Hello dear friends!
The journey into menopause is an ever-changing course of emotional and spiritual growth, offering many opportunities to recalibrate, recommit, and realign to your inner truth. However, we’re also human beings, in these human bodies, and the process is a highly physical one as well! When most women think about menopause, they automatically think of the physical signs and symptoms, and often with a sad or discouraged outlook. We’ve been taught to fear the bodily shifts that come with this season of life, and may find ourselves avoiding the topic or even making jokes about it in order to ease the pain. The truth is, menopause may not be easy from a physical standpoint, but again, this visible, visceral change is also an opportunity for transformation.
From a traditional medical standpoint, menopause is an inevitable, hormonally-based shift from a woman’s fertile years into her non-fertile ones. You will officially be in menopause once you have had no menstrual period for a year or more. The slowing and eventual ceasing of menstruation marks the end of the reproductive window, and hormones that were normally associated with maintaining the uterine lining, ovulation, and ovary health begin to wane.
During the years leading up to menopause (perimenopause), the ovaries slowly reduce their output of estrogen, often in tune with the number of eggs you have left. We women are born with all the eggs we will ever have, and as they become depleted into our 40s and 50s, this serves as a biochemical messenger for menopause. Some women endure early menopause due to surgical removal of the uterus and/or ovaries, scarring or damage to these organs, chemotherapy, or certain medications.
The reduction in estrogen may come with a host of physical changes, some may be uncomfortable. While some women only experience mild symptoms through perimenopause and into menopause, many women report feeling things like:
Dry, irritated skin
The hormonal shifts present into menopause can also increase a woman’s risk for cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, although these may not present with any particular symptoms. Because hormones are vital chemical messengers within our bodies, even a small change can create significant shifts that may be unpleasant. However, just because we’ve been taught that menopause has to be an uncomfortable, discouraging process, doesn’t mean that it actually will be. While hormonal shifts are to be expected, as our bodies move into our non-reproductive years, there are additional things to keep in mind, that may be contributing to severe or unusual symptoms.
We live in a world filled with stressors and toxins, and these may compound the physical discomfort you may experience through perimenopause. Latent viruses like the Epstein-Barr virus, along with deposits of neurotoxins like heavy metals, pesticides, and petrochemicals can contribute to symptoms like severe fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, weight gain, night sweats, depression, and anxiety. It’s worth working with these potential complications, to try to find relief from underlying issues, so you can reduce your body’s stress load into menopause. We will explore ways to do this near the end of this article.
Because we’re physical, material creatures, we’re often focused on reducing pain and increasing pleasure. And for good reason! We all deserve to feel well, alive, and energized, no matter what else is going on in our lives.
So, if you are facing any of these bodily symptoms of menopause, here are some ways to meet them in a holistic, empowered way:
Reduced Libido + Vaginal Dryness
As you transition into menopause, you may find yourself losing interest in sex, and/or not being able to enjoy it like you once did. If your libido is waning, perhaps now is the time to step back and reevaluate your your romantic relationships, and how you tap into your own pleasure. It’s okay to take breaks from sex, and redirect that energy into other endeavors for the time being, if that calls to you. Take this opportunity to have some honest communication with your partner, and perhaps invest in other ways to create intimacy. If you still experience desire, but need some help in the lubrication department, look into natural, herbal or crystal-infused lubes that work with your body, and don’t expose you to more toxins.
Ritual: Set time aside for a sacred yoni massage. Make this a special act of self-love, and set the mood with candles, incense, music, and anything else. Use coconut oil or a plant-based lube to get your own juices flowing.
Short bursts of heightened body temperature are common throughout perimenopause and menopause, as our internal thermometer is hormone-dependent. These can be uncomfortable at times, but thankfully they don’t usually last too long. And there are a few things that you can use to help yourself ride out these episodes, including herbal medicine, essential oils/aromatherapy, crystals, meditation and breathing exercises, and much more. And of course, dressing in layers and always having cool water with you help too!
Ritual: Use a rollerball with essential oils (you may buy one or make your own) diluted in a carrier oil. Some menopause-friendly EOs include: clary sage, lavender, peppermint, geranium, cedarwood, ylang ylang, chamomile, and bergamot. When you experience a hot flash, use your roller ball on your inner wrists, behind your ears, along the back of your neck, and along your sternum. Recite a mantra like: “I love myself this much,” or “this too shall pass,” whatever resonates with you, to ride out the sensations of the hot flash.
Weight Gain or Redistribution
With our culture’s obsession with youth and thinness, we’ve developed an unhealthy fear of age-related weight change. Because hormones drive our body’s signals for storing fat, you may experience some weight changes- either gaining some weight or finding that it redistributes in different parts of the body (like the abdomen)- as you journey into menopause. Some of this is due to genetic factors and lifestyle choices, but regardless of how your body changes shape into menopause, it is an invitation to dig deep and find your own definition of beauty. Now is the time to carve your own way, rejecting societal ideals in favor of authentic, radiant beauty that shines from the inside out.
Ritual: Create a mood board or manifestation board for self-love and body acceptance. This can be a physical piece of art, or an online collection. Find images of women that look like you, that are happy and smiling. Focus on body-positive blogs and social media accounts, and surround yourself with uplifting people and messaging that celebrates age and body diversity.
Estrogen is one of the main players in making our skin firm, elastic, and resilient to stressors like sun/radiation damage, diet, and hydration. So, as estrogen dips into menopause, you may see your skin change, and may deal with more dryness, redness, flaking, or itching. You may also notice that wounds are slower to heal, and you’re more prone to scarring. Now is the perfect opportunity to change up your skincare routine, and find more natural, herbal-based, and personalized options for your face and body. Mother Nature has so many wonderful tools that we can use as we age, to balance our skin and feel radiant no matter what.
Ritual: Using a high-quality body oil or lotion that is infused with supportive herbs or essential oils, give yourself a little self-massage. Focus on areas where your skin is especially irritated, visualizing massaging pink or golden light into that area with your fingers. Use tools like a jade roller, gua sha tool, a body brush, or other items that help this feel more like a spa experience.
The journey into menopause can come with a host of physical changes, many of which may be trying to tell you that something else is awry. Like I mentioned earlier, underlying infections or toxins can exacerbate menopause symptoms, and add more discomfort with things like extreme fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, memory loss, joint pain, night sweats, and more. During the time of menopause, you have the opportunity to rehaul your healthcare, specifically your nutrition and supplementation. You can begin working to heal from these latent infections, and detox your brain and body, so you can better deal with the hormonal shifts!
Ritual: Make yourself a healing smoothie or juice. Fill up on raw fruits and veggies, especially things like: celery, cucumber, wild blueberries, cilantro, bananas, mangos, spinach, apples, and avocado. Make this treat with loving intention, to infuse your body with high-vibe nutrients, and take your time to savor it, preferably in a calm, beautiful outdoor environment.
Menopause and the years leading up to it can be a challenging time, but they can also be enlightening, joyful, transformative, and life-affirming. As your body begins to shift, try to meet it with as much nonjudgment and open curiosity as you can. You are undergoing a change, just like a caterpillar must do, in order to become a butterfly. Try to see yourself as not losing something, but shedding the old in order to gain something new. Use the powerful tools of nature- like healing foods, herbs, and oils- to bring about balance, along with your own personal self-care rituals. And above all, practice unconditional love for your body, which has carried you through every day of your earthly life so far!
I always recommend addressing any underlying issues that could be making your menopause symptoms worse. If you need help with things like chronic viral infections, GI toxicity, or other conditions, reach out and let’s chat. I’m here to help!
Lots of love to you all, and as always…
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~