Perimenopausal symptoms – what is my body saying?

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Perimenopausal symptoms – what is my body saying?

Could it be that the uncomfortable, inconvenient and even disturbing symptoms we can experience as we enter the perimenopausal transition, are in fact our body's innate wisdom speaking to us?

As a woman who is now past this cycle of female life and into menopause, I’ve been pondering on this rather a lot. Looking back and talking with other women in perimenopause I’ve come to see that it’s possible for us to heal or reduce many of these symptoms through developing a deeper and more intimate relationship with ourselves. Personally over the past three years, and with support from healing practitioners, I’ve started paying more attention. I’ve paused to listen to the ‘conversation’ my body is having with me which has resulted in a clearer understanding of what may be causing symptoms on another, deeper or feeling level.

What I’ve come to learn is the possibility that such symptoms – hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue and so on – might actually be viewed as blessings in disguise (and not curses), if we can allow ourselves space to self-reflect and realise that they may well relate to, or be highlighting, unsupportive patterns of behaviour or even unhealed issues we’ve overlooked in our earlier years.

Often as women we’ve spent so much of our adult lives:

  • Busy developing careers
  • Having children
  • Doing what we think is the ‘right thing’ – often for other people
  • Being the mainstay in our relationships, such that we’ve largely neglected ourselves – except perhaps for the odd day out with girlfriends...

Might it be that perimenopause offers us a special time and opportunity in our lives to stop this so often automatic and compromising way of being, and realise that we might in fact be hurting ourselves?

Could my body be naturally calling and supporting me towards implementing some kind of re-evaluation?

Symptoms of change...

Not all our symptoms are the same and some aren’t as common as others, but dig deeper and something might well reveal itself. For example, one of the changes in my body was reflected in my breasts. I had always been quite small breasted, however, in the lead up to menopause my breasts were swollen all of the time, fluid filled, sore and uncomfortable. I went to my doctor and alternative therapists to get some relief but no one could suggest anything that would help.

Later on, with the help of an Esoteric Breast Massage practitioner, I started to realise what was behind my swollen breast issue:

I came to understand and feel that a woman’s breasts are the nurturing centres of our bodies; not solely for others, but primarily for ourselves. I realised that I’d spent most of my adult life overriding my feelings and pushing my body, not really nurturing or deeply caring for myself or my body at all! I rarely connected with myself or trusted my deeper feelings, let alone honoured or followed through with them, preferring the autopilot: “Just-get-on-with what has to be done and keep on going.”

I got to feel that this behaviour was actually hurting my breasts and making them feel sore and uncomfortable – and this was quite a shocking revelation to come to. But as I’ve changed and healed through these realisations, so have my breasts – they now feel exquisite!

So the most important lesson for me was to begin learning what self-care and self-love really felt like. And what it is to truly respect and nurture the fragility and beauty of my essence as a woman.

Our body’s natural intelligence...

I’ve also learned that our bodies aren’t just machines to get us through life, even though that’s how most of us do regard and treat them as we push, drive, overextend, punish, abuse, or compromise – often to better ourselves and our lives. They are delicate and worth preserving, existing in natural cycles and rhythms and having an amazing intelligence that can tell us so much about ourselves and life around us.

And that during perimenopause things do start to happen physically that can serve as invaluable signposts to feel deeper into what may have been overlooked or suppressed in our menstrual years.

So let us not ignore our perimenopausal symptoms or just reach for the medication (although medication can be appropriate and needed too at times) but use this as a time to:

  • Get support
  • Heal
  • Learn to know ourselves more intimately
  • Honour our innate wisdom ... and move forward into the next phase of our lives as women, with more awareness, self-love, and joy
  • And with our body’s full support.

Filed under

Women's healthCyclesMenopauseHot flushesBreast care

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    By Josephine Bell, Cert IV Massage, Certificate Counselling, Cert III Children’s Services

    Mature woman, partner, friend, writer, editor, lover of the ancient wisdom, people and nature. My particular interest long-term has been women’s health and wellbeing, and what it is to live as a true woman in the world today.