I find it very interesting that woman in our culture, know very little about their bodies, particularly about the topic of perimenopause and menopause. When we're young, we're taught about getting our "periods" and in our fertile years, we learn about having children....
But what happens after that?
The majority of women I see in my practice, whom are about to embark in perimenopause, have no idea what to expect of their body. They generally label, the peri menopause stage of their lives, as menopause.
So let us discuss the differences, and unique distinctions...
I liken perimenopause to puberty. In puberty our hormones shift and our bodies change and we move from girlhood to womanhood. This can be a disconcerting time for some young girls as hormone shifts can not only affect the physicality of our bodies but it can also affect our emotional lives. This can be similar to the affects of perimenopause. Just as in puberty, we can feel the effects of our hormones, which in turn affect our sleep, our emotions, energy, food cravings, body weight and self image.
This can also be a disturbing time for some woman, if they do not gleam the gifts of perimenopausal.
Some of the most common symptoms of Peri Menopause:
Some secondary signs of perimenopause:
Changes in hair
Changes in skin
Changes in sex drive
Urinary tract infections
In North America perimenopause often occurs between age 44-52. It can take 4-8 years for hormones to regulate and this can lead to different signs and symptoms cropping up thought out this time before your menses permanently stop. During this time your ovaries are rebalancing estrogen and progesterone products preparing for the cessation of your menses. Once your menstruation has stoped for one year you are considered to be in menopause.
Menopause is currently considered to be when a woman has not menstruated for a year.
Though our bodies are changing from that which we once knew, the wisdom we attain, if we listen deeply at this phase of our life can bring newness and a deep spiritual connection to our lives.
Though a percentage of woman may experience signs and symptoms of menopause a great deal of woman experience no signs and symptoms and one day their periods just stops.
Our bodies are amazing teachers and perimenopause can be an incredible wake up call for some.
As woman we have an innate instinct to be caregivers and take care of all around us, making sure that everyone's needs are met and everyone is happy. Often times this puts our needs in the back seat. Perimenopause is the time when your body stands up to be counted and say's "hey, pay attention to me, I am worth your attention". If your body has been last on your priority list over a busy family/home/career and you have not nourished your bodies needs at this point signs and symptoms may show up shouting for attention. Changing your diet and lifestyle can be exactly what your body is asking for. Eating nourishing home cooked meals, slowing down and reducing the amount of stress in your life can go a long way at this point.
If your symptoms are unruly, and you have changed your life style and diet, then you may need to seek the help of an expert.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been successfully treating all gynaecological symptoms for over 3000 years. Offering not only acupuncture but lifestyle and diet tips, as well as individualized herbal formulas.
I also want to highlight a Doctor, Author and woman's health advocate who has been teaching woman about their bodies and their health for decades now, Dr. Christiane Northrupp. Dr. Christiane is the author of Woman's Bodies Woman's Wisdom and instrumental book published in 1994 that changed the face of the way woman look at their bodies and their health. Dr. Christiane continues to be a woman's health advocate teaching woman all aspects of health in a very understandable and digestible way. I love her work and highly recommend learning from this incredible woman. Two of my most recent favourites from this brilliant woman are Goddess's Never Age and The Wisdom of Menopause. I know that you will gleam some incredible insight from her!
In the mean time if you are heading in to perimenopause take stalk now. Are you putting yourself first? What is your body saying to you?
If you are not in perimenopause and maybe have a decade yet to get there prepare now. As they say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure:)
Dr. Tanya Kelloway DTCM, RAc
If you would like to know more, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Tanya Kelloway, to guide you through the process
Have questions? Schedule a 15 minute consultation