Unveiling the Mystique of Menopause
Proverbs 3:6 – In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
Ladies, God has called us to be informed about our bodies and to take care of them. Our obedience to him allows us to be a part of His work. As we approach this important part of our life and we acknowledge Him as we go through it, he will direct your path. This is a promise to you in Proverbs. Believe me, you need His direction! The decisions you will make or don’t make regarding this phase in your life will effect your marriage, your parenting, your friendships, your physical health, and your mental stability. Pay attention, this is important!
What is Menopause?
Menopause is when your period stops due to reduced estrogen levels in the ovaries. Meaning, that the reproduction phase of life is complete.
When does it Happen?
Menopause is considered normal when it happens after the age of 40. If it happens early, it is usually the result of a hysterectomy, or damage to the ovaries (chemotherapy). Menopause that happens before the age of 40 is called “premature” menopause.
How Does it Happen?
Menopause is a process that begins years earlier and this is wherein the problem lies for most women. This process is termed “peri-menopause”.
How Long does the process last?
Peri-menopause can take from two to five years to complete itself. This phase of life effects women in different ways.
How does Peri-menopause effect me physically and psychologically?
Some women go through this time in their life with ease and some have varying symptomatic issues due to surges and drops in hormone levels during this time. These issues are both physical and psychological. Below I have listed some of the symptoms of peri-menopause. Personally, I have experienced at least half of these and I am only in the second year of the process.
- Pre-menstrual Syndrome – If you already have it, then it will most likely increase.
- Vaginal dryness
- Irregular periods
- Mood changes, irritability, anxiety, depression
- Memory lapses, forgetfulness
- Headaches Sleep disturbances/tiredness
- Weight gain
- More aches and pains – head, joints, back
- Heart palpitations
- Changes in sex drive
- Loss of elasticity in the skin, and dryer skin
- Hot Flashes
What changes can I expect after I reach menopause?
- Bone loss – Be proactive now
- More aches and pains
- More loss of skin elasticity – Be proactive now
- Thinning Hair – Be proactive now
What can I do to prepare?
As women, it’s especially important for us to prepare ourselves mentally for this life change. To prepare mentally, we need to switch our life mindset from the physical outward appearance to the inside appearance that we project outward to others. A youthful attitude, mature deep thoughtfulness, and joy in all circumstances speaks volumes to others about who you are in comparison to the shallowness of the physical appearance.
We need to find acceptance within ourselves as we age. As a Christian our identity is through Christ and not through the eyes of man. Meaning, that we are children of the king and we are loved inside and out by him. 1st Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. No matter what we’ve done, we find His acceptance through the cross. When things in life go sour and we lose some of the things we’ve always known, we still have Christ and he never changes, so we know that we matter and we can carry on. We can cling to Him through the insanity and He never moves. He is our rock and our salvation.
When we switch mental gears and begin to live our faith out loud, we become attractive and light literally shines through us to others. Matthew 5:16 – In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. We begin to bear the fruit of our faith and when people look at us they see: love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Isn’t that better than a crazy woman with nice skin and a great body?
Another change that has to transpire to prepare for this phase of life is that as a Christian, our body is the temple of God, so we should take care of it as such. 1st Corinthians 6:19-20 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Taking care of yourself should begin way before peri-menopause, but many times, it doesn’t. That’s okay, because God is gracious. So….begin now!!!
Lifestyle Management for Peri-menopause:
Cardio – It is imperative to exercise on a regular basis. Let this be something that you love, not loathe. A physical hobby, such as a sport, canoeing, walking your dog, or whatever makes you feel good is good exercise. This has to be done at least three to four times a week to receive benefit. If you prefer the gym then a great cardio class will do wonders. Do it to your maximum potential and then watch your body respond.
Strength Training – In addition to cardio, during this time, it is necessary to do some form of strength training for your bones. No need to lift weights if you are doing pilates, or any other class that uses your own body weight. If you don’t have the money or time for the gym, 15 minutes of combined plank, push-ups, sit-ups and wall sits will work just fine!
- For help with joints/aches/pains as well as weight loss, try to eliminate the following from your diet as much as possible: Dairy, corn (including corn syrup), and sugar. For more information on foods that heal inflamatory condition: www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02012/anti-inflammatory-diet
Skin Changes –
- This is the time you should really be concerned about your skin. I’m not sold on sun screen “at all times” unless you burn easily or work out in the direct sunlight a lot. I personally believe we need vitamin D and I believe we are lacking it now as a society partly due to sun screen overkill. Do what is right for you, but drench your body in the natural moisturizer of pure water. Drink water all the time.
- Use a good night cream and day cream. There is truth in the saying “you get what you pay for” so don’t go cheap. Some good brands that aren’t too hard on the pocketbook are: Dermalogica and Neutrogena. Personally I’ve used some real expensive things too, such as Dr. Pericone, and to be quite honest, the above listed work just as well. The key is consistency.
- Take Omega 3 fatty acids for your skin. Eat foods that contain them. Fish!!! (Nordic Naturals is a good supplement brand) Again, you must be consistent.
- Nourish your hair with more conditioner if you tend to be dry. If you were oily then you will be happy that you don’t have to wash as often!
- Use Sulfite free products, especially if you color your hair.
Mental Health –
- Mood Changes, Irritability, irregular periods, hot flashes – Black Cohosh and Chasteberry – www.acudoc.com/black_cohosh_and_chasteberry.PDF
- Evening Primrose Oil – www.herbwisdom.com/herb-evening-primrose.html – Studies have not been done on using these herbs in conjunction with BHRT so it is advised NOT to use herbs if you are using BHRT.
- Try Melatonin. Melatonin is a natural chemical in your body that begins to deplete around the age of 40. It is the chemical in your body that regulates your sleep cycle. Melatonin can also be taken for jet lag.
Why do I need hormones?
Many women suffer greatly from hormone related deficiencies. If your PMS is already out of control then you may have need of bio-identical hormones as you journey through menopause. Being able to control your estrogen and progesterone levels may assist you to better transition through this process, or after the process is complete you may find that being so depleted of these hormones will leave you with some physical symptoms that you just can’t live with, so you might want to consider bio-identical hormones. If so, consult a MD or a DO that is a certified Functional Medicine practitioner in your area.
What’s the difference in synthetic and bio-identical hormones?
It is now proven and was confirmed by a Federal announcement in early July of 2002 that synthetic HRT raises the risk of breast cancer. We have all seen it happen in our lifetime. Our mothers and friend’s mothers were victims of this terrible tragedy. The fact is that these hormones were made from the urine of pregnant horses. In the Bible, God says that horses are an unclean animal, so it goes to show you that we should have known from the beginning that this was a bad idea!
Bio-identical HRT is made from plants that mimic our bodies natural hormones and actually have shown in sampling research to prevent cancer. Using these hormones will give your skin a lift, and reduce many symptoms. The disadvantages of using these hormones during peri-menopause are: expense, consistant monitoring, and the fact that you are delaying the inevitable. The advantages of the hormones after menopause are: cognitive improvement, prevention of osteoporosis, less risk of heart disease, etc.
To get all the latest information on bio-identical hormones Go to: www.bioidenticaltherapy.org
- Just remember that God will always be with you and you have no need to fear this new phase of life. In 2 Timothy 1:7 the Bible says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and a sound mind”.
We need to not let culture dictate our attitude towards aging, but grasp the truth about about aging from God’s word –
- Job 12:12 “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”
- Leviticus 19:32 “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.”
- Proverbs 16:31 “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
- Psalms 92:11-15 ”The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Resources for My Notes:
- Menopause without Medicine – By Linda Ojeda, PhD.
- How the Body Works -By Dr. Peter Abrahams
- The American Medical Association Home Medical Encyclopedia
- Clinical Nutrition Insight
- www. Herbwisdom.com
All statements made above and information provided are not to be utilized or interpreted as medical advice. You should consult a Dr. Before using any herbs or supplements. You should use supplements and herbs only under the supervision of a doctor. You should consult your Dr. Before eliminating any foods from your diet.