In a well-known proverbial fairy tale, Snow-White is blessed with the assistance of seven dwarfs with dubious names like Grumpy, Sleepy, and Dopey. While in the story these diminutive creatures are friendly and helpful with their magic, some of their names bring to mind the “bewitching” that can change an energetic, easy-going, quick-thinking woman into someone who is often “Grumpy”, “Sleepy”, or “Dopey” – not to mention “Sweaty” and “Moody” – when she goes through menopause.
I believe many a woman experiences alarm and not a little consternation concerning the changes she perceives in herself both as menopause approaches and after it has already occurred. No matter how much information she has read about menopausal changes and how to be prepared for them, it is still difficult for her to recognize her usual self with the frequent hot flashes, forgetfulness, fatigue, irritability, and drop in sexual desire which often accompany menopause. It is easy for her to feel that she has irrevocably changed for the worse, and almost to mourn the loss of her familiar former persona. In spite of the irritability and sadness, though, she often tells herself that this is a “normal” state for her age, and that she will just have to learn to deal with and accept a less energetic, less sociable, and less sexual/sensual state of affairs, because it is the hand her body has dealt to her at this stage in life – after all, she is getting older!
“Baloney!” exclaim seven squeaky voice all at once, voices of the “dwarfs” who can help women to emerge on the other side of menopause with more cognitive, sensual, sexual, and physical resources than they have ever before possessed. These seven new dwarfs are named Lively, Healthy, Cheerful, Amorous, Contented, Sensual, and Happy (while that last dwarf shares a name with one of Snow White’s dwarfs, this is not the same Happy, but rather one far more attuned to helping a woman achieve happiness after menopause)! And a beautiful kind of magic occurs when these elves are summoned to help restore normalcy to the life of a menopausal woman, because they can transform her into a lady we can call “Ms. Know-Right” (hey, it rhymes with Snow-White)!
What are some of the means that these “dwarfs” use to maximize a woman’s biological, sexual, and psychological health after menopause? Well, if I remember right, Snow White used to cook for the seven dwarfs. And in our real-life story, Ms. Know-Right cooks healthy meals and make appropriate food choices for herself and her family. After all, food is one of the first sensual pathways via which courtship and romance are initiated between a man and woman. Along the same lines, a healthy diet rich in amino acids, omega-3 fats and alkaline foods which contain beneficial minerals and vitamins nourishes the brain as well as the body, and the human brain is actually the most important sex organ we possess. The pleasurable sensations of orgasm and of eating tasty foods are both rooted deeply in the limbic system, a network of small organs buried deep in the center of the human brain which contains the so-called “reward centers,” nerve endings which fire rapidly and repeatedly when a fundamental need is met. This process is facilitated by the flow of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers which travel along nerve pathways and flow across the gap at the end of the pathway to the target cell or receptor). Dopamine, one of numerous human neurotransmitters, is the one most closely connected to sexual desire and arousal. Dopamine levels tend to drop after menopause, probably as a result of an estrogen/progesterone (or even testosterone) imbalance. So when we summon the Healthy dwarf to remedy the situation by way of diet, exercise, and appropriate hormone replacement therapies, the Amorous, Sensual, and Contented dwarfs are right on his heels because better hormonal balance usually means normal dopamine levels. It should be noted that prescription anti-depressant medications increase the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which actually inhibits the production and circulation of dopamine and consequently decreases sexual desire. So Healthy, Amorous, Sensual, and Contented are more often the result of natural treatments (giving your body and brain what they need) than of psychotropic medications, which can balance one neurotransmitter but upset the balance of another. So summon the Healthy Dwarf and his sidekicks to help you be aware of how to naturally regain equilibrium and wholeness after menopause. And when you feel Healthy, Amorous, Sensual, and Contented, of course you’ll feel more Cheerful, Lively and Happy as well!