Preparing for Menopause

Written by Lynette Hoy NCC, LCPC

Women fear growing old. The prospect of wrinkles, body aches, fatigue and menopause adds to negative feelings about aging.

Whether you are 20, 35 or 47, you can better prepare for the aging process by reading this article. It will help you understand what to expect and how to cope successfully with this normal stage in life every woman will enter called “menopause.”

“I feel on edge. I can’t sleep or think clearly. My husband is tired of my forgetfulness. Sometimes I just fly off the handle for no reason. I am having trouble with sex. I don’t know what is happening to me? Could this be menopause?”

Nancy, age 52, sat limply in my office looking frustrated, worn-out and depressed. I have counseled many women with complaints like hers. Women complain of overwhelming symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause which impairs their emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health.

Surprisingly, in a recent BBC news article “Women are Happier after Menopause” it quoted a Jublilee Report where 76% of post-menopausal women said their health was better, 75% said they had more fun, and 93% said they had more independence and more choice in everything from work to leisure pursuits.

Most likely, you are feeling more like Nancy and are looking for answers to help you cope with the uncertain territory of peri-menopause and menopause. I want to provide you with information about what to expect when you begin experiencing menopausal symptoms and how you can more effectively handle this new stage of life.

What is menopause?

Menopause begins a new phase in a woman’s life, when in her 50’s, she stops having periods. Menopause is a natural biological event in which the menses stops when the function of the ovaries begins to cease. The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather it is gradual. This so-called peri-menopausal transition period is a unique experience for each woman and can begin when women are in their 40’s. A woman is in menopause when she has had no menstrual periods (menses) for 12 months and has no other medical reason for her menses to stop.

The early symptoms of menopause include abnormal vaginal bleeding, hot flashes and mood changes. Late symptoms consist of vaginal dryness, urinary problems, muscle and joint aches.

How to cope

I encourage women to take better care of themselves in every aspect of life: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

  • Physical Wellness:
    Because hormone levels are decreasing, there will be fluctuations in the symptoms women experience. Vaginal bleeding and hot flashes will come and go. There is no set time when these symptoms will stop. Some will experience symptoms for over a decade of their lives.Hormone or estrogen replacement therapy taken orally or applied topically may be prescribed by a doctor which can help alleviate symptoms of hot flashes and vaginal dryness. But, it is important to manage your own treatment and research the best kinds of medical or natural interventions. Recently, a research project discouraged the use of the combined hormone replacement therapy: estrogen and progesterone.Lifestyle changes should include quitting cigarette smoking, curtailing alcohol intake, exercising regularly, and consuming a balanced diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D. Such changes are beneficial for increasing physical wellness and preventing complications such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
  • Emotional and Mental Wellness:
    When you are experiencing the symptoms of hormone loss, you will feel blue. This increases emotional fragility and a sense of low self-esteem. Deficiency in hormones and lack of sleep cause irritability, confusion and sadness, angry outbursts, tears and relational problems.

    While estrogen therapy may be recommended to help elevate mood, women should also incorporate natural methods of elevating mood such as lowering stress and increasing recreational and exercise programs. I encourage women to consider a new venture, career or learning a useful pursuit such as photography, writing or computer technology. I knew someone who finished her MSW when she was 55! Start participating in meaningful recreational and social activities. Begin hiking, biking, bird-watching, participating in a book club, or enjoying Christian ministry or new hobby.

  • Spiritual Wellness:
    This will bring the greatest stability when women enter this new stage of life. As a Christian. you can be certain that the Lord cares about you and understands your suffering. He will be your companion through this valley. Take more time to read Scripture, the Psalms and pray. This will help alleviate depression and anxiety caused by menopause. Memorizing Scripture can change your attitude about life.

    When the writer of Psalm 42:5 felt depressed, he talked to himself and told himself biblical truth about life, the future and God: “Why are you downcast o my soul? Why so disturbed within me? For I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my Lord.”Challenge your thinking and renew your mind according to the truth of Scripture in order to get God’s perspective on your life and experience a greater sense of wellness all-around.

Why not write out some goals to help you better manage the peri-menopausal/menopausal symptoms you are dealing with and consult with your physician about medical interventions? Determine to take better care of yourself and move forward in this new phase of life. You, too, may find that this stage is a happier experience for you as others have reported.

Finally, trust in the promises of God. Isaiah 58:11 says, “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

©2004 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC

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74 Responses to “Preparing for Menopause”

  • Aldo Aldo says:

    M, My name is Al, and I am a mentor with powertochange.com

    Powertochange.com, is a non-profit, organization that aims to enhance the lives of people around the world by offering hope and new resources for living. Using the Internet and digital technologies, it connects a person in need with a committed volunteer who can help them with their life concerns and questions.

