Talking about Managing Menopause Naturally
This week is about highlighting women's issues and, when we are talking about menopause, we’ve gone from a time in a woman’s life that barely got press to a topic of hourly Instagram posts, prime time TV focus and interviews at a Government policy level.
Partly this is due to some great movers and shakers who are working hard to raise awareness and create support for women, but it’s also due to our massively compromised hormonal systems shouting out for solutions.
Where we are now
We have over 34 symptoms associated with menopause, from aches and anxieties to loss of libido and vaginal dryness.
As a practitioner I actually see several more symptoms related to menopause that are not on this list – tinnitus, breathing issues, voice changes and recurrent herpes. Things which can cause unprecedented and continual stress.
The conventional option is still only HRT and there is massive confusion amongst women and health professionals about its impact. Added to this, GP’s aren’t trained to differentiate between depression and emotional symptoms associated with menopause. I see many women wrongly prescribed anti-depressants when it’s hormones that need to be addressed.
You may have heard the terms bio-identical or bio-identical hormones? These are micro doses of synthetic hormones and perhaps nature-sourced elements. These can be much easier to tolerate but many women still struggle with anxiety, depression and sleep issues while taking them.
If we, in the West, talk to Nomadic tribeswomen about menopause they laugh. They do not experience the myriad of issues that we do.
The fact is that the signs for perimenopause – the time before periods actually stop - are showing up in ever younger women. True menopause is when symptoms tend to accentuate and when we haven’t had a period for 12 months we are into post menopause.
What can we do?
Some women want to take the natural route. For others HRT is contraindicated or not well-tolerated.
My approach is to work alongside whatever your current choices are and to focus on proven, affordable and easy to access solutions.
So much can be done to make life easier both at home and at work. Alongside homeopathy I prescribe flower essences and give dietary and lifestyle advice. Hot flushes, sleep problems, confidence issues and tiredness can all be eased.
I've prodcued a webinar series and have a Facebook group and there's a 2 hour online workshop in the pipeline for later this year.
For myself I had to relearn what type of yoga worked for me – restorative yoga held me, Feldenkrais allowed me to explore being playful and birdwatching extended my meditative practice.
Where are we going?
Something to think about is that we are all living longer, so we women have many more years post menopause - only a few other species do this and it’s fascinating to think why this might be. In whales the grandmothers teach their sons how to thrive. Are we missing something?
What is the gift of this time we have after our fertile years? I believe it can be a very rich and rewarding time to come into and that International Women's Day is a time to celebrate our collective wisdom and strengths and to hold each other in sisterhood.
Author: Caroline Gaskin MCPH
Copyright © 2023 Caroline Gaskin MCPH. All rights reserved
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