especially losses of physical health and of loved ones. Yet, I also believe that women's strengths make them exceptionally good at dealing with the losses that come with aging, and there is plenty of evidence for this belief.

Older women were more likely than older men to tap their mental, emotional, and relational strengths to deal with adversity, which in turn left them less vulnerable to depression and anxiety in the face of difficulty.

So let's celebrate and cultivate our psychological strengths and look forward to truly growing wiser as we grow older!

During menopause, our bodies become our teachers and demand our attention. We are learning to make choices we learn to care responsibly for ourselves. As we move through this passage of menopause we can create a future for our daughters and ourselves where we can be fully alive to the end.


      


Today, we have a new climate for women who are coming of age.


Never in our patriarchal society have so many political free and economically independent women begun entering the menopausal years. Women are now too educated and financially competent to accept the old definitions of menopause. A summary of those definitions describes menopause as the deficiency disease of an old, depleted woman with a failed uterus who is about to lose her sexuality and her mind. There are well known mature women who still have vibrant life juices flowing. Most of us now have friends and family as well as our own lives to show us that living is rich and full well beyond the Barbie stage.

Women are beginning to realize that menopause is more than a physical change. It is a rite of passage that holds deep meaning. In my work and research with women, I've learned that menopause is a call to make choices. Mid-life women now have an opportunity to live a future filled with love, satisfaction, serenity and joy of creative challenge.


      


Menopause can awaken courage and re-commitment to life.


Although some women may choose hormonal treatment during menopause, there is more to this passage than deciding whether to go on HRT. To discover the personal significance of this passage, many women are coming together to give voice to their inner lives and encourage each other. We are discovering that life experiences, including private hurtful and solitary experiences, are the seeds of wisdom that need to be shared now.

As in ancient times, women are using herbs, diet and exercise to tend our menopausal blood floods, waves of sudden raw heat, skin changes and emotional intensities. We share healing teas and talk privately with one another for soothing and understanding. We write, sing, dance and paint in new creative surges. We contemplate mortality and create priorities based on deeply held values. Most importantly, we start to listen to women's stories and may make changes in our personal and spiritual lives that startle the people close to us.


       


Often, only in the context of being heard and understood do we appreciate the significance or magnitude of our experiences. We can provide that context in regular journal writing where we offer ourselves private, honest time to compassionately listen to ourselves. Journal writing
Sharing regularly with a friend, mentor, and spiritual guide or in a women's group gives us a more immediate and personal exchange when we are ready. Women discover a new energy when we share our stories. By so doing we encourage our inner selves to unite in harmony. In finding a sense of clarity for making reasonable, soul-satisfying choices, women can discover our deeply believed positions related to the care of our bodies and our commitment to a life purpose, whatever it may be.

We are learning to make choices we learn to care responsibly for ourselves. As we move through this passage of menopause we can create a future for our daughters and ourselves where we can be fully alive to the end. We can pass our gifts on to our granddaughters and great granddaughters.


   


Menopause signals continuous change.


The medical definition of menopause as a retrospectively observable event, a demarcation line, an invisible milestone, allows for too narrow an interpretation. Initial signs of aging such as a missed bleed are sometimes greeted with shock, disbelief, alarm and unhappiness. It is usually not the end of menstruation and fertility that is mourned but the fact that physical signs of aging increasingly make their appearance in the form of gray hair, wrinkles, weight gain and less elastic skin. Not all women have immediately grown to love their changed and mature appearance and many seem to have ‘lost’ part of their physical identity. However, it became clearly evident during the multi-stage interviewing process that in the space of time women gradually comes to accept menopause in a more positive light. 

How a woman feels during the course of not only one day but over a period of weeks, months or years may vary tremendously. Depending on individual circumstances feelings towards menopause underwent conspicuous changes: night sweats were a source of bother and irritability one day and absent on other days thereby causing feelings to swing back and forth like a pendulum on a clock.

Menopause is an individualized experience with nothing about it cast in stone. Some women welcome the prospect of not having no more menstrual periods, notice little to no differences in their bodies or moods and cannot understand what all the fuss is about. Others find the change of life bothersome and disruptive that they might feel that their life will suddenly come to a still stand or abrupt end.


   


It can be the passage to the most passionate, powerful, productive, and purposeful time of a woman’s life.


Of interest to me is the overlap of many of the middle age "symptoms" with the symptoms list for menopause. This overlap adds weight to the argument that many things are blamed on menopause, which are more accurately simply a function of midlife and aging in general.

