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Menopause: Your Brain Actually Changes!

The second in our series about Menopause by our guest blogger, Jan Roberts

If you’d lived 200 years ago, you may never have reached menopause at all. But today if you get to fifty years of age in good health and have had no major illnesses or operations, you might confidently expect another fifty years. So you need to be sure that they are good years! It’s estimated that 1.2 billion women worldwide will be menopausal or post-menopausal by the year 2030. That’s a lot of “women years” that have the potential to be empowered, creative, productive and fulfilling!

Most women now have an appreciation of their different reproductive hormones, many having over-ridden their normal cycles for a couple of decades (or more) with combinations of oestrogen and progesterone in some form of hormonal birth control. Those, and other lesser-known hormones, I’ll talk about in a future post, but what is even less well known and certainly paid a great deal less attention is the alterations that take place in a woman’s brain at menopause. Research into the physiological changes that take place at this time shows that your body and specifically your nervous system is quite literally, being re-wired.

In a nutshell, when the monthly cycle of reproductive hormones that set you up for nurturing and looking after others is finished, your changing neurology is setting you up to look after yourself. You’re actually being encouraged to ask the question - “what about me?” For a great many women, this major shift in focus comes as a complete surprise. Some women think they’re going mad, having no patience or tolerance for the very people that have been their major concern for so many years. It may be the first time in their lives when the focus actually shifts to them.

However, once recognised and acknowledged, this shift can actually be extraordinarily liberating, but it can be the exact opposite for children, partners, elderly parents and even friends. Taking a good hard look at what you want in this stage of your life can mean major shifts in your relationships, both personal and professional. But it can also mean tapping a great well of creativity with the potential for extraordinary fulfillment at a time when you might otherwise feel that your best years are past.

Many women feel more confident, more creative and more fulfilled in their post-menopause years than at any other time in their lives. So don’t fight it!! At menopause, you have the chance and the urging to become queen of yourself. But honouring your own needs is often very confronting, especially when those needs may have been on the back burner for a few decades. Trying to stop this birth of a new woman is not only impossible, but if you fight it - unhealthy.

When you fail to acknowledge and honour your needs and desires - if you try to halt the process, stifle the new person trying to emerge, your health will suffer. In repressing the real you, you contribute just as much to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, impaired cognitive function and other issues as do your declining hormone levels. To use the words of another author and teacher, “your biography becomes your biology.”

Senior woman enjoying working on her hobby of quilting in her sewing room at home

So in honouring this amazing transformation that is taking place, you must know where to begin to honour yourself. How can you best support those amazing and positive changes that you’re undergoing? Well, that’s what I’m going to talk about in future posts…

Jan Roberts

Jan Roberts

Studies in nutritional medicine prompted a career shift for pharmacist, Jan Roberts, with UK-based Foresight, the Association for Promotion of Preconceptual Care inspiring her 40-year journey. Jan’s passion for preconception healthcare as the surest way to have a truly healthy baby spawned six books, e-books and 3 mini e-books (all published by Penguin Random House), presentations to lay and professional audiences around the world and articles for consumer magazines and professional journals. Now, on a daily basis, on behalf of Symphony Natural Health Jan advises women, whether in the reproductive, peri- or post-menopausal stage of life, on natural ways to achieve healthy hormone balance.

Can’t wait for those posts? Feel free to contact Jan: