From menarche (a girls first period) to menopause (a woman’s last period) the average woman will experience their menstrual cycle for a total of 38 years, give or take a few. The average age for a young girl to receive her period is between 12 and 13, the average age for a women to experience menopause is 51 years of age, although, women can experience menopause in their early 30s as well, especially those whose bodies have gone through a severe illness and have undergone medical treatments such as chemo or have had a hysterectomy. Every female is born with a certain amount of eggs that are stored in the ovaries, and each month an egg is released. The ovaries produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control menstruation and ovulation. Menopause will begin once the ovaries stop releasing an egg every month, and menstruation ceases. Menopause is a regular part of aging; however, too many women place a negative connotation on this transformation in that they begin to feel as though their youth is coming to an end, and they’ll no longer be desirable. Along with the typical symptoms of menopause that many women experiences, feelings of depression and anxiety follow right along because of it.
There are three stages of menopause. Perimenopause takes place several years before menopause when the ovaries slowly make less estrogen. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last years of perimenopause, the decline in estrogen accelerates. In this time frame, many women will experience menopause symptoms (symptoms vary will vary). A woman will enter the menopause stage after a year since her last menstrual period. At this time, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and are no longer making as much estrogen as it once did. Postmenopause occur after menopause. It’s at this stage, menopausal symptoms like hot flashes occur for most women. Symptoms that occur around the time of menopause are irregular or skipped periods, insomnia, mood swings, fatigue, depression, and irritability. They also include racing heart, headaches, joint and muscle aches and pains, changes in libido (sex drive), vaginal dryness and bladder control problems.
When it comes to treating the symptoms of menopause, more women are choosing neurofeedback to help stabilize their bodies as they go through this new life transition. Neurofeedback promotes health in a controlled and precise way and training the brain helps it to perform better. Many women’s hormonal symptoms are a result of dysregulation in the brain, and neurofeedback training helps to normalize the unhealthy brain patterns. Once the brain is performing better, and balanced, menopause symptoms tend to settle. On the whole, as we discussed in previous blogs, neurofeedback therapy has been proven to help those overcome anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue and mood swings, all of which, are also symptoms of menopause. Keeping these symptoms at bay allows for women to truly embrace and enjoy their newfound transformation graciously, learning to accept this as a right of passage, and not a curse. Understanding that this transformation is a gift and that aging is a tremendous honor in itself that not many are fortunate to experience.
As a Neurofeedback specialist, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with many women going through menopause. Some are happy to be free of their menstrual cycles and accept this new stage in their lives with open arms. These women come to me to help them alleviate some of the symptoms that intrude on their daily lives from time to time, so they can learn how to control them. Others, however, come to me severely depressed describing this new journey as detrimental not only to their physical health but their mental health and self-image. Many women, like several of my clients, have experienced unwanted weight gain, no matter how much they tried to stay active and fit, eating healthy all the time. Not all women receive the same method of treatment based on their mental state. For example, the women who come to be severely depressed I prescribe therapy sessions, along with neurofeedback therapy, because lots of these women want the opportunity to express what they re going through in a safe environment free of judgment. Sadly, they don’t feel comfortable sharing this experience with their loved ones, and that something to expect. However, after time and several session, their state of mind becomes more positive, and they begin to feel like an enhanced “old version” of themselves again, accepting who they are now, minus their periods, and that is extremely important