Many women are confused and worried by what they see and hear in the media. Both the media and the medical industry has had the effect of making women think that menopause is a negative thing that should be suppressed, drugged or stopped. My advice is to ignore this and focus on the many more positive aspects of menopause. E.g. for some women plagued with uterine fibroids, migraine headaches and painful menstruation, menopause brings often an end to years of suffering. They are not helped by the conventional medical community, which for most part still sees menopause as a hormone deficiency syndrome requiring diagnosis and treatment. Women have been subjected to the HRT dogma for at least the past two decades.

I’m glad that more and more women are opting for a natural approach because they reject the medication of menopause. A growing number of women opting for a different approach to menopause, through the use of, which involves the use of a healthier diet, supplementation of various vitamins, minerals, herbal and homeopathic remedies. After all, isn’t the change of life a normal event in all women’s lives? Rather than a loss of youth that needs to be reversed by HRT, why not welcome menopause as the beginning of a new freedom from menstrual cycles and reproductive responsibilities?


  


Life after menopause can be a very positive experience. Many women will live thirty years (one third of there lives) after menopause.


To ensure that these “golden” years are enjoyed to the fullest, women must make conscious efforts to improve and build up their health in the years leading up to menopause.

It is not so much menopause; it is the beginning of visible aging that causes these ups and downs. The fear of age and death so perfectly hidden in younger years comes up full force. If science were able to postpone menopause to the sixties without stopping the aging process I am very sure that women would still get into emotional problems in their forties/fifties.

If she goes in seeing menopause as a modern inconvenience and that medical science has all of the answers, she will opt for drugs until she finds that science has few answers and drugs may be a modern horror, not a modern solution. If she sees herself as a victim of her hormones gone out of control, she may fail to ever get to know the integration of her mind, body and spirit. If her life in general is out of control and she chooses to see it all only as a menopause problem, she may sink deeper and deeper into the failure to heal her whole life and prepare for the future ahead.

     


If one believes there should be a cure for menopause, one will make choices to look for cures.


This is not in response to menopause, but a reaction to a mindset already in place even before menopause. This is the song one sings about one’s menopause.

Or some women come to menopause to listen and learn; so then they become observers of their own bodies and the context of their lives and responses to menopause on many different levels. It may not even have anything to do with their physical body at all, but more to their spirit and choices in other areas of their lives. Just sharing the experience with other women is often mentioned as one of the best comfort measures there is.


    


We are the first generation of women who are finally talking about this from our own experiences and words; in modern times, and from women all around the world. We need to understand menopause and for the past few years several of us have really been trying and with some good successes found ways to understand it. But most importantly of all, it is the job of every woman to define her own menopause in her own terms depending on the uniqueness of her own life. No one can do that for anyone else. We all come to this time with vastly different accumulated experiences, life situations, personal histories, and accumulated fears and accumulated accomplishments.

Some women come to menopause to listen and learn; so then they become observers of their own bodies and the context of their lives and responses to menopause on many different levels. It may not even have anything to do with their physical body at all, but more to their spirit and choices in other areas of their lives. Just sharing the experience with other women is often mentioned as one of the best comfort measures there is.

This is not a medical response per se but a lying down of fears of being alone and misunderstood (stress/angst?) and when that is comforted one perceives their experiences very differently. Time too must be factored in, as those who have become detached "observers" have found that menopause will have its way no matter what. Delaying menopause with artificial attempts to trick the body or the mind only leads to unresolved problems later on.

    

So many women who keep looking outside themselves for "cures" or blindly put faith in their MD's keep coming back with more and more problem, hoping for the miracle "cure" of the mostly normal menopause related changes of the female body. So often they then just return to the doctors office with even more twisted health problems.Menopause then becomes a medical problem.  Lives can be crazy, not menopause.


Think of what do you feel about menopause and how do you introduce women to menopause.


Do you start by telling them all the things that can go haywire at menopause? That tells a powerful story right there. I believe that we need to develop to share all the good things that happen as well.


     


Removing the Stigma of Menopause


There are a number of myths about menopause, many of which can fuel the stigmatisation of this natural change of life.

These kinds of myths can also fuel the fear and dread that some women experience as they approach menopause. Not only that, but they can encourage poor women's health choices when women have misconceptions around menopause. Even men share these false ideas about menopause and may incorrectly assume that a woman is no longer a sexual being after menopause, for instance.




Menopause is a healthy, normal part of life.


One of the biggest misconceptions about menopause is that it is a disease. Whether it is the medical community or the general public, menopause is approached as a disease that requires rapid treatment. It isn't to say that the symptoms of menopause are not uncomfortable and challenging for women to handle. Indeed, the very word 'symptoms' implies a disease as well. However, menopause needs to be recognised as normal and natural while women are encouraged to actively take part in the process. This means accepting the changes, weighing the risks and using treatments where appropriate.


 


Poor diet and lack of exercise are the key reasons women gain weight.


