The menopause is a major rite of passage that suffers negative connotations in our culture. A westernised viewpoint glorifies eternal youth, making women mourn the loss of it without understanding that maiden energy can be successfully integrated as we age. The very word ‘menopause’ can conjure up thoughts of hot sweats and emotional roller coaster mad mood swings. Women are not taught to celebrate it, and if the menopausal phenomenon isn’t understood, it can be frightening. The medical model often fuels the myth of menopause as a dysfunctional state or disease rather than a natural process. I’ve been through the whole journey now and I can assure you the talk about postmenopausal ‘zing’ and extra energy is absolutely true!
The menopause journey begins with the call. The sound or vibration of this call comes from a deep, primal chamber within. It either comes as an outer call in the form of divorce, accident, illness, or as an inner state of questioning, restlessness, a sense of longing for something different. Then there is a sense of something changing – often uncomfortable and ignored – but it gets louder, more troublesome; life feels out of kilter, out of sorts or it simply just ‘doesn’t feel right’. A forgotten part of us is birthing something unknown: a new landscape that at first can feel like a no mans’ land.
Our thirties and forties are often full, demanding, busy years. We push ourselves hard and use our stores of energy birthing and nurturing children, relationships, businesses, careers, marriages. We have trials and crises, but there is mostly enough energy to come through them. If energy runs low, we dig deeper and find more life force, we give more, create more, accomplish more, work hard to keep it all together. To keep ourselves together. The call usually comes in our late forties or early fifties but it can be earlier. The psyche comes knocking at the door of the very thing we have so relied upon and taken for granted all these years: our own body. Suddenly, the body has a whole lot to say and often it shouts loudly. We have no choice but to listen.
I see the menopause journey not only as a physical experience but a spiritual one (and I recognise this in my treatment of the patient). A soul event that needs tending accordingly, its symptoms as symbols of a new life to come once balance has been found and ‘cupboards cleared’. The cultural gains of having a powerful and positive image of menopause are vast. Not just for women. If husbands, lovers, children, have a more positive image of the ‘wise woman’ stage of life, they will be able to offer more support and gain a deeper understanding of this powerful transition.
Menopause is a time when women come up against their ‘unfinished business’, often accumulated over the first half of their lives: wishes and dreams unfulfilled, unsatisfactory relationships, things uncompleted. Menopause opens the Pandora’s box of the soul, but when women work through this, they come into their own and literally become wise women. There are some magical homeopathic remedies for the menopausal years, but I also recommend an integrated programme that includes diet, nutritional and herbal supplements, and an exercise and lifestyle programme.
Here are three good remedies:
Lachesis muta (venom of the bushmaster snake). Patient may experience explosive hot flushes with palpitations and headaches, heavy haemorrhagic bleeding, faintness and weakness. Better once menstruation flows. Headaches worse in the vertex, with burning, left-sided ovary pain. Can’t stand heat or any tight clothing around the neck or waist. An important remedy for women who have never been well since the onset of menopause. A sense of monumental internal pressure, like having the accelerator and the brake on at the same time. Sense of feeling constricted and needing an outlet. Desire to love, be sexual, spiritual, and can be hyperexcited, overstimulated, talkative, jealous or suspicious.
Sepia (cuttlefish ink). Known as the ‘washerwoman’s remedy’ because women who need it are worn out, exhausted, drained, depressed, weak and weepy, with indifference to loved ones. They feel they have nothing more to give. Huge mood swings. They feel they must sit down or their insides will fall out. Sepia can have a sharp, hurtful tongue. No emotions. She cannot feel happiness. Sepia has dryness – of the skin and vagina. An aversion to sex. Heightened sensitivity to touch and to smells. Ameliorated by dancing, movement, jogging; think of how much sea creatures move around. Commonly feels out of their element (a fish out of water). Sepia often has prolapse or weakness of the uterus – a dragging down sensation – and flushes of heat that rise upwards with sweat.
Thlaspi bursa-pastoris (witches’ pouches or shepherd’s purse). A lovely remedy, super effective for dysfunctional uterine bleeding with violent pains. Large clots can come with the bleeding, especially if there are fibroids. Thrushy discharges that are red and itchy. Cystitis with frequent need to pee and often an increase in sexual desire while bleeding. Women frequently say they feel as if they’ve only just recovered from one period before the next one begins. Alternate periods are very profuse. There can be discharge before and after menses.
I’ll leave you with this quote to ponder: “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou
This article was featured JUNO Magazine Summer 2021, issue 73. Reflections of a Homeopath is a regular JUNO Magazine column with Lizzie Mae Smith. Lizzie has been practising homeopathy for around 15 years. She is also a yoga teacher, writer and grandmother and loves supporting and guiding people to their full potential.