Our columnist shares the secrets of a smooth perimenopause
The menopause is a natural, transitory stage. It moves a woman away from the child-bearing years into a stage that, according to ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine perspectives, is characterised by ‘soul development’. Indeed, Dr Christiane Northrop beautifully states that: ‘Our fertility stops being about having children and starts being about what we create for ourselves that benefits us and the people around us’. The wonderful Donna Eden describes this stage of our life as the gateway to the second prime of our life.
Prior to full menopause is a stage known as the perimenopause. During this time our menstrual cycle can become erratic. We may also have PMS type symptoms, including anxiety, change in mood, vaginal dryness, change to libido and sleep patterns, and heightened emotional sensitivity. In addition, it is thought that 80 percent of women experience vasomotor symptoms (more commonly known as hot flushes, or night sweats). This is when women may have (often rapid) changes in body temperature, palpitations and a shift between experiencing heat and chills. This is thought to be caused by the hypothalamus at the base of the brain, which is affected by fluctuating hormone levels.
Symptoms of perimenopause may continue for many years before full menopause is reached, but symptoms may be better managed naturally if identified, supported and brought back into balance earlier on. A 2015 study, Positive well-being during the menopausal transition: a systematic review, found that the wellbeing of a midlife woman was related to being physically well, exercising moderately and expressing a positive relationship to this change in life.
The journey through the shift may not always be easy for some, but, it seems, waiting on the other side is the opportunity to flourish, deepen and awaken to your innate wisdom.
Henrietta Norton is an established nutritional therapist, women’s health expert and founder of award-winning supplement brand Wild Nutrition
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