Women going through menopause, at any age, have to come to terms with the end of their fertility and reproductive years. If menopause starts at the average age of 52, then a woman is at least mentally prepared for the change in life.
But if your menopause starts before the age of 40 - known as Premature Ovarian Insufficiency or POI - then it can be harder to adjust to the changes, at first. Women with POI also experience fluctuations in their menstruation meaning that some retain fertility for some time, the ovaries often don’t completely fail, but their hormones are haywire during this stage of fluctuation.
How common is it?
According to the Daisy Network, who I support, approximately one in every 100 women under the age of 40, one in 1,000 women under 30 and one in 10,000 under 20 experience POI. A spontaneous (natural) early menopause affects approximately 5% of the population before the age of 45.
Spontaneous POI affects 1% of women before the age of 40, however increasing numbers of women are experiencing iatrogenic POI (POI caused by surgery or cancer treatments), therefore the exact number of women affected by all causes combined is unknown
How can Menopause Yoga Help?
Menopause Yoga can help woman during menopause at all stages and ages.
A regular yoga practice can help you reduce or eliminate some of the most common symptoms by reducing the stress trigger, as well as improving muscle strength and tone, which weaken in post menopause, balance, flexibility to prevent dangerous falls, and build bone density to help prevent osteoporosis.
One of the most transformational benefits of yoga and meditation is the effect they can have on your psychological state of mind and perspective, helping you to transition through this stage of upheaval in your life, and come to terms with the sense of grief that many of us experience for the loss of our fertility.
I know because I experienced many of these symptoms when I came through perimenopause in my early 40s at a time when it wasn’t as openly talked about as it is today. This is known as an early menopause - which is different from POI but I empathise with younger women; I was the only one of my contemporaries to be in peri menopause aged 45 so I didn't have anyone to ask for guidance. At the time, GPs were reluctant to offer HRT and there wasn't the wealth of information online and on social media.
Having said that, I was fortunate to have wanted and given birth to two children. For a woman who has not had this choice yet, the need for counselling and support is essential.
Yoga can't 'cure' menopause or infertility (although some teachers claim it can!). Yoga can't change your situation but it can help you to accept your situation and can lessen the main symptoms such as hot flushes, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue, rage and mood swings, low mood and digestive problems. Most importantly, it helps you to reconnect with your Self - the nurturing and nourishing voice inside that will help you steer through this stage of transformation, and see you right to the other side.
If you would like to learn more about the Daisy Network charity and the incredible work they do with women, you can visit their website: www.daisynetwork.org
I will be donating part of the proceeds from my October Menopause Yoga workshop to the Daisy Network. This workshop is being held at Triyoga studio in Soho, central London, on October 13th from 10am-4pm. To book a place please visit the Triyoga website and search for workshops and teacher Petra Coveney https://triyoga.co.uk/services/workshops/
r tel: 020 3362 3355