3 Flavors of Menopause – Which Menopause Type Are You?
Have you ever wondered why your experience of menopause is so intense while your girlfriend just seems to be cruising through it or vice versa? Why is one of you struggling with hot flashes, intense mood swings, anxiety and heart palpitations while the other isn’t? Why is one of you gaining massive amounts of weight, meanwhile the other seems to get skinnier the more she eats? I get it, it can be frustrating! The good news is, Ayurveda gives us an answer to this baffling phenomenon.
The fact is that there is not ONE type of menopause but actually THREE. Surprising, right?
We will get into the difference of those types in a second, but first we have to look at what the three types have in common. Menopause, as you probably gathered, is a natural transition in a woman’s life. It marks the transition into wise womanhood, that is if we are conscious about it. Since it is a transitional phase, there is an overlying energy that marks all three types. In Ayurveda we call this energy Vata.
Vata is comprised of air and ether and thus it is light and subtle. You may notice that in this phase of your life intuition heightens and you tap more deeply into your creativity. Also, your connection to spirit will naturally deepen and you have a greater chance to tap into inner wisdom. Once again, these benefits are all if you pay attention and you choose to make this a conscious journey. If not, it will turn into confusion, anxiety, worry, nervousness. You get the idea.
Vata also makes things move. I liken menopause to moving house. When you are moving you will discover all kinds of things your have forgotten about. You might find stuff that is old or outdated. Perhaps things you no longer need, or are worthless to you. In short, it’s junk from the back of the closet. The same applies to your body.
Undigested, stuffed emotions that have been stored in your tissues are likely to come up during menopause. Excess energy, stress and imbalances that the body was handling before is now getting revealed. Yes, it is time to deal with anything you have ignored in the first half of your life.
Vata, by nature, also deteriorates things, in this case your body. I don’t mean to depress you or anything, but you do need to realize that from a natural standpoint the body starts to degrade.
The good news is there is an antidote. Ayurveda provides an antidote called: skillful self-care.
You know how people often say “I can’t do so much anymore, my body is less forgiving as I get older”. That’s because that Vata force is moving in big time.
It’s time to take another very close look at your:
- Exercise rhythm (or lack thereof)
If you don’t get super skillful about all those, deterioration will show up faster than in other stages of life.
Our Constitution & Menopause
Now let’s look at a rather interesting question- Why do some women have an easier time through menopause than others?
We all are born with a certain constitution, Vata, Pitta or Kapha.
Vatas are the celestial light weights
Pittaare the fiery mid weights and get it done types
Kaphas are the strong endurance runners
If you have a primarily Vata constitution, as you enter into the Vata phase of life this could be a double whammy. However, if on top of already having a Vata constitution, you have also lived a Vata type lifestyle, things get dicey.
Examples of a vata aggravating lifestyle include:
- Running around everywhere like a chicken with your head cut off
- Excessive travel
- Did too many things
- Spent too much time in cities and got overloaded with stimuli
- Ate too many chips or popcorn
Now you have a triple whammy. Your symptoms are likely to be more severe than for others. Here are some symptoms that may show up for you:
Vata Type Menopause
- Hot flashes followed by cold
- Scanty, irregular or missed periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful sex
- Losing weight (!!!)
- Heart palpitations
- Urinary incontinence
Depressed hearing about all that yet?
If this is you, nourishment becomes important for you, very important. You have got to step up your self care game numerous notches, no exceptions.
Pitta Type Menopause
If you are primarily a Pitta type, or have lived a pitta aggravating lifestyle, you are likely to have a slightly easier time with menopause, but not by much. Vata and Pitta share some of the same qualities like dry, light and subtle. Remember at menopause you are entering Vata phase of life. Besides Vata ( think air) fans the fire of pitta.
A pitta aggravating lifestyle includes:
- Overdoing things
- Too much work
- Excessive exercise
- Intense attitude
- Type A syndrome, the fiery approach to life
You will likely have to deal with:
- Intense hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Spells of heavy bleeding
Excess fire also leads to inflammation. Specifically that maybe show up as:
- Inflamed muscles
Kapha Type Menopause
Kapha women have the easiest time. Kapha, being comprised of earth and water, has natural strength and resilience. The moving Vata energy has a hard time disturbing the stability of Kapha, it’s hard for air to move earth. This is good in this case because it leads to fewer and less severe symptoms.
Still, Vata can disturb Kapha, and you might experience more watery type imbalances like:
- Swelling breasts
- Abdominal heaviness
- Weight gain
- Crying spells
- Feeling of listlessness
Let’s sum it up. The three types of menopause are this:
Vata type – has the most pronounced symptoms
Vata/Pitta type – shows up with more fiery symptoms
Vata/Kapha type – has fewer, less severe symptoms
Again notice, Vata is involved in all three types. And let’s remember Vata deteriorates and destroys things and you will stay in this energy for the rest of your life. So, no matter what body-type you are, stepping up your self care game is crucial. Up leveling your self care will counteract the destructive Vata energy. If you take it up a notch, you will age gracefully and shine with vibrancy.