For the vast majority of people, weight gain occurs from a poor diet of excess calories combined with inactivity. While our body composition does naturally change with age, this does not automatically mean that a woman will become fat. She can generally maintain a healthy body weight if she embraces a healthy diet and includes regular exercise in her life.



After menopause many women feel even sexier and more confident.


Although there are some issues in menopause such as vaginal dryness and discomfort with sexual intercourse, a woman's intimacy, bonding and sexual experiences can become more meaningful. A woman can feel, look and act sexy after menopause. In fact some women find that they feel sexier when they don't have to worry about birth control or periods each month.


Given the current life expectancy rates, a woman will still live a significant portion of her life after menopause.


A woman can expect to live decades past menopause and she will spend a large portion of her life in post - menopause. She can feel healthy, energetic and motivated during her post - menopause years.


 


Menopause can affect moods but most women can find ways to effectively handle the changes.


Menopause can certainly affect a woman's moods and this is one of the characteristic symptoms of menopause. At the same time, mood swings are not akin to craziness. The image of a screaming, irrational menopausal woman is an unfair and false stereotype that has sadly made women dread this change of life. Women have many options for improving communication and relieving stress, both of which help them to handle mood swings.


 


While menopause is a normal, natural and healthy part of the ageing process, there are still increased risks for certain conditions.


Menopause is a natural process that should be respected and appreciated as normal. However, this doesn't mean that there are no risks associated with the decline in estrogen levels. Osteoporosis and a number of other conditions are more likely to occur. You should still speak to your doctor or to an experienced homeopath about how to prevent the health problems that can occur after menopause.


Even though menopause can trigger symptoms of depression, it is not considered a clinical cause of depression.


The physical and emotional changes of menopause can leave some women feeling sad or nostalgic, particularly if they mourn the passing of their fertile, child-bearing years. While a short course of antidepressants may be prescribed to treat these symptoms, the actual symptoms are typically milder ones than those seen in depression – particularly persistent depression. Menopause is not considered a clinical cause of depression.



Although the average age of menopause is fifty-one, a number of women will still reach menopause at a much earlier or somewhat later age.


Most people associate menopause with the age of fifty, but there are still women who will experience a premature menopause or a surgically induced one at a significantly younger age than the average onset of menopause. Others may not reach menopause until their late fifties. This means that a woman can experience the symptoms of menopause during a relatively large time span.



The menopausal transition and symptoms can persist for a decade or more.


As if a few years of symptoms are not challenging enough, some women will experience menopausal symptoms for more than a decade. These symptoms can continue well into the post menopause phase, particularly sleep problems. Contrary to popular belief, menopause is far from being a process that occurs virtually overnight.

Moving Beyond the Myths of Menopause


You may be surprised by how many myths of menopause you had previously believed to be true. If you are like many people who share these misconceptions, you can perhaps move into this natural change of life with a new found confidence and appreciation for yourself and women's health. In turn, your knowledge of the facts can be shared with your friends and family members, thereby helping even more women to approach menopause with a clear sense of the facts about menopause.

    

  • Surges of empathy towards other menopausal women.

  • Freedom from monthly periods.

  • No more worry about getting pregnant

  • Flashes of deep creativity and insight

  • Discovering new approaches to old problems - logical folks becoming more intuitive, or vice versa. 

  • Sense of deep autonomy. 

  • Feeling far more grounded in the present moment, than dwelling in the past or obsessing about the future.

  • Hot flashes sometimes act as pointers to underlying stress. One woman finds they shed feelings of angst and stress from the body, rather than internalizing those feelings. 

  • Need for less sleep giving more hours in the day, thereby extending life during good productive years and giving time to ourselves when the rest of the household is fast asleep.

  • New surges of emotions that enliven and energize and lead to new risk taking adventures and rewards.

  • Increased awareness of one's own body and how it works. Menofog: Brief vacations for the busy brain.

  • A growing ability to react to one's momentary slips and foibles with laughter instead of tears ("How the heck did that bra get in the freezer?") In spite of menofog or, perhaps, because of it, the ability to pare things down to their essence and think logically.

  • The growing knowledge that one has less time left can prompt one to make better (deeper, more profound) use of that time, paring away the trivia in favor of what really counts.

  • Wisdom 

  • A sense of closeness with nature.

  • Beneficial reassessment of lifestyle, habits and diet.

  • Desire to clear out/up the accumulated emotional baggage to date.

  • Flashes of inspiration on the blindingly obvious (e.g. the world won't end if the windows don't sparkle).

  • Recovering past joys, past interests. Appreciation for some things, (misplaced but now recovered) that you had previously taken for granted.

  • Greater freedom to do what *we* choose - fewer responsibilities for others. 

  • Ability to step back from yourself.  To accept who you are.  To take your own inventory and stop taking other people's.

  • Greater willingness to accept oneself as an authority.

        

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