Reading time – 6 minutes
It’s time to talk about it. The change. That thing that happens to literally half of the people on this planet but somehow remains shrouded in taboos, hushed voices, and a veil of secrecy.
We’re talking menopause. When it is talked about… IF it is talked about… it is usually in one of only two ways. There’s the cold and clinical way that says only that somewhere between age 45 and 55, women will stop having periods and will no longer be able to get pregnant.
And then there’s the stereotypical and sexist way that dismisses, devalues, and mocks women for a totally natural part of their life cycles.
To heck with that. This blog is a frank talk about menopause. What it is, what happens, how long it takes, and ways to cope with this time of change.
What is Happening To Me?
First up, some quick facts to debunk any myths, stereotypes, or internet half-truths. What is happening during menopause?
Changes in hormone levels trigger menopause. Hormones are the master control system for the reproductive system. Just like they are the trigger in the body to enter puberty, they also serve to trigger menopause.
But unlike a light switch that simply flips on and off, this change is more like a dimmer that slowly turns the levels down. The hormones are still present, just in different amounts and produced more irregularly. These fluctuations can lead to unpleasant symptoms like trouble concentrating, headaches, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, and changes in mood, desire and comfort with intimacy. There are also some increased risks as bones start to lose calcium and become thinner.
There is a bright side. Many women look forward to a life free of painful menstrual cramps, birth control, or those awkward moments when a period suddenly starts, and you're left tying a sweater around the waist of your white pants and racing home for a change of clothes.
Some women win the menopause lottery and simply stop getting a period while experiencing no symptoms of any kind. How nice for them! But for many women, the transition can be marked by anxiety, symptoms that are hard to predict, and the added frustration of stigma and silence.
How Long Will It Last?
The lack of open conversation about menopause leaves many women with the misconception that the road through this transition is a short one. A few irregular periods, a couple of moments of wondering ‘Is it getting warm in here?’ and voila! Menopause is over.
Not so fast.
Medically speaking, menopause doesn’t officially begin until you’ve missed 12 consecutive periods. A whole year. The time that comes before that all falls into the perimenopause phase. That’s the time you’re likely to see increasingly irregular and unpredictable periods. You may start noticing that your body’s shape is changing, that you’re losing some muscle tone, or that you’re not quite as tall as you used to be.
Fun times. And while it may be a quick process for a precious few, for most women, perimenopause and menopause can take seven to ten years.
Ugh. Who said getting there was half the fun?
How Do I Know When It’s My Turn?
It can be hard to know for sure whether you’ve entered the perimenopause stage. Some women know from clear changes in their cycles. But for others, that more obvious sign isn’t there.
Hormone level testing is often what a doctor will often suggest as a first step. Some blood work at key points in your cycle will create a baseline that lets your doctor see what hormones are being produced and when. Some women take hormone therapy medications to try to rebalance the swings of estrogen and progestin.
But there are concerns with those options too. Hormone medications have some serious potential side effects, including increased chances of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, breast cancer, dementia… Trying the medication route can be a tough decision as you weigh your own symptoms against the risks of these powerful medications.
Menopause also disrupts the functioning of the ECS – the endocannabinoid system. That is the internal system that keeps a delicate balance of cells, cell receptors, and enzymes to help the body regulate everything from mood to sleep to appetite. Seven to ten years of that kind of disruption is enough to make anyone a little grumpy!
Menopause, the ECS, and CBD
CBD works directly with the endocannabinoid system. Its relationship is subtle and gentle. Unlike many other substances that try to force the body to do something different, CBD influences the body to do more of what it does naturally. CBD triggers the ECS to adjust its production of natural cell receptors and enzymes. This includes those related to mood, concentration, sleep, and appetite.
Including things like regular exercise (especially outside in nature!), healthy food choices, time with friends, and plenty of time for rest can all help keep the ECS in balance. Some CBD can help support your ECS too.
While research into all things cannabis-related has a long way to go in catching up from 100 years of prohibition, there is already a wealth of study that shows CBD to be effective in helping the body manage the kinds of symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause.
Are you feeling down or volatile? CBD has been shown to bring benefits in reducing depression and anxiety.
Can’t sleep? CBD, as well as several terpenes naturally found in cannabis and hemp, have demonstrated effectiveness in multiple studies in helping get the shut-eye you need.
Hard time focusing? CBD, along with other cannabinoids, has shown promise in helping with passing issues of focus as well as longer-term focus-related conditions like ADHD.
Sore and achy? CBD has well-documented anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can be a vicious circle that stops you from being active… leading to more inflammation. Supporting your body in keeping inflammation down helps everything from your muscles to your lungs to your digestive health while keeping pain at bay.
Medication or Management?
For most of us, perimenopause and menopause is a long process, and we do better mentally and physically by embracing the change, not fighting it.
For millions of women, menopause doesn’t require medication; it requires management. Being open to changing some old routines, introducing some new habits, and getting honest about putting themselves, their health, and their happiness first.
Talk with your doctor. Get your hormone levels checked. Consider your options against the impact of the symptoms you’re experiencing. Medication may be the right choice for you.
But if you’re like millions of us and just need some support to help you through, consider adding some CBD to your routine as a natural, plant-based way to ease your way to a future free of menstrual cramps, cycle-tracking, and birth control vigilance.
Menopause takes a while. It doesn’t have to suck. Check out some of our custom CBD options here infused with botanical terpenes to zero in on the benefits you need to support you through the change.
We got you.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD oil.
Contributors | Angus Taylor + Dr Gaylord Wardell
IPI is a pharmaceutical ingredient company that cultivates cannabis strains curated to extract specific cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids for the formulation of effects-based health and wellness products. Angus is an experienced public speaker, engaging stakeholders, governments and media. Angus was the co-founder of NewLeaf Cannabis, Canada’s most successful retail brand to date, and has been established as a well-known and recognized expert in the field.
Dr Wardell is a practising physician with over 40 years of clinical and educational experience in pain management, medical practices and education. Dr Wardell is past President of the Pain Society of Alberta, and current President of the Alberta Medical Association, section of Pain. He is a popular public speaker, an active blogger on medical and pain-related issues, and proponent for scientific validation for patients experiencing pain.
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.