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September 27, 2022

Could your Menopause Symptoms be in your Head?

 

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*Editor’s Note: Elephant is not your doctor or hospital. Our lawyers would say “this web site is not designed to, and should not be construed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment. Always consult a health professional before trying out new home therapies or changing your diet.” But we can’t afford lawyers, and you knew all that. ~ Ed.

~

Great.

Now that I’ve got your attention from the title of this article, you will hopefully read this with an open mind.

Before I continue with some fun and interesting facts, I would like to add that whilst I’m not currently experiencing menopause symptoms myself (at least not that I know of), I have been influenced by women who currently are experiencing severe symptoms of menopause, I have experienced extreme challenges with my own hormones that have caused severe acne and infertility, and I have spent nearly two decades studying health, wellness, and nutrition which has uncovered the key to my own, and other women’s, health.

My own battles with my hormones caused me to take some serious medication which meant that I had to sign a medical waiver, relieving the medical profession from any responsibility for said medication. This meant that I was taking it at my own risk. In addition to this, I saw the effects of severe Pre-Menstrual Tension (PMT) and endometriosis (PMT which is now known as PMS) in my own mother and sadly, it meant that she had a full hysterectomy in her 40s because of it.

Today, I observe the variety of women that I’m involved with professionally and personally and the common theme is the various stages of menopause and all of the negative physiological and psychological symptoms which can include: feelings of being lost, dryness in a whole host of areas in the body, weight gain, hot flushes, mood swings, and fatigue to name a few.

Personally, I feel that I’ve experienced all of these symptoms over the years due to major hormone imbalances and for me personally, that was due to lifestyle choices. However, if you’d told me that at the time, I would have argued with you adamantly that that wasn’t the case and I would have most likely told you something like, “f*ck off” or “what the hell do you know?”

I’m sure you’ve read the title and it’s already got your back up. However, please stay a little longer and with an open mind.

What if our perspective strongly influences how we move into this transition in life? There’s huge research, data, and evidence that support my theory: Beliefs control our thoughts, which control how we feel, which controls the actions we take which, in turn, controls our outcomes in life.

In the western world, we are hugely influenced by social media and many people’s perception of menopause is that it’s a sign of aging—a sign that everything, like nature and winter, is slowly dying and fading away, including our energy and passion for life.

However, what if I told you that in some cultures, menopause is considered a chance for greater freedom and to embrace life’s experiences? And what if I told you that because of these attitudes, women experience significantly fewer bothersome symptoms? Would it make you take stock of your own thoughts?

In Japan, so few women report hot flushes and one school of thought is this is because of their high intake of soy. This goes to show that perhaps diet can play a huge part in the symptoms that we experience during this time. I, myself, am a testament to this. Having had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and suffering from infertility, my diet changed my life to the point of a regular monthly menstrual cycle (I’d gone for at least a year without one), and it ended in the birth of my healthy son at 40 years of age.

In Japan, they also believe that menopause is a time for renewal—so much so that the verb for menopause in Japan means renewal.

In India, they see menopause as a time to socialise and that women no longer need to be veiled or secluded from social activities. It’s a time when women are able to socialise with men and because of this, their attitude is one of liberation.

In China, this time is considered a time of rebirth when the energy previously used for child rearing and fertility is now conserved and can be used for other activities and hobbies. It is believed that because of this attitude, Chinese women are considered to experience fewer symptoms compared to the western world.

In Asia, around 40 percent of women manage their symptoms with herbal medicine rather than conventional hormone replacement therapy.

The bottom line is that in other cultures, Menopause is considered a time of rebirth, renewal, wisdom, and better social standing compared to our Western culture which sees it as the end of childbearing years—aka “what purpose do women have?”

I know there may be some of you reading this that are perhaps shouting at this article because yes, you’re right, I don’t know what it’s like to be you and experience your symptoms. And it may not be as simple and as easy as a change of perspective but heck, it’s worth a bloody try, isn’t it?

What I do know is that data doesn’t lie and that there might be a correlation between how we perceive this time and what we may or may not experience because of it. It is because of my own personal journey with hormones that I can strongly agree with this.

The takeaway:

Beliefs, thoughts directly impact how we feel about ourselves and the world around us, which will influence the choices we make—from diet to exercise to other lifestyle choices—which will impact what we experience in life.

Make a choice, see this time as a rebirth or a time of decay, and see what unfolds as a result of it.

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