February 26, 2018

For many women menopause is no laughing matter.  Menopause affects women in a wide variety of ways.  Some breeze through this transition and other can be troubled for many years.  The distressing symptoms can test them physically, emotionally and intellectually.  That being said, menopause is not a disease.  It is the natural phase in a woman’s life signifying the end of the reproductive years.In this article I want to educate you about: –

  • What menopause is, how it can affect women differently and how to reduce the impact it can have on your life.
  • Preventative information for women in their younger years to help facilitate a smooth transition when your time comes.
  • Help the male population out there understand what is happening to the women around you, be it your mother, wife, partner sister, teacher or even someone at your workplace.

What is Peri-menopause & Menopause?

  • ‘Climacteric’ or Peri-menopause is the period when the function of the ovaries declines and still getting your period, often irregularly.During this time the symptoms of hot flushes often appear (this stage usually spans 2 – 5 years).
  • 85% of menopausal women suffer from hot flushes and of that group 45% may experience them for 5-10yrs after menopause has begun.
  • Menopause indicates the complete and permanent cessation of menstruation.
  • Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 48 and 55.
  • The main symptoms are vaginal dryness, hot flushes, spontaneous sweating / night sweats  and dysfunctional uterine bleeding (heavy prolonged periods, shortened cycles).
  • Other symptoms often related to menopause include headaches, fatigue, irritability, anxiety/depression, palpitations, poor concentration, weight gain, mood swings, insomnia, reduced libido & forgetfulness.

How can I help my transition through Peri-menopause?

Menopause is not an event that takes place suddenly in a woman’s life.  The type of menopause a woman is to have is largely influenced by general health/lifestyle and dietary habits throughout her lifetime.
The fast paced demands of Western life often leave us feeling very drained and we forget how to nurture ourselves.  Menopause is a time when the woman’s body is trying to preserve blood and energy in order to sustain vitality and longevity.  This aging process is often seen as a very negative time, when really it should be looked upon as a great chance to re-evaluate life.

Here are some simple lifestyle practices that you can adopt immediately to help reduce the severity and duration in climacteric years: –

  • Reduce stress –  balance your stressful times with periods of mental calm and relaxation with things like meditation, deep breathing, Tai chi, walking, swimming, gardening, reading, listen to music etc.  Choose activities that you ENJOY.  Spend time in nature to balance out the time we spend inside, on technology & under artificial lighting – enjoy the wax & wane of the Seasons.
  • Reduce Workload – do not work long hours without adequate rest.  Balance your periods of activity with enough rest to allow your body to rest and recover.  This often applies to mother’s/grandmother’s working full-time, juggling children and running a house.  Delegate, go part-time, learn to say “No”.
  • Healthy Eating Habits – eating irregularly and eating excessive amounts of dairy foods, sugar and greasy-fried foods often aggravates menopausal symptoms.  Avoid processed foods, decrease sugar, don’t skip meals and drink LOTS of water.
  • Limit tea, coffee and alcohol & STOP smoking – these substances are very hot in nature and therefore aggravate menopausal symptoms and hot flushes.

Therefore, based on the above information if you are a young woman at around 35 years of age, take note of all of these factors and start making changes now to positively influence your own transition when it comes.

Menopause & Chinese Medicine

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, menopausal symptoms arise from an imbalance of Yin & Yang.  As we age our Yin & Yang should decline at the same rate – this is called “aging gracefully”.  When either Yin or Yang declines at a faster rate than the other you get an imbalance and unwanted symptoms arise.  I like to compare a menopausal woman’s body to a pressure cooker that overheats & keeps boiling over.

Herbal medicine and acupuncture can help minimize the severity of symptoms that arise  during menopause by bringing the body back into balance – take that lid off the pressure cooker!!   Usually patients notice improvements in their symptoms in the first month of treatment with a course of treatment being 3-6 months.

If you are looking for guidance on how to begin the journey of learning how to nurture yourself, I am happy to help you get you on the right path.

If you taking nothing else away from this article please take on the following advice: –

Never laugh at a woman having a hot flush – be compassionate & tactful
Slow down, take time out to nurture yourself and reduce stress wherever you can

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