This month I have been re-reading a book by Dr Christiane Northrup called “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom”. Originally released in 1995, it has been updated and reprinted many times since then and is a great reference book for all issues related to women’s health. The reason that I consult it so often is because it covers each topic from a holistic viewpoint and doesn’t just rely on the western model of health and care.
I have just finished reading a chapter all about menopause so have decided to focus this month’s blog post on the same topic since it’s at the front of my mind! Included is an overview of what the menopause is and natural ways to cope with the side effects.
Firstly, some background information on the menopause. This season of a woman’s life usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55. It can occur quite suddenly or over a period of 10 years and is caused by a change in levels of sex hormones, as well as the ovaries becoming less receptive to other hormones. Because of this, ovulation and menstruation become more and more irregular until finally ceasing.
Biologically, this means the end of childbearing but the symbolic beginning of a new chapter in the woman’s life and, possibly, the chance to focus on her own needs and interests again. In a culture that celebrates youth and fertility, it is easy to lose sight of the positive aspects of the menopause but it can be helpful to remember that menopausal and post-menopausal women have a wisdom, power and beauty that only come from experiencing this life stage.
Symptoms of the menopause and natural ways to cope
The symptoms of menopause that women can experience include: fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, dizziness, decreased libido, decreased confidence, mood changes and hot flushes.
Making positive lifestyle changes can help in managing the symptoms, this includes supporting yourself with good nutrition. Including lots of whole foods and reducing sugar and caffeine consumption can help. Incorporating foods like soy beans that contain phytoestrogens can also help.
Sleep is another important aspect. Developing a relaxing night time routine to prepare yourself for sleep and aiming to be in bed by 10pm can help.
Getting some light to moderate exercise a few times a week is so beneficial to your physical and emotional health too, so try to find something you enjoy and that leaves you feeling invigorated rather than depleted.
There are a few complementary therapies can help support you through menopause as well, including herbal medicine prescribed by a qualified medical herbalist. There are various herbs which can reduce the severity of symptoms. Reflexology can help you to achieve balance within in the body, reduce stress and improve mood, as can massage using specially chosen essential oils. You could also use essential oils at home in a diffuser or added to a bath.
Hopefully this post gives you some inspiration and ideas to explore more thoroughly and if you know anyone who might benefit from the information then share this blog post with them!