Mustering the Madness of Menopause

Happy cloudy weekend to you!

I write yet again from another location - this time from North Stradbroke Island as I help my girl prepare for a surf comp.  There is something adventurous about being a surf mum and I love the spots we get to visit along with the wonderful people we also share these experiences with.

Its good to be part of something. I find that when you are actively involved in a community your level of well being and belonging increases markedly.  But there are times where even being involved in a community can still feel isolating.

I speak with a lot of women who are in the transition of their lives - menopause - where due to a cocktail of hormonal beasts shaking them against their otherwise capable will,  are speaking of feeling disconnected and wanting to 'run from it all'.

There are a number of obvious physical challenges she faces as well - not to harp on them, but in case you were wondering what may be happening, if this sounds like you or someone you know, these are a commonly felt 'side effects' of these hormonal changes:

  1. Surges of unruly emotions- seemingly unrelated to anything that is actually going on - these chemicals skew her perception and heightens her sensitivity
  2. Skin changes - many women will have a reoccurrence of acne and wonder what is the cause of this - shouldn't she be past all that?  The answer lies below.
  3. Cessation or changes in the flow, duration and consistency of her period - depending on the level of inflammation her body is experiencing generally and how poorly she processes toxins like alcohol - this can impact on her cycle quite substantially
  4. Fatigue, body aches, temperature changes, joint pain, changes in cravings for foods are also features of this time in her life
  5. Sleep disturbances are not uncommon in menopausal women (and andropausal men)
  6. Digestive bloating and changes to bowel habits

Wrangling these symptoms in to allow for a smoother transition takes patience and grace - a dose or two of the following may also be helpful and supportive:

Consistent exercise - it has been found that this alone can help combat the flushing to start with but can also help with toxin processing, increasing probiotic bacteria, pain and mood alterations.

Maintaining a diet where the intake of ecology altering foods are kept at a minimum with periods of tailored and supervised fasting can be very useful - a yeast managed diet is a good start.

Herbs like passionflower, zizyphus, chaste tree, shatavari, dong quai, rosemary, Jamaican dogwood  and astragalus offer a number of different actions across the above side effects.

Homeopathic remedies such as sepia, belladonna, sanguinaria, lachesis and pulsatilla all play a role in matching the presentation of each woman who has her own signature of menopausal symptoms.

Salivary hormone testing to check for clearance of stored chemistry is very useful information and equips us with a different understanding as to what your body could be struggling with moving.  Remember the return of acne?  This could be due to a surge in testosterone production and a poor clearance of this and oestrogen.

Meditation, yoga, dance, tai chi and pilates - anything that gently moves the body and stills the mind is perfect for a menopausal woman.

Remember - this is a transition phase - not a permanent one - go gently and be patient - you will emerge on the others side!