If you are 40+, you may be experiencing changes in your physical and mental wellbeing which are linked to the menopause. Many women experience anxiety and sometimes depression, as a result of hormone fluctuations which can cause sleep disturbance, mood swings, weight gain, as well as loss of libido and other symptoms such as hot flushes and breast pain.
Although there is a lot of information out there, on the NHS, internet and in book stores, there still seems to be conflicting evidence about the risks of HRT and the benefits of alternative medicine. As a result, women often end up feeling confused and scared and will put with debilitating symptoms for years.
When I have talked to other women about their experiences, the predominant message I have picked up is that “you just have to get on with it”. i.e. it’s something which has to be endured and then forgotten. However, I’m not so sure about that. After all, the menopause can last quite a few years, anything from 3 to 10. It signals the end of our fertile years and is a significant stage in the ageing process. Why are we so keen to gloss over it? Is it something to do with modern western society being obsessed with youth and looking as young as possible for as long as possible? Ageing isn’t fashionable in the 21st century. The media is not very complimentary about older women on the whole and everywhere you look, it’s always about the lengths women will go to, to stay looking young, fit and slim.
So, do we celebrate our bodies’ transition to another phase, or do we accept it as a normal part of the female ageing process? In the United States, there is a new craze “The Hot Flash Mob” where women and men get together to celebrate the Menopause by dancing in the streets. If that doesn’t take your fancy, then perhaps spending some quiet time in a retreat might appeal?.
One thing I am certain of is that our attitude towards the menopause influences how we experience it. In Asian cultures, women look forward to it, because it signals a rise in status and respect within their community. In Japan, the word for menopause is “konenki”, meaning “renewal years” and “energy”. If you are struggling with symptoms of the menopause and would like some tips and strategies which could enhance your physical and mental health, why not join our Workshop Saturday 31st May 2014 in Didsbury, South Manchester – “Life Begins at Forty”. You can book online at Eventbrite (click on this link).
Article by Judith Franklin – Counsellor