    M, I can hardly believe that you think that God is not real, or that Jesus never lived. All you need do is study the universe for any length of time, and you should come to the conclusion that it had to have a master architect. Or, study the human body. It is so intricate and complex that it had to take an intelligent mastermind to fashion it. To say that they just came into being would be like saying that a fine Swiss watch just came together.

    Besides, what you are doing in reality, is placing yourself above the millions of Christians made up of all types of professionals, scientists, politicians, teachers, entertainers, and common folk. Can you say that you know better than each one of them, or that you are more intelligent than they are, some of which are geniuses? Come on M, they can’t all be wrong.

    Or, you could do an in-depth study of the Bible yourself to prove what you are saying is true rather than just assuming that something is true because someone else said so. If you do attempt that, I would like to hear back from you to see what you did find out.

    God loves you for who you are, and will always love you no matter what you have done or will do. What I want you to see is, though your actions don’t change God’s love for you, they do change how much you will experience of God and how much of what He wants you to have. Isaiah 59:2 “But your sins have separated you from your God.”

    M, when we sin, that separates us from God, but PRAISE GOD!, we can confess our sin, and receive forgiveness- 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

    There’s one more thing I would like to say M, and that is the Difference Between RELIGION and CHRISTIANITY: Religion, is a set of beliefs; Christianity is a Relationship with the Creator. God wants you to have a relationship with Him, and that comes through confessing that you- like all human beings- are a sinner, asking forgiveness for your sins, and accepting and receiving His Son Jesus Christ for who He is, and for what He has done.

    Once you do that you will surely know that God is real, and that He loves you deeply.

    I pray that you enter into a relationship with God.

  • Renata says:

    M- Hang in there. It gets better. I wrote that I was struggling on this thread a year or 2 ago. And it was good to have somewhere where other women who were willing to listen would understand. I hardly visit this site anymore, but have to say that these days I am feeling great. I also am more sure about God and his power in my life than ever before. I think we are still appreciated, and I am still learning to appreciate others.

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    to M– I am sorry that you are so angry did your life partner leave you I am sorry for that, it is NOT the best time in woman’s life you are right we don’t sleep properly anymore and we have the aches and pains and our body is changing, it is good that we don’t have our monthly anymore but other than that it is not easy but for me God is with me otherwise it would be super hard. I am sorry that you think God has done nothing for you and is not with you. I feel for you I am starting to go through menopause I am going peri menopause right now and it is no fun going that now either. it sounds like you don’t believe in God either but I am going to pray for you God I pray that you will show yourself in a new fresh way to M I pray all of this in JESUS name amen– Sharon

  • Chris Chris says:

    kristine….i pray that jesus blesses you during this time with his special grace and that you will be able to grow in him regardless of any life change. since jesus is our life, we can be content with the life he gives us regardless of symptoms to the contrary. jesus bless you to that end amen. knowingjesuspersonally.com

  • M. says:

    What a load of total bull. This is absolutely the WORST time in a woman’s life. You are ignored, maginalized, abandoned by life partners for 20-somethings now that you are an old dried up hag. Shop assistants dont want to deal with you, all the clothes that could possibly fit you are ugly and polyester. Your hair thins, you cannot sleep, and YOUR GOD doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you or anyone else. Wake up! The Bible is a hodge-podge of Sumerian, Babylonian, and Judaic myths, it just a load of crap, like this webpage. You’re just trying to further the lies about this being “The best time of your life” when it isn’t. You’re just waiting to die now, you life is over – deal with it.

  • kristine howell says:

    Hi,I am new here,I am 45 and am 9 months without a period,I feel so dead inside and feel horrible and depressed and lifeless,will this ever end? Kristine

  • Trish Hicks Trish Hicks says:

    Rhonda ,
    I just want to mention.First of all my sister told me about a friend of hers.And although she had gone through chemo as to why this has happened but from what I understand you may want to ask the dr. maybe to check the thyroid. With my sisters girl friend had chemo and about at the age of 30 it knocked her body into menopause which the chemo did affect the thyroid.As to why she had some depression afterwards.I don’t know of course I could be wrong but why don’t you ask the dr if you can have the thyroid tested.See if menopause can affect the thyroid I believe and knock it out of kilter sort a speak. Ask him if that is a possibility.I have had an overactive thyroid, and underactive thyroid although my circumstances was fibromyalgia.But also I had menopause early cause my mom did about 40 it started and ended and lasted about 5 years.But the thyroid is an important organ controls so many areas of our body when I found out.I am on thyroid meds.and there was a period i had been forgetting to take them,and my hair was falling out,it just not was being controlled at all I barely could do anything with it.I had come to realize that I had forgotten to take them for a week mind u and it affected something as simple as my hair. So anyway I just thought I would point that out.I would really ask the dr.see if that is a possibility ask him if you can be tested.
    I hope this can answer the question I just thought it might be something to think about perhaps.

