Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Baby Boomers Face Menopause

Baby Boomers Meet the Challenges of Menopause

The largest number of Baby Boomer women ever are about to enter their menopausal years.

When Erma, now in her 60's, began to experience menopausal symptoms, her Japanese herbologist told her this: The energy her body and spirit had used to menstruate could finally be directed wherever her heart desired. Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, "There is no more creative force in the world than a menopausal woman with zest." She said it more than 20 years ago, and it has never been more true than it is today.

A member of the Baby Boomer generation turns 50 every seven seconds, and as the last boomers begin the journey of menopause, it is the healthiest, most aware, and most youthful generation of women who have ever experienced it. 1957 saw the largest number of births in North America, and all of the women born in 1957 will turn 50 next year. Most of them will experience menopause by the year 2012, if they haven't already.

Despite the huge 50+ population in North America, western culture holds to an antiquated reverence for youth. Yes, it's ironic to call celebrating youth "antiquated," but it is an apt description. This attitude simply gives menopause a bad name.

The truth is that women needn't "pause" when menopause arrives. In 1998, 752 women between the ages of 50 and 65 were polled by The Gallup Organization, and more than half of them reported they were happier than ever. Numerous other cultures look at menopause as a joyous rite of passage like puberty, marriage, and giving birth.

Yes, menopause often brings symptoms that may need to be addressed, but we live in a time when significant research has finally been conducted, offering us numerous ways to manage menopausal discomfort.

Eight Healthy Ways to Manage Menopause

So, what can you do when the transition begins? Here are eight tips to manage "the change."

1. Chrystle experienced menopause early at age 45 and found that Evening Primrose Oil significantly reduced her hot flashes. When she ran out of the oil (which can be taken in pill form), she found out in no uncertain terms how effective the supplement had been - her flashes doubled!

2. If you're like Chrystle, wear layers so that you can be prepared when a hot flash strikes. This will help you avoid uncomfortable perspiration when you're in a social situation.

3. Synthetic and "natural" hormones (sometimes called "bioidentical" hormones) can often combat the vaginal dryness that comes with menopause, or you can simply use a water-based lubricant if sex becomes uncomfortable. There's certainly no reason whatsoever why a woman experiencing menopause should reduce her sexual activity. After all, you can finally say goodbye to tedious birth control!

4. Of course, when hormone levels start to change, this can also cause a reduction in libido. Hormone treatments can sometimes help, as can homeopathic remedies which work to balance hormone levels. Dr. George Dodd, a leading researcher in aromachology, the science of how smells influences behavior, has developed an aromatic patch that is specifically designed to stimulate the emotions that influence sexual desire. While you attend to the hormonal fluctuations, it also helps to do whatever you need to stimulate your mind sexually. Try to find new ways to turn yourself on.

5. Some women have found acupuncture, aromatherapy, and herbs to be very helpful in dealing with menopause. 6. If the hormones cause emotional symptoms, be sure to nurture yourself! Learn stress reduction techniques such as meditation, and take the time you need to care for yourself. The kinder you are to yourself if you experience tears or anger, the easier it will be to deal with these symptoms.

7. All of the things that will help you through the symptoms of menopause are the very same things that will improve your health at any age. You'll simply notice the positive results more than you would prior to menopause. Reduce alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar intake, as well as meat consumption, especially since animals are sometimes injected with hormones. Try to give up smoking, as it will not only increase symptoms but will make you more vulnerable to osteoporosis. Exercise, on the other hand, will reduce symptoms and decrease your risk of osteoporosis. And, of course, drink plenty of water!

8. Most importantly, maintain a positive attitude. Think of everything as a rebalancing of your energy. You can even think of hot flashes as a way of burning stress away, and some women "surf" through their hot flashes by maintaining a sense of humor.

Whatever you do, never forget that being in your twenties - with all of its inexperience and uncertainty - has never been all it's cracked up to be!

Melanie Votaw is an author, freelance journalist and keynote speaker. Email: melanie@myscentuelle.com Web: http://www.myscentuelle.com ,

Melanie Votaw is the author of, 52 Weeks of Passionate Sex and four other books, a freelance journalist and keynote speaker.

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