My passion as a naturopath and herbalist is working with women through their wise woman years, helping them to transition through perimenopause to natural menopause and beyond.
This passion for women’s health has developed over time, and once I realised that menopausal women are ‘my people’, it became a little of an obsession to learn more about how to help women through this stage of life.
Menopause, a conventional viewpoint
Peri-menopause and menopause are viewed by conventional medicine in what I would consider a fairly archaic way. Menopause is often categorised as a health disorder, just as you would consider real and actual serious health conditions (like, say, diabetes or coeliac disease), which obviously, menopause is not.
That’s not to say that perimenopause and menopause are not really a thing. They are (yes, your symptoms are real), but they are not a disease to be treated. It is not caused by an oestrogen deficiency.
Menopause is a normal part of life
Peri-menopause and menopause are part of a natural change that occurs for women once their menses cease. Yes, things can get pretty topsy-turvy during this time, and for many women, they learn about how powerful their own natural hormones are.
But when you are in the thick of peri-menopausal symptoms and are experiencing hot flushes and night sweats, you seem to be way more anxious than you have ever been and your partner is always, always driving you nuts. It’s hard to think what you are experiencing is normal.
But what is normal, anyway?
That being said, women in Western cultures tend to experience far worse symptoms during perimenopause. And while this is a very general statement, coming from observation and reading just a few journal articles (maybe too many), in essence, it is our lifestyle that dictates how painful or beautiful menopause can be.
Moving into our 40s and 50s, it can become more apparent that our body is changing, and those things that we thought we got away with in the past are catching up on us. Maybe you have put on a bit of weight; maybe you’re not as motivated as you used to be. Maybe things are getting to you more than you think they should.
It seems natural to build resistance to these seemingly vague and unrelated symptoms. But what I have seen is that the stronger you fight, the worse things get.
Oh yeah, great. But how does that help me, Leonie?
Every woman is different
One of the many things that I have learned working as a practitioner is that every woman experiences perimenopause and menopausal symptoms differently.
There are varied onset and duration of symptoms for every woman, types of symptoms can be many, and the intensity of those symptoms is variable. There are, however, patterns and commonalities of sensations with menopause that indicate the best treatment, best herbs, best remedies and best lifestyle for an individual.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for menopause. There is no magic pill, and using synthetic hormones to mask symptoms can only delay the onset of symptoms.
A new perspective on menopause
My job as a naturopathic practitioner is to empower wise women to manage their health better. When we flip these sensations around and understand that they are part of a natural process, just as puberty is seen as a ‘growing up’, perimenopause is a ‘ripening’ into a powerful time for women.