    may God bless
    Trish

  • Alfred Alfred says:

    A Christian friend of mine told me she lamented the fact that she would no longer bear any children. I gave her a word from the Lord, saying that God would give her Spiritual children. That was very positive, and He has made her a blessing! We can always rest in the assurance that God knows where we are and feels with us. Hope, strength and joy of to all who read this!

  • RKZ says:

    I’m 53, was totally done with menopause before my 46th birthday. My gyno constantly told me I was “too young” to go through menopause like I had any choice in the matter. There were no other underlying health issues . Other than some Orthopaedic surgeries, I am a healthy 53 year old who competes in sprint triathlons. Some women seem to go through menopause earlier if they’ve never been pregnant. I haven’t had sex with my husband in years because the last couple of times we attempted, it was sooo painful I felt as if I was being raped and was being pulled inside out. I really tried to continue even though it was beyond horrible and painful, also telling my husband. “Please be easy because it hurts so bad”. He finally got mad and said, “Well, this is just frustrating”! And stopped which was definitely fine with me. After that, I no longer wanted to even try. What’s interesting to me is that the Christian websites I’ve read with reference to sex after menopause say you should continue to try with lubricants. That may be okay for some, but it’s not a “one fix for all” situation. You cannot “make” yourself have sex if your memory of last couple of times was like being raped with husband getting “frustrated” with you because he certainly didn’t “feel your pain”. I think this is a little misguided…and could potentially cause feelings of inadequacy in some women and create other issues. Maybe it just isn’t going to happen for some women after menopause as well as extremely low libido (Absolutely NO desire for sex).

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up Constance to You at this time in her life, as she approaches this situation in her life, that you will comfort her. In Jesus name Amen

  • Constance says:

    I’m currently 56. My family tends to enter menopause around 59, which I hear is late by most standards.

    It hasn’t happened yet, but pretty soon it will. I’m not looking forward to it, because it’s making me a little anxious.

    Currently, I am mentally preparing myself for it as well as I can. This article really helped. I bookmarked it, because something tells me I’ll need to refer to it in the near future.

    Thank you.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Ben,

    My heart goes out to you. Your questions show the depth of your pain and confusion. Perhaps you would consider connecting with one of our mentors? Click on the link below. A mentor will correspond with you privately to support and pray for you.

    http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/

    One thing I would guess is that your wife still needs you. She may be acting very strangely and hurtfully, but perhaps underneath there is an insecurity or pain or fear. Human identity does not exist without connection with others, so maybe by distancing herself from you she is trying to ‘rediscover’ herself or redefine her identity in some way. If you can find meaningful ways to support her, perhaps she will be surprised. I am not suggesting that her behaviour deserves a reward, but the reality is that we all have done atrocious things and we need to be loved in spite of them.

    Think about this… God has always loved us, but how often have we screamed at Him that we hate him? That He has failed us? That He never did just what we wanted Him to do? Or something similar? God’s love doesn’t give up though. In the manner that we are embraced by God, so we are to embrace others.

    Food for thought. Going through this is not easy I understand, but keep faith, keep hope, keep loving and see what God might do. Give it time. Grow with your wife as much as you can. Be creative.

    Blessings,
    Kate

  • Ben says:

    My wife is 45. She refuses to tell me that she loves me, has stopped holding my hand, won’t sit next to me, she’s distant, cold, unemotional. She shows no affection toward me – but she initiates sex (cold, unemotional, unaffectionate, “just get me off and leave me alone” sex). I feel like I’ve lost my best friend, my confidante, my lover. She shares all my must vulnerable and personal information with her friends – and has even made some wild accusations about the early part of our relationship. She has screamed that she hates me and that I never really loved her. She is doing everything she can to avoid me and occupy her life with other activities. It’s like I’m living with a stranger – who hates me. Where did my loving wife go? Will she ever come back? She was my world and now she hates me.

