What do you know?
What can you expect?
What can you do?
by our guest-blogger, Jan Roberts
What do you know?
Once euphemistically referred to as ‘the change’ most women today can use the word ‘menopause’ without embarrassment (even if publishers steer shy of the topic). But using the word isn’t enough – there is still a depressingly large gap in women’s knowledge of exactly what to expect at menopause, when to expect it and finally, what to do to avoid the miseries that were so aptly and humorously portrayed in ‘Menopause The Musical.’
The facts are these:
- PERI-MENOPAUSE, which precedes menopause, is a stage that can last from 7-11 years. During that time your menstrual cycle starts to change. Those changes can include any of the following and may become more noticeable the closer you get to menopause: irregular bleeding or spotting; heavier, longer periods of bleeding; shorter, lighter periods of bleeding; time between periods may be shorter or longer. These changes are inevitable, but the accompanying symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood and sleep disturbances (and more) are not.
- MENOPAUSE is official when you have been 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. You are also officially post-menopausal after a hysterectomy (even if ovaries remain). Apart from the absence of a menstrual cycle, the symptoms are similar and depressingly: 75% of all women will suffer symptoms, many of them starting during peri-menopause and continuing post-menopause!
While we’re fact-finding, here are a few more:
- Declining hormone levels significantly increase risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. It might surprise you to know that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in women.
- Women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have increased risk of serious health issues including breast cancer and stroke. Current prescribing wisdom for HRT is ‘the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time.’
- Herbal products (e.g. Black Cohosh, Red Clover, Soy-isoflavones) may offer symptom-relief but they have no significant affect on hormone levels.
Let’s back-track to those symptoms – what exactly can you expect?
Well according to the Menopause Rating Scale, those symptoms cover eleven different organ systems and can include (but are not limited to) hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, depression, weight gain, lack of libido, vaginal dryness, insomnia, fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, brain fog, muscle aches/joint pain, poor bladder control… the list goes on!
But it’s definitely not the end of life as you know it! I’m confident that Nature ever intended women to suffer through this stage of life and while menopause itself is non-negotiable, the symptoms that may accompany it are largely not.
What can you do?
What I’ve also learned through forty years of promoting natural ways to healthier conception, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, is that the very same factors that compromise reproduction can also set women up for a difficult transition through menopause. But I also know from experience and the personal anecdotes of many, many women, that making informed choices about your diet, your lifestyle, your environment and most importantly about your career, your relationships, your family and your creativity are the key to making this transformative life event – exactly that!!
And that’s what future blog posts will explore! Simple, self-help steps and some essential natural products to ensure healthier, happier, more fulfilling peri and post-menopausal years!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org