Coping with menopause

Time of upheaval: Every woman experiences hormonal changes differently. It often drags on for years and changes not only the body but also the attitude to life.

With the menopause came the desire for a motorcycle. “I love the wind. It’s like driving a convertible, only better,” says Marion G. In order to finally realize her childhood dream, she had to go back to driving school. The instructor thought she was bonkers. Now the 52-year-old has a Yamaha in her garage. For her, menopause was the beginning of a new phase of life.

While women’s magazines cover 45 plus generation stories about “More time for me!”, stories in social networks tell of suffering about torrent-like bleeding, weight gain, sweaty nightgowns, hair loss and increased facial hair.

Just because there is a lot of public talk about it doesn’t mean that individuals enjoy doing it. “It’s a taboo subject in my environment,” says Marion with astonishment. “Men can not feel like women that are becoming sterile. We have to deal with it in silence,” says the personnel officer.

Marion G. had her last menstruation at 50 and was thus about average. The menopause usually extends from 45 to 55 years of age. Entry age and length are partly genetic.

When the cycle gets out of step

After decades of the cycle by the finely tuned sequence of hormone – distributions of estrogen and progesterone was regulated to the womb for a possible pregnancy, now everything gets out of sync.

The normal cycle for women is a hormonal ebb and flow. But before menopause, tsunamis can happen because the dialogue between the pituitary gland and the ovary sometimes doesn’t work so well. “A follicle is sent out sometimes too early, sometimes too late. This often explains intermenstrual bleeding and very heavy or long menstruation.

Prevention during menopause

You should still use contraception for a little longer than a year after your last period. Dr. Claudia Schumann, Gynecologist, explains what to look out for:

  • Pill and mini pill

The hormones inhibit ovulation. Dr Schumann advises against combined preparations with estrogen and progestin: “They increase the increased risk of thrombosis and cardiovascular diseases, especially for women who smoke or have high blood pressure. Gestagen preparations are better.

  • Condom and femidom

Condoms and femidoms are not as safe as hormonal drugs, but they reduce the risk of disease transmission through sexual intercourse. Women who are prone to vaginal dryness and bladder infections will benefit.

  • Contraceptive implant

Hormone implants or sticks are placed under the skin in one procedure and stay there for up to three years. “As a rule, they only release progestins and are more recommended than combination products. However, women suffer more often from irregular bleeding,” says Schumann.

  • Spirals

Hormone IUDs release progestin directly into the uterus. “The period becomes weaker or disappears completely – positive for women who are prone to heavy bleeding,” says Schumann. Copper spirals or chains can do without hormones. But: “The copper coil can rather increase bleeding.”

  • Contraceptive ring / plaster

The patch is changed weekly and the ring remains in the vagina for three weeks. “Both variants have the same effect on the body as the micro-pill, the hormones are only absorbed differently,” says Schumann. Therefore, smokers and women with high blood pressure should seek advice.

  • Diaphragm

Sperm paralyzing or killing agents, which are available as foam, suppository or gel, are not recommended when used alone. However, they increase the safety of a diaphragm. They are less suitable for condoms: they tend to reduce safety.

  • Calendar method

Whether it’s an app or a calendar – menopausal women should refrain from methods that work with counting days to determine the fertile phase. “They only work if you have a regular cycle,” emphasizes gynecologist Schumann.

  • Sterilization

The fallopian tubes are electrically obliterated over a length of one centimetre, closed with a clip or cut. The half-hour operation is usually performed under general anesthesia in the first half of the cycle. Couples should discuss this step beforehand.

Time for changes

“I didn’t allow myself to fall into a hole so I hardly had any room for complaints,” says Marion. On the contrary: menopause had a positive effect on her. She used to suffer from benign growths in the uterus (fibroids). And when she had an operation in her mid-30s, the doctors diagnosed endometriosis.

“It borders on a miracle that I still got pregnant afterwards,” said the mother of a son who is now 15 years old. Now, with the missed period, the abdominal discomfort is gone too.

For many women like Marion G., however, hormone yo-yo and hot flashes are not so much in focus: “I noticed the upheaval less physically, but rather in my life in general,” she sums up in retrospect. “When I was in my late 40s, I got the feeling that I didn’t want to go on living as before.” She separated from her husband.

Emotional breakthroughs and outbursts

So it is not an isolated case. According to the Office of statistics, the average age of women after a divorce is 44 years – presumably because many more women do not start a family until they are in their thirties. The separation phase often falls during menopause.

Today Marion sees the future positively. “I achieved everything I wanted. This is a new self-confidence that makes me more relaxed, also when it comes to being a woman.”

But menopause is not always uncomplicated. Sometimes the little things show that everything is upside down. “It wasn’t a special occasion at all, it somehow broke out of me”, Kara B. remembers the moment. She just wanted to quickly buy a cream from her pharmacy.
But the line in front of her was long, just too long. “All of a sudden I got a crying fit and cried hard.” The pharmacist called her husband, a general practitioner. He reassured the broken-up customer and advised her to get a check-up as soon as possible. That was a year ago.

