Menopause

~ Carol Belanger, BA, RM

With aging comes the natural transition through Menopause. In some cultures, women are recognized and celebrated for the wisdom their years have accumulated, and they achieve newfound status at this time.

Some women begin to experience mild to significant discomfort at this time, putting accolades of status and wisdom on the night table while efforts to sleep are wrestled with the blankets and elevated body temperature. Hot flashes are common symptoms of menopause. In some cases other symptoms develop as well including headaches, insomnia, anxiety, blood pressure fluctuations, irritability and fatigue, exacerbated by sleep disturbance. The flashes tend to occur more commonly and more intensely during the first two years of menopause, but can last longer for some women.

Hot flashes in menopause occur in conjunction with falling estrogen levels as regulated by the pituitary gland in the brain, near the body’s thermostat. Women commonly find that coffee, alcohol, hot food, hot drinks and hot weather aggravate the symptoms. Emotional stress is also a contributing factor. When the body feels stress temperature levels go up.

The circulatory system can help in the regulation of body temperature, thus gentle stretching, breathing and relaxation measures can reduce the symptoms. Try Qigong classes which begin again in July that combine gentle stretching with breathing and relaxation. Energy treatments also assist in calming the hormonal system, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, balance breathing and promote relaxation. These treatments are particularly helpful for calming the neurotransmitter norepinephrine and the adrenal glands, reducing the overall stress level and wear & tear in our bodies from living in today’s fast-paced, product-oriented society.

Time to focus more on the self and support our transitions of life, will help us to adjust to them and appreciate some of the benefits that come with the transitions as well. It’s time to become people-oriented, and a good place to start is with ourselves!