Menopause

As women, we will have approximately 500 periods in our lifetime. Our periods begin between the ages of 10-18. We continue to menstruate until menopause (the change of life) begins at the age of 45-55.

Menopause represents a hormonal change in the female physiological process. Certain levels of hormones such as oestrogen will not be released as much as prior, which will cause the process of ovulation to cease.

Just as our periods are a normal cyclical process, so too, is menopause. However, it can induce varied unpleasant symptoms which often have a detrimental impact on the quality of our lives.

 Symptoms of menopause:

  • hot flushes
  • night sweats
  • aches and pains
  • crawling or itching sensations under the skin
  • forgetfulness
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • lack of self-esteem
  • reduced sex drive (libido)
  • tiredness
  • difficulty sleeping – wakefulness or waking hot and sweaty
  • urinary frequency
  • vaginal dryness
  • discomfort with sexual intercourse.

Chinese Medicine Perspective

Chinese medicine takes into account the hormonal changing process of menopause. However, we take a holistic approach and establish any issues of imbalance which may be making symptoms of menopause difficult to manage. According to Chinese medicine, as we age, our kidney Qi begins to drain. Kidney Qi represents our essence as a person or our constitutional health.

Qi is responsible for our development and the health and vitality of our organ systems. If someone

has had a pre-existing Qi weakness due to stress, overwork or lifestyle, then the draining process of

menopause on their body will be stronger. For this type of person, symptoms of; fatigue, anxiety, headaches or lack of concentration are often experienced.

In addition to these problems, if someone enters the phase of menopause with high levels of stress and tends to drink alcohol, coffee and spicy food consistently, their body’s thermostat may not be able to regulate the building of internal heat. The obvious symptoms here are; hot flushes, night sweats, dryness and skin irritations.

This internal heat in Chinese medicine is stored in the liver. Unlike Western medicine physiology, Chinese medicine states the health of the organ system will directly affect the emotional state of a person. Hence if the Kidney Qi or essence is weak and the Liver holds heat and toxicity, there is no doubt the menopausal symptoms will be most unpleasant.

Lifestyle can make a difference!

Health and longevity according to Chinese medicine rely on one innocuous word – ‘moderation’. This applies to the obvious things such as high-stress levels or alcohol consumption, but it also includes over-exercising or being socially very busy. If we enter the early phases of menopause and are run off our feet, odds are, some of these mentioned symptoms will be exacerbated. So it is very important we maintain a healthy lifestyle where rest and recuperation play an equal role as work and fun activity.

Help is at hand

If by chance our menopause symptoms do encroach on our life, it is not always easy to drop everything and move to Byron Bay. Fortunately, Chinese medicine can help through supplements, diet and lifestyle advice.

“When I was suddenly thrust into what everyone calls menopause (Orchids) earlier than my body planned, I decided someone needed to take charge on so many levels. It was time to not only change the vernacular, but to speak up and say “Hey! This isn’t an old lady’s disease! We aren’t old! We are strong and dammit, we are beautiful and sexy too!”

Lisa Jey Davis author of Getting Over Your Ovaries: How to Make
‘The Change of Life’ Your B!tch.Jane Menstrual Cycle

Written by Jane Ferguson

Practitioner of Chinese Medicine 

 

Published on July 24, 2019