Menopause: a Time of Change, a Time for Change by Sana Turnock
Menopause marks the end of a woman’s ability to naturally have children as menstruation has completely finished at least 12 months prior. According to various resources, the typical age range in reaching this time can be anywhere from 48 to 55 years of age. A conversation I had with a GP I used to visit suggested the age is a lot younger, certainly for peri-menopausal symptoms. He claimed he had been treating someone in their late twenties. The overall peri-menopause to menopause transition appears to be anywhere from seven to 14 years (1).
Symptoms vary for all women and can include one or more of the following due to (crazy at times) hormone fluctuations:
Changes in mood and Increased emotions (ie. anger, teary-ness, outbursts), Irritability/ increased emotional sensitivity, anxiety, depression
- Hot flushes/ flashes, night sweats
- Periods become more painful
- Food sensitivity (not being able to eat what you used to without a problem)
- Weight gain
- Aches and pains
- Loss of libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Change of skin tone
It is concerning to me that the age is becoming younger. What is this about? Let’s identify a few possible causes as to what can influence hormone fluctuations to bring on peri –menopause/menopause earlier - in some cases, in a very intense way?
1. Chronic stress – cortisol levels play a role in influencing progesterone levels
2. Environmental factors (exposure to certain toxic chemicals)
3. Certain foods (and our consumption of such foods on a regular basis)
4. Certain cancers
5. Certain auto-immune conditions
6. Surgery (such as a full hysterectomy)
7. Pharmaceutical medication
The above points are not being further explored in this blog (the blog will become too long otherwise) but have been listed for you to reflect upon in-case you find yourself in this position. I will say this though this list has been compiled as a result of my own research, professional observations and conversations with women, GPs and specialists.
The menopausal trajectory is well-worn. Our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers before us have travelled along this path. Our daughters and grand-daughters will do so after us.
Modern science and more traditional forms of medicine (natural therapies) are beneficial during this time. There is no wrong or right method to choose. Do whatever works for you. Don’t lock yourself into one way during this time. The biggest natural therapies sceptic may find that a natural therapy method may be extremely beneficial for them as a support alongside modern science. I know during my own journey, a combination of modern science and more natural and esoteric forms of complementary medicine have been beneficial and invaluable at certain points along the way.
The transition towards menopause is such an important time on so many levels. It really is a time for change – to surrender to it, embrace it and have the courage to move forward by letting go of old belief systems and old ways of doing things in order to allow for new beginnings to take place. For some this can be an intense time as it may mean leaving a spouse or a job. In some instances our hand is forced. How we respond depends on our emotional-balance barometer. This is sometimes very tricky to gauge during time of change.
Having worked with women for many years in practice, I have found suppressed emotions (from childhood, adolescence and trauma) play a big role in how women can move through menopause. I have used plant medicines such as essential oils, bush flower essences, Reiki and reflexology to help women manage physical, mental and emotional symptoms and in some cases really turn their lives around so that there is clarity, long term symptom management and new direction. This is a privilege to observe and empowering to the client.
Working with natural therapies is not necessarily a quick fix but there are far less side effects than when taking part in conventional medicine.
If you are currently travelling along the peri-menopause/menopause pathway and want to explore natural therapies further, my suggestions are to delve deeper into changing or modifying your diet, use herbal medicine as a way to balance hormones and settle inflammation issues, use essential oils and bush flower essences to balance mood, emotions, sleep problems and memory, some basic but good quality vitamins and minerals to help cellular function, and reflexology on a regular basis to work all the systems of the body.
The key is to find excellent practitioners in their field. Help practitioners by being honest and open with them so that they can create a good foundational framework for you. By this I mean providing bespoke formulas for your needs, creating appropriate dietary plans and home care plans. Then follow through.
While you can go to a chemist, health food shop or online to do your research and buy what you think you may need, this is a hit and miss approach. Find specialists in their field. For example, these could include a naturopath/nutritionist, herbalist, clinical aromatherapist, reflexologist, Reiki master (or Reiki II practitioner). If you are lucky you just may find a practitioner who has one or more of these skill sets. Once you have done this, be committed to improving yourself. Work together towards your time of change. There is nothing more a natural therapy practitioner likes than to work with someone committed to making improvements in their health and wellness.
If I can be of assistance in any way please make contact via www.sanaturnock.com
You can also view these links.
FB: Joyful Living with Sana Turnock
1. National Institute on Aging, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause, 27/6/17, Retrieved 5th March 2018.
2. Photos taken from Pixabay
· Health Direct - https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/menopause
- Christiane Northrup (M.D) – The Wisdom of Menopause, 2012: Hay House ISBN: 9780553386721