Perimenopause: Empowering Women in All Life Stages
Menopause is the stage when women stop menstruating due to the natural depletion of ovarian oocytes. Simply put, one enters the menopause stage when their ovaries stop releasing eggs into the fallopian tubes. The transition from being a reproductively active woman to entering the menopause stage is referred to as perimenopause, and it usually starts in one’s 40s, and even in the 30s in some cases. These are natural phenomena that can be experienced by women and non-cis gendered people with ovaries alike. Hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, disturbed sleep, vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, mood swings, and hair loss are some of the most common symptoms reported by people going through perimenopause. A significant drop in the level of production of hormones namely estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone can start eight to ten years before menopause, which is a signal that one has entered the perimenopause stage.
There are three stages of a woman’s life, starting with maidenhood, then jumping into motherhood, which paves the way for the crone or sage stage, concluding with taking an exit from the physical world. Here is a quick peek into the mapping of the three stages of a woman’s life onto four phases of the moon’s cycles and four seasons according to ancient wisdom traditions and the moon’s energy:
- Maidenhood (Waxing Moon): This stage is like the spring season where everything is new, it is a fresh start, often depicted as the virgin or the woman before marriage.
- Motherhood (Full Moon): It is like summer where we are at the peak of existence, brimming with creativity, fall in love, get pregnant, nurturing instincts kick in for parenting. This stage is depicted as a pregnant woman.
- Crone or Sage Phase (Waning Moon): It is like the fall or autumn where we have achieved all goals, become wise, fulfilled all responsibilities, feel spiritually contended. This stage is depicted as an old woman with a wrinkled face.
- Death (new moon) or the end of life is motionless and cold like the winter, where our soul becomes one with the universe, the God, or reincarnated. Our physical bodies become one with nature to support other forms of life.
The best approach to leading a joyous life is to accept the cyclical nature of our lives and make the best of all of the aforementioned stages. At this stage, you are satiated, and material things that the outer world has to offer do not stimulate you much. You are more into introspection and deep reflection of your life. You feel and appear wiser and are in a position to mentor your younger counterparts. Many women in this phase are a parent to young adults who are getting ready to start their own families. They often find themselves happier around their kids and grandchildren.
Everyone does not find pleasure in the same activities, and the misconceptions about sex in this phase often cause some to panic. In contrast to popular belief, perimenopause is not the end of your sex life. Yes, lower estrogen levels can cause a decrease in the blood supply to the vagina, causing a drop in sex drive. However, the reverse is experienced by many women as it sets them free from having to fear an unwanted pregnancy.
Menopause or as we refer to it as moon-pause, highly emphasizes developing a mindset to synchronize with the natural processes of the universe. Perimenopause is a phase to get ready for the menopause stage and understanding that it is a normal part of the aging process. Some of the changes brought about with this phase may be more uncomfortable than others. Talking to your healthcare provider about it, eating mindfully, exercising regularly, joining support groups, and opting for therapy may help.