Menopause can be a breeze for some women, for others symptoms are merely niggly and annoying, while for a minority life literally falls apart! To some extent it may depend on menstrual and family history as to how this phase in life goes, but I also see that the process has been medicalised and there is often a lack of understanding of what this change means on a deeper level.
There are two not particularly distinct phases to the change of life. The first – peri-menopause – may begin as early as the mid to late thirties. This is the time when ovarian hormone production is declining and fluctuating. Some women begin to experience a few symptoms; some symptoms are common and others might seem unrelated to this change.
Usually menopause-proper occurs between ages 45 and 55. Because we are starting to have children later this can be a problem in itself. I’ve observed how many older mums have worked really hard in their careers, worked hard to have their children and at being a mum, then very shortly into this wonderful phase of motherhood and perhaps settling back into work, find they are having symptoms indicating that their childbearing years may be over. This takes some getting used to as traditionally women would see their children nearly grown up before hitting menopause. Often now menopause and the children’s teenage years may come together – great timing!!
Because of this lack of space between the two very distinct phases of womanhood, some women fall in a hole at this time. It is certainly a time of many emotions, partly because the hormones can tend to have this effect, but also because there can be a sudden realization that youth is passing, that we are rushing headlong and sometimes uncontrollably into another unexpected phase of our lives, and perhaps we
wonder what life will now bring.
But it is not the end of the world! While we say goodbye to our periods, which can be a great relief for many women, and we realise that we will never have another child, this is also a time when women really step into their power. If all goes well, no longer are we tied to our menstrual cycles and our hormones, and there is now no risk of getting pregnant if that’s been on our minds. It’s also a time when many women look around them at what is of value and what is not, a time that many relationships don’t survive as women recognise their power and are no longer dominated by the notion of being on-call as a wife, lover,
mother. This is a time of major transformation and we need to take time out to experience and understand it. Partners also have much to think about during menopause!!
We are completing a cycle which gives us wisdom and experiences we can share with the younger generations of women and their families. In some traditions the phase which follows that of ‘the mother’ is termed ‘the crone’ which really doesn’t create an image of the badge of wisdom we have earned through our earlier lives. Personally I much prefer the term “wise woman”.
Here is a beautiful description from Sophia (1), a traditional wise woman, of what menopause brings us.
“It is now time for the torn and faded and broken and unravelled threads to become mended, to become whole. It is now time for these threads to richly glow with the vibrant colours of transformation. And it is now time for these threads to become rewoven into the rich tapestry that powerfully and lovingly links mothers and daughters and grandmothers and great grandmothers through the sacred menopausal initiation of power, of wisdom, of truth.”
If you are really struggling with menopausal symptoms, don’t just look at the physical. Take some time and space to ask yourself how you are really feeling about what’s going on. It is fine to grieve for youth and children – and you do need to give yourself permission to do this – but we then need to step confidently into this new phase and focus on the positive aspects – embracing our newly found power!
And if things don’t go smoothly homeopathy has much to offer both through home prescribing for minor symptoms and via a consultation if the going gets really tough. I always look at the emotional and symbolic symptoms of menopause as indicators to what is going on and what remedy is needed. Sometimes the remedies are surprising and insightful and totally unrelated to menopause!
I’ve also use some of the Soul Harmonics essences to help bring forward unconscious issues related with menopause so they can be integrated into the whole.
Common Remedies for any and all phases of Menopause:
There are dozens of remedies to choose from so if your home prescribing is not successful you will need a consultation for an individualised prescription. This is list of some of the more common remedies for menopause. Guidance by your homeopath is recommended if you have a long list of symptoms including a strong emotional picture:
Belladonna – Hot flushes particularly worse in the afternoon with sweaty, red, burning face and profuse perspiration of female genitals. Moods may be changeable, agitated and fearful, with confusion and poor memory. There may be vaginal dryness, spotting between periods, headaches and migraines, candida, ovarian cysts, involuntary urination, palpitations, insomnia, weight gain with fluid retention.
