Depending on whom you ask, Menopause can be labeled as either a disease or a life transition. Typically, people in Western societies see Menopause as a “disease.” People from Eastern descent often sail through menopause without a wave.
Dr. Robert Svoboda eloquently states, “In those societies where age is valued over youth, a woman is seen as coming into her own at menopause, and so is likely to have less problems with the transition. Where youth is emphasized, as in the West, the opposite is the case, and she is likely to perceive herself as being on the slippery slope of a steep and terrible decline. 1
The history of menopause dates back to the 1800’s when the term Menopause was coined in 1821 from a French physician.2 In the 1930’s interest grew and people started to refer to menopause as a deficiency disease. 3 In the 1970’s medicalization of menopause was complete.4 The symptoms associated with menopause were attributed to estrogen deficiency and estrogen (hormone) replacement therapy was promoted as the ultimate liberation of middle aged women. 5 The development of synthetic estrogen occurred in 1938, long before its popularity.6
In developing countries like India, China and Africa, the feeling toward menopause has not changed considerably over the years and menopause is often viewed with a positive outlook. In Western countries, women see menopause as a “crisis.” Once they hit this stage of life, they scramble for remedies to alleviate their symptoms. Between the 1900’s and early 2000’s, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) was seen as the only viable treatment for menopause. However, with the influx of natural therapies and the growing influence of Ayurvedic healing in Western countries, women are now beginning to realize that there are many natural healing alternatives to HRT.
In addition, looking at menopause from an Ayurvedic Perspective, we begin to learn just why menopause is not seen as a disease in Eastern cultures. The intention for this research paper is to enlighten women on how to manage menopause from an early age so that when menopause does occur it is not seen as a “crisis,” rather a natural progression into the later years of life.