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    to Mary Idema I am 54 too and a friend suggested to me a cream from the health food store called wild yam if you can get that that maybe would be better I am on capsules as I am going through hot flashes I am praying for you. from sharon

  • Izumi Yamamoto says:

    I’m writing this from Japan.There is no Christian web site saying about menopause in Japan,although I needed spiritual ideas about the issue.Since I’ve never heard about the Christian women’s strugglin with menopause here,I thought all Japanese christian are spending fruitful lives eventhgoug they were mids of suffering from the symptoms. Then I started feeling guilty for not thinking positive way generary,not being active,not being co-operative but being laziness because of my tiredness. I used to be very active and I workt as a missionary as I was a single. At church I feel that people always expect me to be active like I used to be. The words you chared in this toppics encauraged me.I would like to memorize them. Thank you.

  • Tracy says:

    Dear heavenly father be with Mary and all us thru our struggles. Help us to always know you are there. Thank you for your everlasting arms. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

  • Mary Idema says:

    I am really struggling with this menapause… I was recently put on Prozac, it nearly killed me…the side effects were horrendous. I ended up in the ER twice last week, with major panic attacks. I have now stopped the Prozac… And feeling the withdrawal from it. Pray for guidance from God… To find the right help…I am down for the count. I’m 54 and had a partial hysterectomy last June. Please I need encouraged!!! Thanks Mary

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Tracy and Suzanne, thank you for sharing here. One thing that comes to mind is doing Beth Moore’s bible study on the fruit of the Spirit. It’s called Living Beyond Yourself. I know it’s not going to suddenly make coping easier, but she is lively and the teaching is very helpful when it comes to things like patience, self-control and so on.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for these women and their faith to trust You through the tough times. Let their faith and perseverance be a witness to people around them. Help them to live beyond themselves, to live by Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  • Tracy says:

    My symptoms have recent gotten much worse and I have done many goggle searches for help. Until I looked to God for help and came across this site did I feel a light at the end of the tunnel and with God help I can get through this. Thank you and God Bless.

  • suzanne says:

    just found this website and article..i am 47 going on 48 and am going through many “perimenopause” like symptoms…i have been dealing with depression for a long time, but for a year now my experiences have compounded and i have been really working to maintain my connection to God and trusting Him through it..feeling guilty and unable to “function” , cannot sleep or eat among other things…please pray for me and any other suggestions are appreciated…thanks

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Rhonda,

    I have put in a mentoring request for you. You should hear from your mentor sometime this week. I’m so glad you reached out. You don’t have to walk this alone. Let me pray for you right now:

    God, I pray that you would be with Rhonda. You know her heart. You see the pain that she is in and the struggle she is facing. Thank you for bringing her this far and for reminding her that you will not abandon her. Be there with her in tears, remind her that you see every one of them (you say in your word that you have counted her tears). Bring her relief today I pray. Be her comforter. Bring joy to her even today. In your name I pray, Amen.

  • Rhonda Dyer says:

    Im struggling after having a hysterectomy. I ended up checking myself in to hospital after having a acute panic attack and not being able to stop crying. This has been debilitating to say the least. I am scared and trying to connect with the Lord but I feel so alone on this journey.

  • Rhonda Dyer says:

    I just happened upon this when doing a search for finding God in menopause.. I thought it was interesting that it was my name spelled different but spoke to my heart regardless. I would love to have a mentor through this time. I had a total hysterectomy 3 months ago and really have been struggling with depression and anxiety like never before. I am a Christian and know God has not brought me this far to let me go as I go through this transition. Thankyou and God Bless.
    Rhonda Dyer

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Ronda, I’m glad you found this site and this particular article! Going through menopause is not an easy time for a woman, but it always helps to know that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. With all the changes that you have been through in the last year, I can see that this must feel like the last straw.

    Have you been to see a doctor? I would strongly suggest that you start with that. There are many different ways to help manage perimenopausal symptoms, starting with creams of different sorts. Start there and see what can be done. A good friend struggled because she didn’t want to go on any kind of HRT but in the end just a very low dosage made a world of difference. For myself I also went on HRT for several years until my body was ready to make the adjustment!

    Also, I would love to pray for you!

    Dear Heavenly Father,
    Thank you for Ronda and the changes that You have brought about in her life. And thank you that she found this site. Lord, would You remind her today that You are not unaware of all she is going through? Help her to remember that although her life is changing, You aren’t! Guide and direct her in the steps that she needs to take as she goes through this change of life in her body. Give her wisdom and discernment as she looks at next steps and through it all, help her to depend on you and allow You to be at work in and through her. Amen

    Ronda, if you would rather have a personal online mentor to correspond with, we do have a great team of volunteers. Just fill out the form on this page, http://powertochange.com/experience/talk-to-a-mentor/, and someone will email you back.

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