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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112 Responses to “Preparing for Menopause”

  • Kate says:

    Hi Nancy, thank you for sharing this here. I am not yet experiencing menopause, but I appreciate knowing what you’re going through. I can imagine how tough it is, but I am encouraged that you pray to God and feel peace.

  • Nancy says:

    I am 45 and I am in perimenopause as well. You can take Epsom salt baths before bed it helps relax you. Epsom salt is Magnessium. My sadness comes and goes and the doom and gloom is hard as well. The emotional stuff is much harder than the physical stuff. I pray to God it passes soon. I am a wife and mother and I work . I find myself worrying about stuff I did not ever worry about. I find lately that I feel overwhelmed very easily.Does anyone else feel this way?

  • Sharon says:

    to Wendy lee I am in peri and I am 56 and I started probably 54 or so my mom ended her menopause at 42 or so I feel for you I don’t sleep at night either sometimes I am on citalopram for my hormones its a antidepression pill I can also get emotional at times it just help me I take 1.5 pills for this i still get emotional but is not as bad if I wasn’t on it zoloff I was on that years ago for my depression its a good medicine to take I am praying for you– sharon

  • Wendy lee says:

    I have being praying so hard that the Lord will get me through this tough time. I am having anxiety and sleepless nights and it is taking a toll on me. I am considering taking g Zoloft to help but am really scared of those meds. I am 42 and started peri the age of 38. I keep asking God to tell lead me in the right direction as to whether I should go on meds or not. Please pray for me.

  • Sharon says:

    to Lisa I am in peri menopause but I have sister and sister in laws that have gone through menopause it sounds like it will end eventually just give it time it will end. I am praying for you. sharon

  • Lisa says:

    Today I am so exhausted and tired of feeling sad and out of control of my own emotions. I know God is good but I am having such a hard time with feeling of loss and abandonment.
    I lost my twin sister at 46 (I am 48 now), remarried with step children and has a total hysterectomy within 2 months. I think this emotional rollercoaster will never end. Will it? Does menopause end and the emotional, physical stress end eventually?

  • Chris says:

    evelyn….dear jesus touch and heal our dear sister today. let your power be made known to her personally as your holy spirit hovers over her and brings her the spiritual and physical rest she needs. eliminate these complications from her life and let your precious blood jesus prevail on her behalf!

  • Gloria says:

    Evelyn,

    I just want to encourage you. I was forced into menopause early and experienced the same. But God!! He pointed me to a blog and Christian organization that has helped. I don’t know if it’s allowed but the name of the blog is Pause 4 A Second. They also on Facebook. You are in my prayers.

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