Last year, seemingly out of nowhere, I had what some folks call a panic attack. I settled happily into bed at night after a full day, and I looked forward to sleep. But moments later my body tensed, my breath hitched, and I jumped out of bed, aware that something felt horribly off inside. My mind made up a story that I was dying, as minds do in this situation. Then I realized what was happening, and I turned to homeopathy (think Aconite for sudden, intense panic) and to my husband for co-regulation, and I let my body do what it needed to do, which in that moment was shake.
After consulting with a trusted holistic physician, I learned that my symptoms were not uncommon for women entering menopause. In all that I’d learned or been told about menopause, I’d not heard this. Yet, when I dug deeper, I found numerous women sharing similar stories…stories of debilitating mental, emotional, and physical symptoms, well beyond the common hot flashes or night sweats (which are debilitating in their own right).
This realization brings me here now, sharing (briefly) a homeopath’s empowering perspectives on (peri)menopause, so that you can begin feeling more empowered to reclaim your vitality during this transitional time.
Menopause is the ceasing of menstruation, and it is a natural part of the aging process. The debilitating symptoms that often accompany menopause don’t have to be part of the process. But, that doesn’t mean symptoms, when present, are all bad.
Symptoms guide us to what needs our attention. Symptoms invite us to go deeper, to the inner disturbance creating the outward symptoms. Symptoms reveal our susceptibility.
Do you wonder why not ALL women experience debilitating symptoms? Why do some transition easefully and others struggle daily?
The homeopath’s answer is SUSCEPTIBILITY.
Your unique susceptibility determines what you are sensitive to or influenced by and how your physical, mental, and emotional bodies respond to those influences. My panic response led me to look deeper at my susceptibilities and the susceptibilities of women with similar symptoms.
The Nervous System
I’m moderately versed in the workings of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the limbic system. I’ve been learning their functions and patterns and how to work WITH them to support my healing, even before my panic response last year. So I knew I was not having an “attack” at all; rather, I recognized the symptoms and sensations of panic as my brain and body’s way of responding to a perceived threat (even as I was not consciously aware of a threat).
But why would my ANS and/or limbic system perceive a threat with the hormonal changes of (peri)menopause?
One reason is the ANS, limbic system, and endocrine systems are intricately connected. When your ANS’s capacity to tolerate fluctuations in your inner environment is diminished (due to chronic stored stress, trauma, current life circumstances), you may be more SUSCEPTIBLE to symptoms—or panic—in response to hormonal changes. To oversimplify it, your ANS may experience the hormonal shifts of menopause as threatening, and respond accordingly, in an effort to keep you safe.
The Hormone Connection
If the ANS and limbic system aren’t functioning optimally (possibly as a result of trauma, chronic stress, chronic illness, etc.) it may exacerbate already shifting hormone levels, adding fuel to the fire. One thing I learned: Levels of progesterone, your “relaxation” hormone, decline during menopause. A progesterone metabolite, allopregnanolone, typically binds to GABA receptors. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that produces a calming effect. When progesterone levels fall, GABA function also decreases. And this decrease may contribute to panic, anxiety, and nervous tension, among other things. If you tend to be low on GABA, you may be more SUSCEPTIBLE to symptoms in response to the hormonal changes of menopause.
There are also numerous studies exploring how estrogen levels may effect health, including anxiety and depression, too. I think it’s particularly interesting that the limbic system is full of estrogen receptors, which got me curious about how the fluctuating levels of estrogen may impact our limbic function. That’s all beyond the scope of this blog, though.
For more information on the nervous system/stress and hormone connection, check out Aviva Romm’s Hormone Intelligence book. She dives so much deeper into the relationship between stress and hormones.
An Empowering Perspective
The limbic system influences the ANS and the ANS drives the automatic processes and systems of the body. But the Vital Force is the ultimate driver of both.
The Vital Force operates on a level deeper than hormones and deeper than the nervous or limbic systems. It is the energetic source of your vitality, and when it’s frequency is mistuned or attuned to dis-ease, it is, in effect, the source of your symptom expression and the seat of your susceptibility. A homeopath looks to your constellation of symptoms to understand your susceptibility and then offers a homeopathic medicine that resonates with that, so your mental, physical, and emotional bodies can remember how to overcome the mistunement and return to a state of harmony all on their own. It is possible!
My wish is that this blog sparks curiosity and hope. You don’t have to feel miserable through menopause. Menopause is a sacred time, an invitation to embody our wise crone within. It is possible to reclaim your vitality through the transition. And while there are numerous ways to do this, homeopathy is my favorite way.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often prescribed for women during menopause; however, it comes with numerous unintended side effects. And, it’s not a viable option for those with hormone receptive-positive cancer (or those who are at risk for it). Homeopathic medicines gently strengthen your Vital Force and minimizing debilitating menopause symptoms without unintended effects.
There is not one homeopathic medicine for menopause, because homeopathy does not treat a specific condition; rather it supports the person with the condition. It’s best to work with a qualified homeopath to receive individualized treatment and attention to the potency, dose, and frequency of medicine your body needs. Nonetheless, I’ve highlighted a few of the most commonly used homeopathic medicines for menopause symptoms below.
Book a free exploratory call if you would like to explore how homeopathy can support you through (peri)menopause.
Also, before you go…
We must care for our mental, physical, and emotional bodies. We can’t take a homeopathic medicine and expect it will undo the self-abandonment, lack of nourishment, or absence of connection we all need. Ensuring our basic needs are met is an equally important step in resolving troubling symptoms.
Early morning sunlight exposure
Intentional, joyful movement and exercise
Non-sleep deep rest (meditation, yoga nidra, etc.)
Connection with nature and your people
Whole foods and hydration
Journaling/self-reflection to explore your relationship with menopause
- What stories do I tell myself about menopause? What do I believe about it?
- What stories about menopause have I internalized from others?
- How am I engaging with (or disengaging from) my body through this transition?
- How am I meeting my needs right now? What needs aren’t being met?
*As always, this is not medical advice nor is it a substitute for medical care. Consult with a trusted health-care provider if you have concerns about your health.