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Wise Woman Ways
Cessation of menses
with herbalist Susun Weed

Hi Susun,
My period stopped and my doctor wants to put me on synthetic hormones. I would like to avoid taking synthetic hormones – can you help? I am hoping you can advise non-invasive dietary and lifestyle changes that can help shift things gently for me. Thank you.


Susun’s response:
Step 1: Collect Information

Menopause is the cessation of menses. In some books, it is nothing more than that, and what I call the “menopausal years” gets demoted to “peri-menopause” (a word I intensely dislike, having seen it arrive just as women were claiming the power of their menopausal years). The Crone does not menstruate. If your periods stop during your menopausal years, no remedy is needed. Even if they start again, and stop again. . . .

I have met quite a few women in their late 40’s who are eager to have a child, and want to prevent the cessation of their menses until they had achieved their goal. A woman at one of my workshops said she had a child at 53, three years after her last period. To our wail of outrage and surprise, she laughed and advised: “Stay away from new lovers during menopause!”

When not associated with menopause, lack of menstrual flow (indicating, usually, lack of ovulation as well) is called amenorrhea, and constitutes a severe health risk. Bone loss during one premenopausal month without menses is the equivalent of one year’s bone loss post-menopausally. The most common reasons for the menses to disappear before menopause (excluding pregnancy) are lack of body fat (from eating disorders or heavy athletic training) and stress. These remedies may be used by women of all ages.


Step 2: Engage the Energy

If menses cease due to loss and grief, try homeopathic Ignatia. If after a severe emotional shock, try Natrum mur.


Contemplation Medicine ©Leah Dorion

Contemplation Medicine ©Leah Dorion

Step 3: Nourish and Tonify

• Nettle leaf infusion has reportedly returned the monthly flow to women drinking it regularly, even in their sixties!

• If menses stop due to lack of body fat, increase the amount of olive oil and butter in the diet to at least 4 tablespoons a day.

• If emotional upheaval has stopped your menstrual cycles, seek supportive counseling or a therapy group to help you work with your grief, anger, and repressed memories.

• Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) root tincture, especially when combined with while peony root (Paeonia albiflora) and licorice (Glycyrhizza glabra), is a superb remedy for women whose menses cease unaccountably. Let a daily dropperful or two nourish your “palace of the child” and help you establish regular cycles. CAUTION: Avoid dong quai if you are prone to flooding, or have fibroids.

Step 4. Stimulate and sedate

• Acupuncture treatments can be quite useful in re-establishing normal menstrual/hormonal cycling.
• Strong pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides or Mentha pulegium) tea, a cupful/250 ml or more a day, for the three days of the new moon, can stimulate menstrual bleeding and restore regular cycling.

Step 5. Use supplements

• Supplements of vitamin E, 200-600 IU daily, have helped women restore ovulation and menstruation. Consistent use brings best results.

Step 6. Break and enter

• Ten or more sessions of Rolfing (body work focused on breaking patterns held in the fascia between the muscles) can restore menstrual cycles for women not yet in the menopausal years.

Green blessings, Susun Weed

photos: Wise Woman Spiral ©iStockphoto.com / Chuck Spidell | Contemplate Medicine ©Leah Dorion
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Comments

  • Laura

    January 22, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I came across this question and felt inclined to comment!! I recently got my menstrual cycle back after it was missing for 2 YEARS. I am 25 years old, and was diagnosed with hypothalamic amenorrhea, which is basically caused by a chronic energy defecit… not enough calories to fuel activity. I was not anorexic, but my eating was definitley disordered. I think people in general underestimate how many calories they need… I personally had to cut out exercise almost enitirely (except light walking) and really focus on getting in good high quality foods, especially fats. I used an awesome blend of grassfed butter ghee and organic coconut oil (best discovery EVER!), I also think fermented CLO played a big role in my recovery.

  • Kim

    March 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I am 32 and was diagnosed with hypothalamic amenorrhea 4 years ago. At the time I was training for a marathon and I am guessing my low body fat contributed to my loss of a cycle.

    Since then, I have obviously stopped running, gained back the weight, tried acupuncture, etc and NOTHING has restored my cycle! My hormones (LH/FSH/estrogen) remain low. I am at a loss since I only do light workouts 3 times a week now and eat very healthy fats daily (avocado, nut butters, etc)

    Any advice?

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