I am often asked about the menopause anything from the range of symptoms to age it begins also many are concerned about it’s impact on their health in later life. I feel the information needs to be more accessible. Part of the reason it’s shrouded in mystery is that until recently it’s just not talked about, even between mother and daughter. Additionally everyone experiences it differently. Increasing awareness is key.
Menopause is when the pituitary, the master gland in the brain stops telling the ovaries to produce sex hormones and over time ovulation ceases. Medically this is when there are no menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months, when your over 50 or 2 years under 50, so long as no other cause is identified. You can see why there is confusion as Menopause is an actual moment in time that we only know retrospectively!
It is the end of fertility however it’s also the start of a beautiful new phase in your life, I can help you enjoy it!
In the western world, the average age at which menopause starts is now 51 but can be as early as 30s or late as 60s. Although there are many factors affecting the age of menopause onset, there is no agreement on them.
If your mother’s menopause was early, theirs a high chance yours will be too. Oral contraceptives may influence but no evidence as they may disguise the symptoms of menopause. Other factors include;
Starting periods later after 13
If you are over-weight
Light physical activity
Eating fruit and a high protein diet
Starting periods before the age of 12 31% more likely between the ages of 40 and 44.
Having no children,
smoking (average 2 years earlier)
Heavy physical activity
A high consumption of polyunsaturated fat contributes to earlier menopause
The changes leading up to the natural menopause are called menopause transition or perimenopause and can begin an astonishing 6 years before. The levels of hormones produced by the ovaries fluctuate, leading to lower progesterone and oestrogen and irregular menstrual patterns, hot flushes (a sudden warm feeling with blushing). Other symptoms of both peri and post menopause include hot flushes, night sweats, trouble sleeping and tiredness and not surprisingly mood swings! Add to that forgetfulness, heavy painful periods, urinary problems, vaginal dryness, low libido and sexual discomfort! It doesn’t sound great and not everyone experiences them all or at the same intensity. This variability adds to the confusion.
Often menopause is seen as a negative in our western culture. In the media recently it’s been more widely discussed with celebrities and journalists and bloggers being transparent about experiences. Meg Matthews, https://megsmenopause.com/ Ulrika Johnson, Angelina Jolie after her hysterectomy,
Gwyneth Paltrow https://www.instagram.com/p/BphYgkvHJKB/
Western culture looks at Menopause as a disease, rather than a natural point in a woman’s life, possibly influenced by our medical system. However this time can be viewed as a positive beginning of a new phase of life, with opportunities to take preventive action against major health risks. E.g. heart disease, joint and bone health, diabetes, weight gain. Of course we are living longer too so we will live more of our lives postmenopausal, so ways to manage it are essential. Women need to beable to cope with life, families and work commitments. We need to give ourselves permission to have the time and space to go through the process, otherwise stress can increase that disrupts hormones and can increase symptoms.
In eastern culture it is more optimistically known as second spring. They often have similar symptoms, but they don’t appear to be so intense. Unfortunately, this may be due a lack of reporting as the culture often prevents openness about the more intimate symptoms. A study suggests that menopause produces similar symptoms in many women, it showed that cultural differences can still shape how people experience this stage of life for better or worse! In India women liked the menopause as it meant more social inclusion and no veil, they also see it as a spiritual awakening! The Japanese have no word for hot flushes and indeed the menopause is not ‘celebrated’ or demonized and experiences are therefore less intense.
Embracing a Second Spring requires acceptance of aging and change. Western culture, has a great fear of aging expressed in out fascination with youth. In most Asian countries, many women do not suffer in menopause. partly explained by differences in diet and lifestyle, but also that age is respected and valued in these cultures. Menopause can be energetic, beautiful, and vibrant when we can celebrate the natural stages of our lives, including menopause. This often is a process of rediscovery, rebirth and are focus on new values including health and wellbeing. I can help you on this journey with personalised nutrition and lifestyle techniques for a smooth transition. For more information request a Discovery Call on the website www.nourishinsideout.co.uk