Menopause and menopause

“It never occurred to me that it could be menopause,” says the 55-year-old now: Her menstrual bleeding was still regular. The mood swings were joined by sleep disorders. Her sometimes sweaty hands or feet, as well as the feeling as if a heat lamp in the body was being switched on and off, she did not perceive as menopausal symptoms.

“Since then I have hardly been cold,” says the social worker. When she finally went to see her gynecologist, he said before the examination: “Well, are you ready for menopause?”

Since then, she found a natural bioidentical hormone cream, which supplies her body with the replacement hormones estradiol. “I felt better in no time. Today I have neither hot flashes nor crying fits,” she says. The sometimes extremely heavy menstrual periods also decreased.

Night sweats, hot flashes, and palpitations

Dr. Katrin Schaudig sees it every day. “Some women break into tears at the bakery because their favorite bread is sold out.” She has a practice for gynecological endocrinology and makes it clear: “Menopause cannot be stopped or shortened. You cannot prevent the symptoms with sport or a good lifestyle.”

The severity of the symptoms is also hardly predictable. “They show up differently with every woman, with some only briefly, others sweat for years.”

A third of all women suffer, in some cases considerably, during this time. “If, for example, a teacher stands in front of her class with hot flashes and the sweat is running down, it can be extremely stressful. Other women, on the other hand, have such strong heart palpitations that they go to the emergency room because they are afraid of a heart attack,” says Schaudig. One speaks of menopause only when there is no more menstrual bleeding for twelve months.

Therapy against estrogen deficiency

But that is not automatically the end of all complaints. “In the worst case, they can last until the end of my life. My oldest patient is 78 years old,” says Dr. Cornelia Jaursch-Hancke from the Helios Clinic.

Diagnosis is often tedious. “There are estrogen receptors in the whole body, from the foot to the head, in the heart and in the skin,” says the expert from the Society for Endocrinology. When hormone production falls, the symptoms can be varied.

Rheumatologists send patients to me who suddenly have pain everywhere, but for whom the suspicion of rheumatism has not been confirmed. “Estrogen preparations in the form of gel, plaster or tablets can then help when there is a lack of estrogen. “

Hormone therapy is not without its risks

Replacement hormones used to be prescribed to every third woman, today it is almost seven per cent. This change was triggered by the study situation at the time, which indicated an increased risk of breast cancer. Experts are still discussing the topic to this day. How high the individual risk is, also depends on the start of therapy, duration of treatment, type and amount of hormones, according to a recent study.


As a blogger, Sina O. tells how she got through life without hormone preparations

The latest findings, therefore, support the old concerns. “If a hormone-dependent tumour is already present, it may grow as a result of the hormone administration. That is why you should be examined carefully before hormone therapy,” advises Schaudig.

A new body feeling

The hormones made the difficult change easier for Kara B.: “I have the feeling that the whole body is being changed and reacts much more sensitively.” She experiences family life in a similar way.

When she went through menopause, the youngest of her three sons was in puberty. Where there used to be intimacy, today she is more often on edge. But she enjoys her aunt happiness with her four-year-old nephew. “I take on a lot more generation responsibility.”

While all of these problems are still a long way off in younger women, many are increasingly looking for natural ways to deal with typical women’s ailments.

Know your own body

Sina O. a 30-year-old is currently thinking about having children and has dealt intensively with the female hormonal balance. She took the birth control pill for twelve years and suffered from blemishes, low moods and missed periods after she stopped.

“Women should be much more concerned with what happens in their bodies during puberty, pregnancy or menopause. Only then can you do the right thing,” says Sina. She herself relied on intestinal health, a more balanced diet and better lifestyle habits. Since then, she has stopped using hormonal contraceptives and feels comfortable in her skin again.

As a book author and blogger, she now passes on her experiences. She is often contacted by young women asking for tips on their mothers’ menopausal symptoms. Many would like a quick solution. “But there is no such thing,” says Sina O. with conviction.

Overcome feelings of shame, avoid pressure

Her 56-year-old mother was also affected. Together they looked for alternative approaches: “We tried essential oils, vital substances, baths and aromatherapy.” She also finds the urge to be perfect, which stresses many women, problematic.

Doris Braune sees it similarly: “Far too often the symptoms are pathologized. Menopause is not a disease.” As a consultant at the Women’s Health Center, she answers questions about herbal remedies or teas with black cohosh, lady’s mantle or valerian against the symptoms as well as regular colon cleansing and annual detoxification periods.

At the age of 64 she also knows about the feelings of shame in women who suffer from vaginal dryness, bladder infections or changes in pleasure after menopause. “Many put themselves under pressure and want to continue to function as they did before.”

It might be better to simply take more time for the most beautiful thing in the world or to try out new practices. “Women who feel attractive despite the change can often gain a lot of positive things from this time.”

Starting to cleanse the body early and keeping it balanced can support changes in the body. Holistic Colon Hydrotherapy can support you on this journey in a positive way.

Marion G

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