Just as with puberty there is no avoiding menopause. This unstoppable transition brings with it a host of bodily changes. As Steven Horne from the Tree of Light has coined, with a small twist from me, the seven menopausal dwarfs: Itchy, bitchy, sweaty, bloaty, sleepy, weepy and psycho. I hope you got a chuckle! The more positive view you have on this natural change, the better the transition.
Unlike the younger rite of passage, and sadly, menopause usually has a negative perception associated with it. Traditionally, the medical establishment has approached this stage of life as a disease, and offered hormone replacement as a ‘cure.’ Well, surprise, surprise, there are no prescription corrections to menopause any more than there is a drug to halt puberty.
Menopause is the natural ending of the female reproductive phase of life. In most women, it begins between the ages of 45 and 50 but can occur anywhere from age 40 to 60. It can also be initiated much earlier due to uterine or ovarian surgery, or certain types of illnesses. This process is not a flip of a switch, but a gradual shift that may last several years or even a decade. At this time, monthly periods will vary becoming irregular and skipped. A woman is generally considered ‘in’ menopause when her menstrual cycle has ceased for one year.
As the ovaries begin retirement, they slowly decrease their production of estrogen to the body. The hormone also does vital work with the vagina, bladder, breasts, skin, bones, arteries, heart, liver, and brain, each of them contain estrogen receptors and requires the hormone to stimulate these receptors for normal cell function. Although levels drop sharply after menopause, the hormone does not disappear entirely. Other organs take over from the ovaries and continue to produce a less potent form of estrogen. The endocrine glands step in and begin secreting such hormones from fatty tissue to maintain bodily functions. Make note, females with the healthiest adrenal glands are least likely to experience menopausal symptoms.
Often in Western medicine ‘natural’ hormone replacement therapy is prescribed. This remedy is a complete misconception, the fact is, the hormones being used are not manufactured by our bodies, nor are they derived from natural plant sources, such as soy products and yams. But are synthetic versions of such. This is partnered with my pet peeve, when, I’m asked by the medical establishment when my last period was when I’m clearly out of my childbearing years. This to me is a lack of respect for the wisdom of my age. It indeed demonstrates the institutionalized oppression deeply ingrained in our society that only young women are valued. I do not view this as a compliment, but an act of stupidity, when it is a plain fact that I no longer have menstrual cycles to report. Allow women to be proud of every stage of their life!
Menopause is truly a fabulous time to celebrate. Ladies are settling into a time – when if they knew then what they know now, life’s challenges might have gone much more smoothly. It is a passage to wisdom. The more positive the attitude, the gentler menopausal symptoms will affect you. Begin by correcting the common misconception that women will lose their sex drive, during this era. In reality, only a small percentage lose their ability to become aroused. Many gals report heightened sexuality because the risk of getting pregnant no longer exists. Yeah! For menopause!
Most ladies will experience some symptoms associated with menopause. They can include anything from hot flashes, dry skin, irritability, vaginal dryness, night sweats, urinary tract infections, mood swings, fatigue and sleep disturbances. But don’t fear there are holistic ways to alleviate all these annoyances naturally.
I always encourage young women to start thinking about the transition years before the change occurs. And with most health challenges the healthier you are, the less likely you will experience troubles. Create a lifestyle that has modest amounts of refined sugar, caffeine, meat, and alcohol. Studies have shown alcohol, meat, and cigarettes can cause premature menopause along with a host of other health problems.
Sweaty and Bloaty will shy away from natural plant estrogens. A diet rich in soy products like tofu, tempeh, and soybeans is valuable in combating symptoms and in hampering the proliferation of cancerous cells. While such delicious foods as, oats, whole grains, cashews, almonds, alfalfa, apples, flaxseeds and many others also contain natural sources of estrogen, although in modest amounts. Adding these estrogen-containing foods, which also have sufficient quantities of magnesium have shown women remarkable relief from hot flashes. A high fiber diet with few animal products will help curb irritability and send the bitchy and psycho dwarves back into the forest.
I recommend a daily multivitamin that contains more magnesium than calcium. Sleepy will slowly become wide-awake as magnesium helps maximize energy production. B-complex is another suggested addition to your routine. The supplement drives nutrients towards the nervous system, which is crucial to supporting your mood. These B vitamins are also helpful for energy support, circulation, hormones, and your overall health.
It is also important to step up your intake of essential fatty acids. They act as natural hormone supplements; they help prevent cancer and are considered an antidote to aging. Fatty acids of Omega-6 and Omega-3 assist in alleviating the symptoms of growing older and for the vain among us helps plumb our skin, giving off a more youthful appearance. Essential fatty acids are also crucial in preventing vaginal dryness. You will find Omega-6 in pumpkin and sesame seeds, and flaxseed and flaxseed oils, Omega-3 fatty acids are sufficiently supplied in diets that contain fish, fish oil capsules and flaxseed oil.
It is also valuable to get your daily dose of vitamin D. I’m a big advocate of walking and getting the sunshine nutrient naturally. Leave the sunscreen at home for your stroll around the block. Exercise will help counter menopausal depression and mood swings because it enhances the production of endorphins and serotonin in the brain. By the way, you will also never achieve optimum health without some activity.
Those nasty menopausal dwarves can stay in the woods as you embrace this incredible rite of passage. Menopause is nothing to dread, let us celebrate the wonderful wisdom of women.