If you are a woman past 35 (or live with one), the subject of menopause will surely be one you have at least brushed upon. Maybe you are thinking it should still be a long way off.

But. Statistics in New Zealand show that a woman can expect to experience menopause from anywhere between 42 and 56

mother and daughter

Did you know that there can be a ten year preamble to menopause with variable signs of the greater change it heralds?

Perimenopause, as it is known, is more normally around a two to four year process. And the symptoms for each woman can vary greatly. A few of the main indicators that your body is already winding down estrogen production are:

  • A difference in the monthly rhythm: Irregular or less frequent periods; lighter or heavier flow
  • Hot flushes and night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of madness
  • Light-headedness, 'pressure' headaches or increasing energy dips during the monthly cycle
  • Feeling more tired generally and less like having sex regularly
  • Skin more sensitive and dry. Itchy skin
  • Dry eyes
  • Sleeplessness

Menopause itself means 'last menstruation' and once bleeding has stopped for a year, it can be assumed that a woman is post menopause. Until that happens, it is no exaggeration to say that a person's life experience can be completely dominated by the transitional process.

Did you know that holistic medicine can provide radical results for improving the symptoms of menopause?

Not long ago I had a women come to me for help at the Absolute Essential Healthcare Clinic. She was 52 years old and fully involved in the physical disruption of her menopause. She complained of hot flushes, sleeplessness, agitation and mood swings, but her main problem, as she described it, was 'very, very dry and itchy' skin.

She said "I do not like myself in my own skin anymore and it feels as if I do not fit inside it, my skin is stretched, dry and flabby with red blemishes".

Clearly the source of her problem was hormonal. But I also asked questions about her stress-levels and her diet and we discovered that she was eating far too little of the good oils because of her weight-watching and a perception that fat-free makes a healthy choice.

Though misinformed here, she was generally healthy and conscious.

She had noticed a shift in her cycle at around age 44 but her body had also been influenced by the pill from age 16 to 33 (due to acne) and again after having three children, until age 50. This is when her problems really began.

I immediately prescribed a fully holistic approach.

We talked about the importance of reading labels on personal care products to eliminate irritant ingredients and I recommended natural, fragrance-free body products..

Her healthcare instructions were as follows:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Organic and green Avocado Oil added to dinner.
  • 10 drops of Evening Primrose Oil (EPO, organic & raw, non-capsulated) added to breakfast.
  • A brisk walk, five times a week (her choice of exercise).
  • 2.5 to 4 litres of water consumption a day.

Both Avocado and EPO have a great nutritional value and easily-absorbed moisture content. Plus they have molecules that behave like hormones and can help to balance body process. Regular exercise helps to reduce stress and increase blood flow for healthier, more vital skin. And a good amount of drinking water helps to keep the body hydrated and cleansed of irritant toxins.

With these basic adjustments in place, I then set about designing a therapeutic blend for direct body application. The fully organic body base was created using:

  • Avocado 70mls (beautiful nourishing for dry skin, with hormonal element)
  • Jojoba 20mls (liquid wax moisturises and assists in sealing the skin),
  • Evening Primrose Oil 5mls (nutrient rich and hormone balancing),
  • Wheatgerm 5mls (antioxidant and moisturising)

In addition to this I created a blend of 100% pure essential oils:

  • 100 drops Lavender True (therapeutic scent for relaxation and calming properties for itchiness)
  • 20d Chamomile Roman (classic for sleep aid and also calming on skin irritation)
  • 10d Marjoram French (hormone-like properties to help balance transitional fluxes)

By keeping the two blends separate the prescription was more versatile to the client's needs: she had a rich therapeutic body oil for the morning; and a relaxing intensive treatment for night (simply adding 1drop per 1ml of base blend). The essential oil blend was also suited to creating a therapeutic bath (5-10 drops), or dabbing to her pulse points in moments of stress or sleeplessness.

When my client returned two weeks later, she was so much happier that she gave me a big appreciative hug.

She said "I am thrilled to be feeling myself again, in my own skin".

And, as much as I loved the hug, I am happy to say I haven't had to see her since.