Menopause before 40 is known as premature. There are women however due to various health conditions or surgical procedures may experience the menopause as early as their teens. Today’s blog is written by Rebecca Bruce-Ahrens who experienced her menopause at the age of 17 through a condition at the time called Ovarian Dysgenesis, now more commonly called Hypogonadism. She ponders the meaning of the menopause, the moon’s influence, HRT and being perimenopausal most of her life.
‘In attempting to explore the meaning of menopause, I needed first to find the roots of the word. The Ancient Greek roots of the term are “men” + “pauein”. The word “men” means month which is closely related to the word for moon “mene” because the months were measured by the moon. The word “pauein” means to cause to cease or stop.
The Moon has such a discreet, yet direct influence on our menstrual cycle and moods, it is no surprise that she continues to exert her influence as the menstrual cycle slows and eventually stops. But this is where it gets interesting! She (the Moon) continues to exert her influence, long after the bleeding stops. Her influence is more subtle – she invites us to be more authentic, to express ourselves more fully. The word ‘reclaim’ suggests we have lost sight of the true meaning of menopause in our lives.
As a woman who has been peri-menopausal most of her adult life (due to infertility), I am well acquainted with the debilitating symptoms of hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, poor memory, and loss of libido. The medical response to this is to prescribe various forms of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). At this point, let me stress that I am an advocate of HRT. It has helped me to reduce these symptoms. There are many different types of HRT in pill form, as well as implants, patches, gels and creams. This is where an informed GP is so important. And this is why this project by Hands Inc is so timely and welcome!
For me there are two ways for a woman to ‘reclaim’ her menopause:
1.To manage the symptoms, through informed choice, in whichever way suits her, be it the allopathic, herbal or naturopathic route, to enable her to make the transition (which could last up to 5 years) as smooth and stress-free as possible.
2.To recognise that having reached “the other side” of menopause, she now enters a new phase of her life – a brave new world where she can take time to develop her creativity and talent, and bring these forth for the good of herself and the world around her.
Ironically, my transition has lasted over 30 years! As I approach the natural age of menopause, I am coming off the HRT gradually, supporting my body with supplements and herbal remedies as I go. I look forward to fully embracing my full menopause, and can feel a vision forming deep in my bones. Time is more precious now; it is time to be fully authentic, to follow my intuition, to respond to the call of Mother Earth. I have a close affinity with Sister Moon – she too is barren, but she sustains life on Earth with her influence on our tides of blood and water. As we become barren and approach the Autumn of our years, we too have much to give back to ourselves, humanity and the Earth – the wealth of our experience (joy and pain) in work, love and life.’
If you or someone you know would like more information or support with premature menopause visit www.daisynetwork.org.uk The Daisy Network is a nationwide support group for women who have experienced premature menopause. They provide fact sheets, support groups and tele-counselling for women up to the age of 40, affected by early menopause.
For those affected by infertility visit: www.infertilitynetworkuk.com