14 Jul Menopause – A Time of Transition
Posted at 05:41h
A woman goes through several biological phases in her life. After childhood a woman enters adolescence by beginning her monthly menstrual cycle. In early or mid-adulthood a woman may become pregnant and become a mother. After motherhood, usually in her 40’s or 50’s, a woman’s body starts to change again. Menstruation becomes irregular and fertility diminishes. This phase is called perimenopause, or the body’s way of preparing for menopause. Perimenopause can last from 2 to 8 years. When menopause occurs, a woman’s body is no longer fertile and therefore ceases menstruating. Menopause usually lasts about a year. Post-menopause is the time after menopause, starting with the first few years after menopause and lasting until death.
With this gradual, but very significant change in a woman’s body, a number of unwanted and uncomfortable side effects may occur, such as:
- Breast sagging
- Hair loss
- Hot flashes
- Night Sweats
- Low libido
- Memory loss
- Skin texture, and external aging characteristics
- Vaginal dryness
- Heart palpitations
- Irregular or heavy bleeding
Pardon Me While I Scream
Our mood and mental well being are highly dependent on our nervous system. It seems obvious that our brain is a huge part of our nervous system but it may surprise you to know that your gut (or what is sometimes referred to as the enteric brain) and your hormones are critically connected to the nervous system. It is essential that our nervous, digestive and endocrine systems are in balance for us to feel peace, calm and joy in life. When any one of these inter-connected systems is out of balance it can affect our feelings of well being.
We all know about the brain in our head with its neurotransmitters that affect our pleasure and pain and regulate our general functioning. The enteric brain is affected by and in our gut (digestive system). “You are what you eat.” We actually produce more serotonin (a brain neurotransmitter) in our guts than in our brain. When we make poor decisions we often feel it as a stomach ache.
A woman’s hormones regulate the cycles of fertility in her body. When a woman’s hormones are imbalanced the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) are significantly worse. Symptoms such as irritability, anger, mood swings, memory, concentration, depression, crying and even sex drive can be disruptive to a woman’s life. Properly formulated herbal combinations can help balance the hormones and alleviate many (if not all) of the PMS symptoms. When the child bearing years are ending a new cycle is beginning. Just as an expertly crafted herbal formula can help balance a woman’s hormones in the child bearing years, it is also extremely useful in alleviating symptoms in menopause.
Minding Your Mind
Memory problems in menopause are so common that women often accept this as rite of passage on a downward slide after the child bearing years.
Memory issues are often complex and can be affected by nutrition, stress, relationships and general health.
While many menopausal women complain of memory lapses, it is often a lack of hormonal balance and can be corrected or at least improved. Eating fish rich in omega 3’s or taking omega 3 oils can also be helpful.
Even more helpful is a naturally balancing herbal menopause formula. Medical treatments mostly forget that sex hormones affect the brain too.
I’m Just Not in the Mood
Many menopausal women are dismayed that their sexual interest wanes, while for a few others it gains a new life. Sexual arousal and climax are complex and variable for women. There are many factors that go into the process including comfort, self esteem, stress, fatigue, condition of relationship, and deeply held spiritual or religious beliefs.
Because hormones change just before and during menopause the vaginal wall thins causing dryness, possible itching, rawness and pain. The majority of menopausal women report that intercourse is painful and affects both partners in intimacy. For some women this is a significant problem.
Western medicine offers estrogen creams or hormonal therapy, which is a band-aid at best and may possibly cause other serious effects later on.
The right herbs can help over a period of months as they can help the adrenals to furnish the body with the proper amount of estrogen. It is important to remember that estrogen is what keeps the connective tissue in the breast and pelvic areas together.