What Menopause Brings to Women
Menopause is a process women go through when their monthly periods end and their bodies stop producing ovarian eggs and decrease the production of female hormones. This usually happens between the ages of 47 and 55 and it is a long term process that usually happens over five to six years. At the end of menopause, women can no longer get pregnant.
Menopause is a natural process but it brings with it many uncomfortable symptoms and can be very challenging if we don’t know what to expect and prepare to deal with it the best way we can. The changes will not only be physical, but emotional and mental as well, so we need to be well equipped with various tools in order to make this transition to the next stage of our life smooth. Here is what you can expect.
1. Hot flashes – This is the most common symptom of menopause and it manifests as a feeling of warmth that rushes throughout your upper body. It is often accompanied by blushing and sweating and there is not much you can do about it except let it pass.
2. Irregular periods – Some women start experiencing irregular periods in their early forties and others when they are around 50 so it all depends on the genetic makeup. In the beginning the periods fluctuate and become irregular and slowly they completely stop.
3. Increase in PMS symptoms and menstrual aches – As the hormonal levels fluctuate wildly during menopause, PMS symptoms tend to get worse along with other menstrual pains. You should simply accept this and nourish your body through it, take supplements, teas and herbal remedies that alleviate the symptoms and take it easy. Warning everyone in the vicinity might be helpful too.
4. Irritability, mood swings, anxiety and depression – These are probably the hardest symptoms since they are long term and we need to make daily conscious effort to improve our situation. This involves learning new skills like stress management, emotional release technique, cognitive management, autogenic training and so on. We need to have some relaxation techniques under our belt and yoga, meditation and visualization are all perfect options for fighting menopausal depression.
5. Increased risk of bone loss and fractures – Most women experience bone loss during and after menopause so taking steps towards bone health before menopause will prepare you well. You should increase the intake of calcium and magnesium to avoid very common osteoporosis in women. This can be done by increasing the intake of bone healthy foods like dairy, greens and fruits, fish and nuts. Taking supplements might also be necessary.
6. Increased risk of heart disease – There might be symptoms like a racing heart or irregular heartbeats. Prevention plays a very important role in heart health, so dropping all destructive and unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking alcohol and eating fatty foods is advisable. Starting a regular exercise regime is also a good idea. It doesn’t have to be intense exercise: brisk walks, jogging, yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, swimming and dancing are all good options. You just need to keep the heart muscles working well.
We can expect changes in all areas of our life during menopause, including our appetite, our libido, our moods, our sleep patterns and finally our interests and goals. We can’t avoid it but we can ride this wave with confidence and self-care.