Ladies let's talk about menopause! If you're in your 40s or early 50s, you've probably heard this term whispered among friends or discussed in hushed tones. It's like a secret club that every woman eventually joins, but there's no need for mystery or fear. In our latest Clinical Hypnosis and Healing Arts for Women blog, we'll explore what menopause is (and what it's not), its definition, and why it's crucial to have open conversations about it. So, grab your favorite beverage, get comfy, and let's dive in!
Myths vs. Reality
Myth #1: Menopause Equals the End of Womanhood. This myth couldn't be further from the truth. Menopause is a natural phase in a woman's life, marking the end of reproductive years and ushers in a remarkable phase of life where the exquisite beauty of maturity takes center stage. You always have been, and you always will be vibrant, powerful, and capable of living your best life, regardless of your childbearing status. Society can often put unrealistic expectations on women, but this is 2023, the benefit of time has blessed us with information, knowledge, and western and eastern medicinal solutions such as safe dosages of BHRT (for those suitable), reiki, and clinical hypnosis. Gone are the days when our hormones get to control us. This is the time we get to be in control of our hormones.
Did you know?
There are many therapeutic treatments for menopause that include both hormonal and non-hormonal options. Below are The North American Menopause Society’s position statements for both. You’ll notice that clinical hypnosis is a favorite for those who are not candidates for hormone replacement therapy.
Myth #2: Menopause Happens Overnight. Menopause isn't an overnight event. It's a gradual process that can span several years, a time period known as perimenopause, before you fully complete menopause. In fact, perimenopause can last up to 14 years before you complete menopause. During perimenopause, your hormone levels fluctuate, leading to various symptoms like irregular periods, hot flashes, and mood swings. Not to mention insomnia, fatigue, or ever get itchy or dry skin? Perimenopause can manifest in a wide range of symptoms. Not feeling yourself? It could be perimenopause!
Myth #3: It's the Same for Everyone. Every person’s menopause journey is unique. Some sail through it with minimal disruption, while others face more challenging symptoms. Genetics, lifestyle, stress levels, and overall health play significant roles in how menopause unfolds for you. However, let me expand on this, just because your mom faced challenging menopause symptoms does not necessarily mean you will, and vice versa. With increased focus on women’s health in the last decade, it’s safe to say that the information and knowledge provided to us now is far more beneficial to our health than your grandmother's or even your mother's menopausal era.
Did you know?
Historically, women were often underrepresented or excluded from clinical research, which limited our understanding of how treatments affected us differently from men. Thankfully, initiatives and policies have now been put in place to begin to address this imbalance. There is still much advocacy needed and work to be done on this point, and we will discuss more of this in future blogs. It is time for women to help women in a way like never before. If we want the help, we know we deserve, we need to rise up and demand it. I, for one, will not stand idly by and let my sisters of “a certain age” become medically invisible.
Now that we've cleared up some myths, let's define menopause:
Menopause: The process of menopause is complete when you've gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. The average age for menopause in the United States is around 51, but it can happen earlier or later. It's essential to remember that the process leading up to menopause is called perimenopause and can start in your late 30s or early 40s. Or, for some people due to surgical menopause or premature menopause, this can happen at a younger age. During menopause, the ovaries produce fewer hormones, primarily estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes lead to the symptoms you've probably heard about, like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, changes in vaginal health, but also muscle weakness, weight gain, loss of collagen, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, brittle bones…I could go on, but I think you get the idea. FYI – You don’t have to live this way.
The Importance of Conversation
Now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about why it's crucial to have open conversations about menopause.
Empowerment Through Knowledge
Knowledge is power. Understanding what's happening in your body during menopause empowers you to make informed decisions about your health and well-being. It allows you to explore different treatment options, from lifestyle changes to therapies like bio-identical hormones, clinical hypnosis, and Reiki, to manage symptoms effectively. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is the leading treatment for those who are good candidates.
Breaking the Stigma. For years, menopause has been shrouded in stigma and silence. By discussing it openly, we break down those barriers. When you share your experiences, you let other women know they're not alone in this journey. Together, we can challenge outdated perceptions and create a more supportive environment. We can approach our physicians and health practitioners with the confidence that comes with being informed and in control of our well-being.
FUN FACT: The mother of a client of mine went through surgical menopause at 43. This was in the early 90s when there was still very little conversation around menopause. My client’s mother, let’s just call her ‘Jenny’, had no idea why she was gaining weight, feeling irritable, and overall, just not herself. Then she did her own research and discovered what surgical menopause meant for her health. She realized she was in fact in menopause. Jenny continued her own research (this was before the internet did the work for us) and found one of the first bio-identical estrogen gels and went to her doctor asking for a prescription. Her doctor had never heard of it before. Jenny insisted she have a prescription and then continued to educate her doctor about how great this gel was, and how it has helped countless women. That day, Jenny not only empowered herself by advocating for her health, but she also empowered and improved the lives of many women who went to her doctor with menopause symptoms. She also educated her daughters about her menopause journey. Ladies, this is how we pave the way for other women!
Seeking Support. Menopause can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. Talking about it with friends, family, or professionals can provide the support you need. At Clinical Hypnosis and Healing Arts for Women, we offer holistic approaches to managing menopausal symptoms and enhancing your overall well-being, so you can reach out to us anytime to start the conversation.
Destigmatizing Mental Health. Menopause can have a significant impact on mental health. Mood swings, anxiety, and depression are not uncommon. Ever found yourself crying for no reason, or getting frustrated at the most basic event? It could be menopause. By talking openly about these issues, we can destigmatize mental health struggles and encourage women to seek help when needed. At Clinical Hypnosis and Healing Arts for Women we always encourage open and honest conversations, this is a safe space where all thoughts and feelings matter.
Nurturing Your Self-Care
Menopause is an opportunity to prioritize self-care. It's a time to focus on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Engaging in conversations about menopause can inspire you to invest in practices like meditation, Reiki, and clinical hypnosis to nourish your mind and body. Having the right tools in your kit and the right team can empower every woman to be their best, look their best, and above all feel their best.
Ladies, menopause is not a dirty word, nor is it the end of your journey as a woman. It's a natural phase of life that deserves to be understood, embraced, and celebrated. So, let's keep the conversation going. Share your experiences, ask questions, and seek support when needed. Whether it's through bio-identical hormone replacement therapy or non-hormonal treatments like clinical hypnosis, and simply connecting with other women, you have the tools and resources to make menopause a positive, comfortable, safe, and transformative experience.
I hope this blog has helped you understand menopause, its myths, and definitions.
At Clinical Hypnosis and Healing Arts for Women, we're here to support you on your menopause journey. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or if you'd like to explore our various treatment options for menopausal symptoms.