Today I am chatting about Menopause, loved by some as it signifies the ending of the menstrual cycle and for others it brings a whole new array of uncomfortable symptoms which may make the previous monthly ‘period’ seem like a walk in the park.
Menopause is ‘a rite of passage’ and ideally it can be seen as a gift for all your hard work as a woman and/ or Mum. It brings with it a deep sense of wisdom and compassion. It is wonderful if we as women can see this transition in a positive light. To do this we need to be free from symptoms or at the very least have tools to manage these symptoms if they present.
Menopause literally means stopping menstruation, it comes from the Greek word meno meaning (monthly) and pause meaning (to stop). Menopause is diagnosed when the last menstrual period has occurred 12 or more months previous, it is considered ‘normal’ if this change occurs between 45 and 55 years of age. With 50 -51 years being the average age.
Hormonal changes are often noticed 10 or more years prior to the cessation of the menstrual cycle, this phase is known as Peri-menopause.
Symptoms can include hot flushes, heart palpitations, night sweats, insomnia, nocturia, mood swings or changes, anxiety, low libido, thinning hair, the beginning of facial hair and abdominal weight.
Hot flushes is the symptom consistent with being in menopause, with ¾ of all women experiencing some form of hot flushes.
Body weight has been shown to influence the age that menopause occurs, with thinner women likely to experience menopause earlier. Being overweight may delay the onset of menopause until late into the 50’s. Women who smoke or who have had a hysterectomy may experience menopause earlier.
Evidence shows that a woman’s pre-menopausal behaviours, especially her exercise routine, dietary preferences and how she manages stress all influence the way she transitions into menopause, in terms of health status and the likelihood and severity of symptoms.
During menopause oestradiol (the strongest and main oestrogen found in women) declines and this can bring about certain health outcomes, such as a decline in bone density, coronary heart disease, hot flushes and vaginal dryness. The most important predictor of health status for all of these health conditions is the woman’s level of health prior to menopause.
As a naturopath we take this seriously and see complementary lifestyle strategies as significant in maintaining good health and symptom relief for midlife women and ultimately these need to be in place before symptoms begin.
I cannot speak highly enough about treating the person as a whole, on all levels and addressing the underlying reasons why you are in a place of compromised health. This way we are helping reduce the likelihood of severe symptoms as a woman transitions into this next chapter of her life, one that ultimately we can enjoy and flourish in.
As a naturopath I can offer dietary and lifestyle tips, plus herbs, nutrients and Australian Bush Flower Essences (ABFE) to help support you in this transition and give symptom relief where needed while addressing the underlying related systems and organs.
I look forward to working with you soon.
Blessings Leigh x