Friday, June 29, 2012


Menopause is that point at which the female body ends it's reproductive time.  Every woman meets "The Change" at some point - either when it is surgically imposed or aging supplies it.  It is met with a wide variety of emotions including gratitude, nervousness, sadness (even grief), loss, and perhaps freedom and relief. It's very common to mourn the loss of reproductive capability.  It is common to struggle with new conceptions of body image.  Almost never does a woman feel bad about not having a regular period any more.  

Menopause does not happen overnight; it comes on gradually over a period of at least a couple years and maybe a lot more.  It may begin in a woman's early to mid-30's with menstrual changes.  One example being a gradually lengthening menstrual cycle; instead of 26 days it goes to 27, then to 28...  Another example is periods may get heavier or have more clots.  Uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts may flare up.  This is a result of estrogen dominance.  It is common for estrogen levels to increase relative to progesterone.  Some natural progesterone support can improve the uncomfortable aspects of this transition time.  Eventually, in her mid-late 40's typically, periods will begin skipping.  Hot flashes commonly begin occurring.  Depression, irritability, or anxiety may increase.  Libido and vaginal secretions may change.  Doctors can test for menopause once periods get irregular or non-existent.  The test is for Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), a pituitary hormone that stimulates the ovaries.  When the ovaries quit responding the FSH levels go very high.

The symptoms of menopause -- the hot flashes, the vaginal dryness, the irritability, etc. -- can be managed naturally.  In fact, the more naturally the symptoms are handled the better the chances you will "outgrow" the symptoms.  The typical time frame for the symptoms to occur is three years.  Artificial hormone replacement only postpones adjusting to the new hormonal balance.  Treatments vary widely.

It is important to know that every woman's experience of menopause is slightly different.  Each woman is a unique combination of mind-body connections, biochemistry, diet, and lifestyle.  All of these elements are interrelated in completely unique ways for every woman.  No predictions can be made ahead of time or during.  No one treatment is going to be uniformly effective for all women; each treatment has to be individualized.  Individualizing a treatment (if it is needed) comes by trial and error.  An experienced practitioner can guess on a good place to start, but what the treatment evolves into is a unique creation between the woman and her practitioner.  So, the closing word here is: know that there IS a solution to the discomforts of menopause and don't rest until it's found.    

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