Bryonia – Hot flushes as if warm water was poured over the body. They are easily prone to anger over small matters, with anxiety and insecurity about the future and fear of poverty. They have a great desire for stillness and peace and quiet. Symptoms may include dryness of membranes, constipation with hard dry stool, rheumatic symptoms. This is a very useful remedy for menopausal dryness and vaginal thinning.
Calcarea Carbonica – Hot flushes move upwards with hot sweats and perspiration on face and hands, worse before periods and alternating with anxiety, palpitations, and chills. During menopause they feel fatigue and chilliness without cause. Other symptoms may include flooding, bleeding during and after menopause, cramps in limbs during the night, weight gain, yeast infections, varicose veins. Anxiety is brought on easily from thinking about their troubles. They worry that people can see they are unstable and hate to be observed. They suffer from poor memory, confusion, irritability, and weepiness.
China – This can be a useful remedy when fatigue and exhaustion follow flooding during menopause.
Graphites – Similar to Calc Carb there is a tendency to early menopause. They may be chilly, pale and sluggish women, prone to weight gain in menopause often related to thyroid dysfunction. There may be severe constipation, haemorrhoids, skin eruptions with thickening of the skin and oozing cracks.
Lachesis – This is one of the most common remedies with sweating and flushes and often violent headaches. All symptoms are worse in the morning and worse for sleep. These women are always hot and cannot stand any pressure or constriction, eg can`t tolerate turtle necks. They are usually talkative and may crave alcohol. Symptoms may include palpitations, high blood pressure, intense hot flushes with purple face and neck, and throbbing headache. Severe PMS is often relieved immediately by the period
beginning. There may be menopausal flooding (black, thick and sometimes offensive) with colicky pain.
Natrum Mur – This is one of our classic grief remedies with deep seated emotions that are well hidden from others. They may be the kind of people everyone ‘unloads’ on and they will never say no. Quite perfectionist they hide their emotions but suffer physical symptoms related to their inner sadness. They may experience flooding (heavy and excessive) with exhaustion and tearful depression. Can be well indicated for menopausal dryness and vaginal thinning which is intensely painful.
Nitric Acid – Can be useful for menopausal dryness with chaffing and rubbing which has broken the skin causing redness, cracking, splitting and sometimes infection. Pain is splinter-like and smarting.
Pulsatilla – Usually milder and more changeable symptoms of flushing, always worse for heat (see Kreosotum). Flushes tend to be worse on the face, while the rest of the body is often chilly. The patient is almost always tearful, clingy, affectionate.
Sepia – These woman may feel worn-out, irritable and chilly. Hot flushes may extend from the abdomen upwards with profuse sweating and pale face. They may experience heaviness and dragging in the pelvic area with early periods and low back ache. Heavy periods in peri-menopause followed by weakness. Emotionally they lack sex drive and have no interest in family or daily life. Physical exercise such as dancing or jogging make them feel emotionally and physically better.
Staphysagria – This is a useful remedy best known for “honeymoon cystitis”. It can also be helpful where there is painful soreness or damage to the delicate lining after sex. Pain is considerable and feelings of resentment are common.
Thuja – Weight gain around the abdomen, water retention and cellulitis are common from perimenopause on. There may be tendency to oily skin, warts, polyps, fibroids or cysts. A medical history of long-term treatment with conventional drugs or repetitive vaccinations is common. Thuja patients may be anxious, worried about her health and have fear of getting cancer. They are experts at hiding their emotions and creating a mask, behind which they hide.
Amyl Nitrite (homeopathic!) – Sudden, intense and unexpected flushes of heat and congestion to the head. This is a secondary or backup remedy and would be indicated alongside or after a constitutional remedy. This remedy is only available via consultation.
Kreosotum – Burning heat, which is better for warmth! Usually whole body experience heat and sweats. This remedy is only available via consultation.