The BBC keeps telling me we do. Is it a taboo? I don’t think so. I think we do talk about it, but I don’t always agree with the solutions presented. I am prompted to write after listening to this piece on Radio 4. Don’t bother with the start, just skip to the end when Dr Susan Bewley says that most “pioneering” ideas about holding off the menopause or replenishing egg stores have been mostly devised by male scientists. Ignore the non-substantiated claims in the middle that the risks of HRT outweigh by the benefits (By whom? For whom? Everyone?) Just because the beeb is the beeb is doesn’t mean we should believe their blanket statements without question.
The good bit is where Dr Bewley frames the menopause in a more positive light saying that the menopause spares us the damage of conceiving when our body is not as ready as if used to be, freeing space for the next generation, and for grand parenting. I say it is more than this.
But do we need to talk about it more, or just consider it more? For women, hormonal health affects us through all our life, not just in the unattractively named “climactic period” but our lives get so busy sometime that we stop noticing our ebb and flow.
I see lots of people raising awareness, I don’t think that’s a problem. Here’s a lovely post by a champion of Women’s Health, Kate Codrington: the Truth About Menopause. I couldn’t have put it better myself when she says this:
Menopause is a natural time of transition, a time of shedding masks and the compliance of childbearing years to finally live your purpose. A time to examine who you are, what you have done and who you want to be next. No wonder we get stroppy; there’s a lot to be stroppy about!
So people are talking, but I can’t help thinking that there should be some kind of introspective process at the same time? It’s OK to acknowledge that this is what is going on for you, but perhaps you would rather keep some of the ensuing emotions to yourself? Perhaps what needs curing will come from some kind of inner healing?
The Endocrine system (your hormonal system) includes more of your body than you may think: your hypothalamus, pituitary gland and pineal gland in your brain, your thyroid and parathyroid, your heart, stomach, intestines, pancreas, adrenals, kidneys, fat cells AND your reproductive organs. So we’re not just talking about fertility or even just about women, hormones encompass things like sleep, digestion, nutrition as well. This is a much bigger picture.
It’s a feedback system so to keep you in homeostasis (balance) constant messages are sent around the body and constant updates are required. In fact some of the symptoms associated with the onset of the menopause are in fact the pituitary gland trying to restart ovulation but getting the wrong feedback. Natural hormones work a bit like the right key for the right lock. Modern medicine for hormones involves suppression, which send this feedback system into confusion: the key looks the same, seems to work but doesn’t do the whole job. So by interfering with the natural feedback, medicating your hormones becomes like a game of whack a mole: bash one symptom down and another will appear.
Imagine a group of women are sitting in a room discussing their experience of the menopause. Superficially their symptoms are similar. They take comfort in that (and comfort is healing and good). But the truth is that they are all experiencing a powerful shift in their own individual way.
The Holistic view considers the whole picture. It considers a transition no different to that of menarche (first period) or into fertility and motherhood. But the sum that makes up the part of our imbalance is entirely unique to us and our response should be individual to us too. The following things might be considered:
Change. Are you good at change in general? It can be very unsettling at the best of times but very personal when it’s your body. Is there something in particular about this change which is more distressing than other elements?
Resources. Do you have enough petrol in your tank? Are you in energy or nutritional deficit?
Minerals. Again, how are your stores? On a cellular level we need our minerals to be in balance for any systemic change.
Elimination. Women’s periods are the third line of elimination, after urine and bowels, but when we don’t bleed anymore does our eliminative process still hold up? If our bowels don’t move so well or we don’t drink enough, the act of no longer bleeding can be like a road block.
Sleep. Do you have enough restorative sleep? Probably not. We rarely do!
This in combination, but by no means exclusively, all contribute to your unique components. There’s no one solution to balancing, but awareness is the place to start.
Thinking about symptoms being “side effects” gives them permission to be there, thinking of them as “messages” give us opportunity to respond.
Somewhere through time, we have lost the ability to listen to our bodies, perhaps because of modern medicine providing a “pill for all ills” and consequently masking the messages. Our bodies have not changed: we still bleed the same way; we still birth the same way; we still transition the same way.
So what to do? You don’t need to see any kind of practitioner to tune in. Consider the list above, keep a brief journal of observations, get some clarity then decide what to do next.
Can I help? Of course I am always happy to help. I offer 15 minute telephone conversations free of charge to see how we might work together. My tools are varied, but the commonality is that I treat the Endocrine system as a whole in whatever life stage you find yourself.
Homeopathy: find the feelings at the heart of the imbalance and gently dissipate them.
Iridology: find any hormone imbalance, organ strength, or functional deficiencies
Detox: any synthetic hormone or drug that might be acting as a block
Nutrition and Herbs: replenish and rebalance
So do let me know if you think we can work together to make your Menopause Marvellous… or at the very least a positive transformational experience.
Whatever you do beware the NICE guidelines due out at the end of the year on the management of the menopause, avoid the over medicalisation, acknowledge the lack of woman-ness and the attempt to “cure us of being human” (Bewley again – she’s on to something!).
All my recommendations are individual to you and free of any affiliate bias.