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  • Writer's pictureDove Sprout

Re-branding Menopause

Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life. Even though this is a natural stage and process of aging, it can feel anything but natural, especially because the information out there is quite limited to physical symptoms and does not give the experience the narration it deserves. In getting together with a group of my lady friends last week, we shared a bunch of things that have been happening in our lives and the common question was “Is it menopause?” We know we can expect hot flashes, night sweats, changes in libido and sexual desire, changes in our urogenital systems, mood changes, sleep disturbances, weight fluctuations, bone loss, thinning skin but somehow the words on paper do not give the experience the justice and the attention it deserves….and…is there so much more that could be added to the literature on the experience that could validate what women go through and help to remove the stigma and isolation around it. 

When I was a young girl just starting my period, it was a congratulatory event that we celebrated on the tetherball courts and eagerly disclosed what kind of menstrual supplies we were using. Menopause seems more to be something that goes on behind closed doors with a certain amount of shame attached that we are losing our youth, vitality, feminine flair and no one wants to admit that it’s happening. Obviously there are changes that are happening that we cannot deny, but who is to say that we are “going downhill?” It is my thought that with all the evolving we have done as humans, as women, there are some situations that need a little informational upgrading that celebrate the next phase of life we are entering. 

I can appreciate that there will be a few that have had no issues breezing through menopause and that it was not a big deal to them but I bet many of these women have witnessed their friends battle their way through it. I think the whole transition requires a rebranding beyond separating the physical symptoms of menopause and the emotional symptoms of an unjust label of a “climacteric insanity”...YUCK! We are literally becoming new people with new roles, new responsibilities just when we thought we knew what we were here to do. A girlfriend of mine reminded me that there was a time not too long ago where we did not live past this time in our lifetimes. Age wise, we are now living 2-3 lifetimes in one. As our lifespans are becoming longer we are setting a new precedent for what it means to be a woman in this phase of life. Evolution and change is the only known constant. It's up to us how we want to rebrand and evolve as we move into our next chapters. 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a 5000 year old form of medicine and wisdom,  a young girl matures until the blood and energy in her body overflows and brings menarche (the onset of menstruation) at around (2 x 7) =14 years of age. Then at about (7 x 7) = 49 years of age, the woman’s body needs to conserve energy and blood and therefore begins her transition period (perimenopause) to the complete cessation of menses (menopause). This is a natural homeostatic mechanism and a sign of health dictated by the wisdom of the body that actually slows down the aging process in women. The energetic system of the Kidney is the main system involved in menopause and differentiates two main syndromes; Kidney Yin deficiency or Kidney Yang deficiency according to how any imbalance is manifesting. In Kidney Yin deficiency, more hot symptoms will be prominent: hot flushes, night sweats, red face, hot sensations in the palms and soles, ear ringing, lumbar soreness, and constipation. In Kidney Yang deficiency more complicated conditions such as cold limbs, chills, fatigue, grey pallor, puffiness, edema, prolapse, incontinence may occur. Other energetic systems may also become complicated into the mix adding symptoms such as irritability, dizziness, blurred vision, headache, insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, chest discomfort, unstable blood pressure, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, abnormal heartbeat, restless mind, or poor memory. 

What is true in practice is that no woman’s experience is the same as any others. There may be trends of leaning more towards the hot or cold side, but there is no such thing as a textbook case. People are complex in the way that we manifest symptoms individually which leads me to believe we should rewrite the textbook, ladies. Share your experiences with yourselves, your friends, and your healthcare providers to help demystify and destigmatize this transition and celebrate the emerging of a new you. What an excellent time for a reframe!

What you can do: ANYTHING THAT WORKS!! Here are some suggestions.

  • Most importantly, give yourself grace as you transition into a new way of being you. You’ve never done this before, no one’s had your same experience, so just allow whatever experience you’re having to be ok with YOU. And if it’s not ok with you then be ok with whatever steps you need to take towards a better feeling direction.

  • Stay mobile with moderate exercise such as Tai Qi, Qi Gong, Yoga, walking, hiking, biking, or functional body movement exercises…basically whatever kind of activity brings you joy and is not another chore.

  • Try to maintain a healthy diet; stick to the perimeter of the store where the foods that content he most lifeforce energy (Qi) are located; caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sugar, red meat are less tolerated due to a decline in Kidney energy and can cause restlessness in your body that may disrupt your sleep

  • Find ways of managing stress levels with mediation, journaling, calming music, creative expression, time in nature, or any other practice that helps to calm your mind or bring in a peaceful feeling.

  • Talk to your friends. Validate and support each other even if your friend’s experience is way different than yours.

  • Learn to say “No”, respectfully.

  • Work with an acupuncturist or other health care practitioner to help build and balance your Kidney energy or other imbalances that may be causing symptoms to manifest.

  • Consider using herbal supplements or even bioidentical hormones that can help ease uncomfortable symptoms if your quality of life is suffering. Prescriptions will be required by your TCM practitioner (herbs) or MD (hormones).

I would love to go on here as I have much to say, but I’m hoping that some of the info may be helpful for someone who needs it. As always, take what feels right for you and leave the rest. Many blessings to you.


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