Menopause is a natural process occurring in women, usually between the ages of 45 and 55 years, whereby a reduction in hormones produced by the ovaries results in the end of menstruation. Changes in the body are usually noticed before the menstrual cycle ceases and a wide range of symptoms may be experienced, ranging from hot flushes and heavy periods, to irritability, mood swings and depression. It is not surprising that menopause is often anticipated with dread, but as an inherent part of our natural lives, need it be a painful transition?
A Natural Balance
When we are out of balance we experience disharmony in our bodies and any change we face will be difficult. We can provide assistance and support to make this a more comfortable process. Consider all aspects of your life, physical and emotional. Take the time to sleep and exercise, spend time outdoors and eat nourishing vibrant foods. Ensure a balance between your work and personal time and confront any emotional or psychological issues. Be content, this in itself brings healing.
A Change of Perspective
End of reproductive years does not equate to end of life! With newfound freedom from monthly hormonal fluctuations and the experience of maturity, menopause can be approached as an exciting change heralding a fresh start. Anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote, “The most powerful force in the world is a menopausal woman with zest,” so be open to all the positive this change can bring.
Hormone replacement therapy is marketed to both doctors (by the companies who make the drugs) and to patients, as beneficial to health by preventing various diseases. However, research indicates otherwise. According to the US Women’s Health Initiative study, hormone therapy increases your chances of developing coronary heart disease by 29%, stroke by 41%, lung cancer by 60% and ovarian cancer by 38%, to name but a few.
Be well informed from a variety of sources before you agree to hormonal intervention. ‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’ publication is read by both lay people and some doctors to access independent research on medical drugs, rather than research funded by the pharmaceutical companies who are selling the drugs.
Plant derived oestrogen is widely available for symptomatic relief. Soya products, nuts and seeds can be beneficial to include in your diet. Many herbs have a balancing effect on the hormones, however each case must be addressed individually.
Cimicifuga racemosa (Black cohosh): This plant contains phytoestrogens and is useful for arthritic complaints as well as depression as a result of digestive issues.
Humulus lupulus (Hops): Hops have appreciable oestrogenic properties. It’s sedative effects, help to calm visceral tension in the body and ease palpitations and tense bowel states.
Congestion throughout the body can make menopause a challenge and is indicated by the appearance of dull or murky eyes with regular discharge from the corners and lids. Inspection of the region of the iris representing the uterus, ovaries, kidney and adrenal will also highlight potential problems.
Meilyr James BSc (Hons) DBTh DAcu AcuC DIr MGNI
Registered Medical Herbalist, Iridologist and practitioner of acupuncture.
© Extracted from a weekly radio broadcast 2010
Published in ‘Aura’ magazine in November 2011
The Herbal Clinic in Swansea provides natural healthcare with the use of organic herbs, acupuncture and iridology.