Menopause- Cause for Celebration or Mourning
For some, menopause is cause for jubilant celebration and "red hats," and for others it means mourning the loss of childbearing years. The term menopause means the cessation of menses, or periods. It is a normal stage of life through which every woman will pass somewhere between the ages of 40 and 60 years of age. The average age for the onset of menopause is 52 years. A majority of women enter a period of peri-menopause three to five years prior to actually reaching menopause, although some report the onset of symptoms associated with menopause ten to fifteen years prior.
Menopause - Physical and Emotional Health
State of mind plays a significant role in helping women transition through the stages of peri-menopause and menopause. It is helpful to reflect on the richness and the wonder of those childbearing years, while looking ahead to the future with fresh enthusiasm for new freedom ahead and the pursuit of dreams that may have been set aside while raising a family.
Peri-menopause and menopause are characterized by symptoms, which may include mood swings, more overt anger, fatigue, hot flashes, and even mild symptoms of panic. Traditional medicine has historically recommended hormone replacement to help women cope with the onset of menopause. Recent medical research has called into the question the advisability of certain types of hormone replacement due to research linked to increased potential for cancer. Alternative medicine is highlighting a diversity of herbs and natural sources of hormone replacement that are now available. Most importantly, both the medical and homeopathic communities are encouraging women to stay in tune to the needs of their own bodies and seek out appropriate resources.
Good nutrition, adequate rest, stress management, and creative expression are all necessary components for staying healthy throughout life. The menopausal woman deserves to slow down her pace, and take the time to enjoy the pleasurable pursuits of life. Due to the increase in longevity and the current potential for the average woman to live well into the late 70's and even 80's, today's fifty-year-old woman has a lot of living to do. If you are entering the menopausal years, begin now to anticipate the richness of your future. You've earned it!
Menopause - The Research
Research has linked successful transition through the life's various stages and challenges with a spiritual connection to God. Dr. C.W. Brister, author of Change Happens, challenges his readers to face all of life's changes through faithful reliance on God.
Be encouraged by Allison's story of how God helped her face an unexpected loss and cope with the reality of menopause in her own life.
Allison sat, stunned, listening to her doctor's pronouncement. She was 45 years old and had been desperately trying to conceive for the past five years. She and her husband had one nine-year-old son and had been hoping and praying for another child to complete their little family.
Allison's menstrual periods became irregular in her early 40s making conception very challenging . . . As her biological clocked ticked down, she feared that she would not have another baby. It has been over eight weeks since her last period, and all indications seemed to point toward pregnancy. Now, she could hardly believe the Doctor's words, "I'm sorry Mrs. Kramer, you are not pregnant. You are entering menopause."
Like a death sentence, his words stabbed at her heart. That night, she was inconsolable as she cried in her husband's arms.
A couple of weeks later, Allison sat listening to the Sunday sermon. She wasn't a big church attendee, but like a lot of folks, she had gone that day looking for answers. The topic was "Giving Thanks." The minister was speaking about the devastation and loss of life in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He related a story of one woman's only child being swept away by the rising waters of New Orleans.
As Allison listened, her heart broke for that devastated mother who had lost her only child. She instinctively reached out and clasped the hand of the healthy little boy sitting next to her, her own son. As she silently breathed a prayer for her own family, she felt her emptiness slip away. In its place, Allison was filled with gratitude, until there were no empty places left in her heart.