What Is Menopause?
It is a time in the life of a woman when menstrual periods do not occur for 12 months. This happens when the ovaries in the female body stop working. Menopause is a gradual process, and it does not happen overnight. This transition period is called Perimenopause. In this, the oestrogen level in a woman starts to drop. Every woman experiences it differently. For menopause, the average age of a woman is 51 years. In some females, the age can vary from the early 30s to late 60s. It cannot be determined when a woman is going to experience menopause as there is no lab test which is 100% reliable. Starting age of menstrual cycle is not anyway related to the menopause age. Menopause indicates the end of fertility in the females.
What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause?
The symptoms faced by a woman during menopause are as follows:
- Irregularity in periods: Irregularity in periods is one of the most usual and foremost symptoms of the menopause. In this, some females experience the delay in periods for months and in others, periods may come after every 2-3 weeks.
- Vaginal dryness: Vaginal dryness often occurs while perimenopause. It is generally followed by discomfort and itching. In some females, pain is felt during sex, this condition is called Dyspareunia. Also, some women face inflammation in the vagina which is termed as Vaginal Atrophy. Inflammation occurs due the shrinking and thinning of vaginal tissues and decreased vaginal lubrication due to a drop-in oestrogen level.
- A decrease in fertility: Oestrogen level in the female body drops drastically during the perimenopause which lowers the chance of pregnancy in the females.
- Hot flashes: The upper body may experience sudden heat that spreads downwards or upwards. The skin becomes patchy and red and the female starts sweating. The heart rate may increase suddenly or become irregular than normal palpitations. Hot flashes generally occur in the first year of menopause.
- Night sweats: Sometimes female sweats in bed while sleeping and it lasts for just a few minutes.
- Insomnia: Women suffer from insomnia while going through menopause. It gets difficult for them to stay asleep and fall asleep.
- Urinary issues: Women going through menopause suffer from frequent urination and urinary tract infections like cystitis.
- Mood swings: Mood swing is caused while a woman is going through a menopause.
- Other few symptoms related to menopause are:
- Hair thinning or hair loss.
- Reduction in breast size.
- An Increase in the fat deposit on the abdomen.
What Are The Causes Of Menopause?
Causes of menopause can be as follows:
- Declination of reproductive hormones: Less progesterone and oestrogen hormones are formed by ovaries as a female reaches her late 30s. These are the hormones that control the menstruation - hence, results in decreased fertility.The menstrual cycle becomes shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, less or more frequent when a woman enters her 40s.
- Hysterectomy: It is a surgery in which both the ovaries and uterus are removed and menopause is caused immediately. A woman who has gone through this surgery is most likely to have symptoms like hot flashes and other menopause symptoms which occurs suddenly and not over the period of time.
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These are the therapies given to cancer patients. These therapies can cause menopause, inducing symptoms like hot flashes. ceasing of the menstrual cycle is not permanent always. A patient who has gone through these therapies may face menopause just after the therapy.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency. Sometimes ovaries might fail in producing the normal level of reproductive hormones then it is referred to as ovarian insufficiency.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Menopause?
Certain do's one should keep in mind during the menopause phase:
- Keep oneself Hydrated: Human body is made 70% of water hence hydration is necessary to maintain the level of water in the body. In the case of menopause, hydration becomes even more necessary as it can worsen the symptoms of menopause like mood swings.
- Use vaginal lubricants: Vaginal dryness is caused by menopause which can cause a lot of frustration and it can also create disturbance in your sexual relationship.
- Include 15 min of deep breathing in your daily routine: Stress is the reason of all kind of problem and it can worsen hormonal issues in menopause. Including deep breathing can control Stress hormone called Cortisol which has a very close connection with a lot of sex hormones.
- Keep oneself calm and relaxed: Anxiety can worsen the symptoms of hot flashes that make the menopause period even more uncomfortable.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Menopause?
Few don'ts to follow during menopause:
- Do not use electronic devices before sleeping: Using electronic devices like cell phone, laptop and television can cause the reduction in the formation of melatonin which is a sleep-inducing hormone, ultimately resulting in insomnia which can create disturbance in sex hormones. This makes the menopause period even more difficult.
- Do not do crash dieting: During menopause sex hormones undergo a change which can further cause an alteration in thyroid hormones. Crash dieting can even alter the functioning of sex hormones. This slower metabolism can be further worsened by a crash diet which makes losing weight even harder.
- Do not smoke: Smoking can cause menopause comparatively earlier and can worsen the symptoms.
What Are The Best Foods For Menopause?
Few foods to include in one's diet to make the menopause phase bearable:
- Soy: Soy helps in fighting one of the menopause symptoms that is hot flashes, as it is a plant Oestrogens. For better results, one can consume up to 2 cups of soy milk or can consume one cup of Edamame.
- Vitamin and calcium rich foods: During 5-10 years after the menopause woman tends to lose 10% or more percent of the bone density. This percentage can be reduced by including calcium and Vitamin D in one’s daily diet.
- Dietary fibres: During menopause body's metabolism system tends to get slower and digestive system gets weakened. To increase the metabolism rate, women need to include high fibre foods in their diet. Foods that are rich in fibre are cereals, vegetables, whole-grain bread, brown rice, pasta and vegetables.
- Essential fatty acids: A study on woman post their menopause suggested that supplementation of fish oil (a primary source of fatty acids) decreases the risk of heart disease in almost 27% women. Plus, EFAs help in reduction of depression in women in their menopause phase.
- Black cohosh: Traditional supplements can manage menopause symptoms effectively. One of the traditional herbs which are very effective in managing the symptoms of menopause is black cohosh. This traditional supplement can reduce the palpitations and night sweat considerably.
What Are The Worst Foods For Menopause?
Few foods to avoid completely during the menopause phase are as follows:
- Alcohol: Consuming alcohol regularly and in heavy amount can worsen the symptoms of menopause such as mood swings.
- Caffeine: Caffeine containing beverages can affect negatively on sex hormones and can aggravate menopause symptoms like insomnia and mood swing. One can always replace caffeinated beverages with herbal drinks.
- Spicy food: Spicy food has an adverse effect on the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes.
- Meat: It is important to keep the body weight regulated while menopause. consumption of meat can end up in the increase in body fat ultimately increasing the body weight.
- Refined carbohydrates: Refined carbohydrates consumption can lead to the symptoms of menopause like fatigue and mood swings.
- Sugar containing food: One should not increase the sugar intake as it can lead to increased weight. Body weight regulation is important while facing the menopause period.
What Are The Medicines For Menopause?
What Are The Tips To Manage Menopause?
Plan a good workout regime and follow it religiously. Exercises should not be really exhausting and tedious. One should include more of breathing exercises in the routine. Women should try staying active but should not exhaust themselves by performing extreme activities.