The Menopause Transition:
Understanding and Dealing with a New Stage in Life
Entering the stage of menopause brings on all kinds
of changes and emotions. You may feel a sense of loss since the reproductive
years are ending. There will no longer be opportunity to give birth
to children. There may be a loss of identity and feeling of uselessness
to your family or society. It is normal to grieve. It is normal to
feel this way. It’s important to realize that as a child of
God you do not lose your purpose and worth. It’s also vital
to recognize that menopause is a stage of life to pass through not
What happens as women enter the stage of menopause?
“I feel on edge. I can’t sleep or think clearly. My
husband is tired of my forgetfulness. Sometimes I just fly off the
handle for no reason. I am having trouble with sex. I don’t
know what is happening to me? Could this be menopause?”
Nancy, age 52, sat in my office looking frustrated, worn-out and
depressed. I have counselled many women with complaints like hers.
Women come in with overwhelming symptoms of perimenopause and menopause,
which impair their emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, but if you are currently
in perimenopause, odds are you are feeling more like Nancy and are
looking for answers to help you cope with this uncertain territory.
Informing yourself about what to expect when you begin experiencing
menopausal symptoms and how you can more effectively handle this
new stage of life is the first step towards feeling better.
Perimenopause, the time our mothers referred to as "the change," can
start as early as 40. The closer a woman gets to 50, the more symptoms
she will have. Common symptoms include hot flashes, erratic and often
painful periods that may be extremely heavy or too light or skipped
altogether, forgetfulness, insomnia, night sweats, headaches, and,
given the other symptoms, a hardly surprising tendency to mood changes
and depression. This transition period is a unique experience for
What can women do for themselves?
"Some of the general things women can do during perimenopause
include watching what they eat and exercise. These are clichés
but clichés become clichés for a reason. Women's metabolism
is slowing down and they start putting on weight. They may have the
same diet and exercise program as earlier in life but they begin
to gain weight. Watching the diet and doing more exercise not only
keeps off weight but it's also good for the heart and bones," said
Some doctors recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT). You should
manage your medical care and determine what is best for you. There
are some risks with HRT and there are risks associated with use of
uncontrolled over-the-counter or ‘natural’ treatments.
Inform yourself of the benefits and risks of any treatment you are
What is menopause?
Menopause begins a new phase in a woman’s life when she stops
having periods, often some time in her 50s. Menopause is a natural
biological event in which the menses stop when the function of the
ovaries begins to cease. Menopause does not occur overnight, it is
a gradual process. A woman is in menopause when she has had no menstrual
periods (menses) for 12 months and has no other medical reason for
her menses to stop.
What makes menopause so difficult? The decrease in estrogen also
affects serotonin- a brain (neurochemical) chemical - which causes
women to feel good, energetic and to focus more clearly. This is
called the “serotonin-estrogen” dance. Less estrogen=less
serotonin. When serotonin decreases women begin to feel “blue” or
experience depressive-like symptoms.
Some Biblical insights
Whenever you are dealing with physical changes or a crisis in your
life – it’s vital to remember that God is in control,
has a purpose for your life and will provide strength to carry on.
These physical changes remind us that suffering is part of life but
that good can come from enduring the suffering.
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we
have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but
we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering
produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love
into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us" (Romans
- What has been your perspective about this stage of life from
a spiritual standpoint?
- What would God want you to do and to be during this stage of
Though you may be dealing with various symptoms of perimenopause
and menopause – does this mean you should just cave-in and
feel sorry for yourself? Of course not! As with any difficulty or
physical malady or disorder – you can endure it and press on
because God wants to show you His power in your weakness.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my
power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all
the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest
on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in
insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when
I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
As you pass through this stage of life – be assured that God
has a plan and purpose for you. God’s Word declares these core
purposes for your life:
- To be reconciled to God by trusting in Christ as Lord and Savior;
- To love God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength;
- To be a witness of the gospel and Christ’s love to the
- To live a godly life - fully devoted to Christ.
Don’t let menopause – pause your life! No matter what
trial you face in life – living for God’s purpose and
for Christ will give you fulfillment and satisfaction in the midst
of it. The symptoms of menopause are only ‘light and momentary
troubles’. You can move forward and continue to live fully
In passing through menopause – you can discover a new depth
in your relationship with Christ and a new purpose for living. Take
time to read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren for a deeper
understanding of the significance God places on your life!
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