Why is it so confusing?
Symptoms of perimenopause or just life...

Symptoms of perimenopause - unpicking the muddle

A lot of menopause information can leave you feeling confused. Understanding menopause is a bit like looking at a view from two different places – what you see depends on where you stand. Midlife is a curious blend of mind, body and life history. These different aspects create a very individual experience for each woman.

For some women, physical symptoms of menopause dominate. For others, emotions, relationships and personal growth are key features of their midlife passage.

Conflicting or complementary viewpoints?

One viewpoint dominates in Western culture, especially medicine, let’s call it biology is destiny. Broadly speaking from this view, menopause is a biological event and everything associated with it can be explained in biological terms.


Another perspective, which we can call the lived experience view, comes from anthropological studies of midlife women in other cultures. This view is a common sense approach that sees midlife as a process of life change in which emotions, relationships and behaviour are as important as biology.

These two viewpoints are – or could be – complementary, but they can also be in conflict – especially when there are strong vested interests involved. And it’s the conflict that causes the muddle in understanding what’s going on.

As with any viewpoint, what you see depends on where you stand. This is called “framing”. Your attitude and even your experience of menopause can change depending on the frame through which you see and understand menopause.

Our culture, traditions and beliefs shape how we see the world. Our way of seeing becomes so second nature that it’s often difficult to look at things differently.

But the reality is that our lives are guided by the stories we’ve been told. If the stories change then our beliefs and outlooks can also change.

Last  update March 2015



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This website explores all aspects of women's midlife journey. Here biological menopause is just one element in a whole woman transformation that is as complex as it is exciting.

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