Menopause is not something that happens to you! Nor is it something that you have no control over. Menopause is actually about coming home to yourself. Did you think it was the beginning of the end? A downward spiral of hot flashes and declining health? It's not! In fact, it can be the exact opposite.
In The Wisdom of Menopause, I dispel many myths about midlife, including this one. Menopause is actually the renaissance of your life -- and you get to be Leonardo Da Vinci. As you create the life you want, expect a few challenges along the way. You may switch careers, become single or an empty nester, or move. That's okay! As you develop a new, healthy autonomy, you will likely feel happier than ever before.
Whether you are approaching perimenopause or well past it, I encourage you to examine previously held beliefs that don't hold up when you shine a light (and a little research) on them. As you continue reading, be open to updating your beliefs. Doing so can help you experience your best year ever.
- You may be more creative and clever after menopause. You are not destined to suffer from mental decline. Although women report a decrease in memory, our brains actually do something wonderful at menopause -- they stay in a state of perpetual creativity. When your period stops, your hormones don't experience the same surges and cycles. Women report better creativity after menopause than when they were younger.
- Hormonal Support Can Be a Smorgasbord. Too many women see the hormone therapy (HT) decision as an either/or, yes/no decision. It is not. And you don't have to choose between traditional HT and alternatives. Think of your perimenopausal support as a smorgasbord. You get to choose what appeals to you at the moment and leave what doesn't. Alternatives can also be used in addition to hormone therapy, to reduce dosage levels, side effects, and potential risk. (Learn more by reading "Hormonal Support Can Be a Smorgasbord" in my blog on www.DrNorthrup.com.)
- Menopause does not signal the end of your sex life. The most recent research shows that midlife women are having sex more often and enjoying it more than ever before! The Gerontological Society of America reported in 2007 that today's American women age 55 and older enjoy sex more and put more thought and effort into their sex lives than women a decade ago who were the same age. Women in their mid-60s to mid-70s reported an even bigger increase.
- Real beauty is ageless and much deeper than your skin's surface. Despite our best efforts to appear youthful, life is full of challenges that sooner or later etch themselves on our faces and bodies. Happily, at midlife most of us are far better equipped to handle this than we were at 20, when we still believed that our lives would be perfect if we could just lose that final five to 10 pounds or if our noses looked different. Let your vitality and wisdom shine through -- then watch the heads turn when you walk by.
- Bone quality may be more important than bone density. Healthy women can lose some bone during menopause and not be at risk for fracture. Thousands of people walk around daily with very low bone density -- yet only a small percentage of them experience fractures. The difference between bones that fracture and those that do not? There is something wrong with the quality of the bone and its self-repair process.
- Breast health is about healthy giving and receiving, not about more testing. When the emotion of love can flow freely, our bodies are filled with the same hormone that sustains all human bonds -- oxytocin -- and our breasts are bathed in the energy of health. Resist excessive testing, prodding, and poking. It will only bathe your breasts and other tissues with stress hormones, which wreak havoc on the body.
- Statins are linked to major health concerns in women. Just as heart disease can have different symptoms in women than in men, statins affect women differently than they do men. Looking at total mortality figures in major clinical trials, it's clear that the risk-benefit balance of statins is less favorable in women than it is in men. Plenty of evidence now exists to show that low cholesterol, especially in women older than 50, is associated with higher levels of cancer, early death, mental illness and liver disease.
Believe me, these tips barely scratch the surface! When you read the newest version of The Wisdom of Menopause, I hope it helps dispel beliefs that could affect your health. If so, post a message and tell me about it. You can purchase a copy of The Wisdom of Menopause at a bookstore near you or from your favorite online retailer.
For more by Christiane Northrup, MD, click here.
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Adapted with permission from The Wisdom of Menopause, by Christiane Northrup, M.D. (Random House, 2012).
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.
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