Menopause in simple terms means the cessation of menstruation and that you cannot get pregnant. You might have heard a lot many negative things about it but frankly, it is over hyped. There are some painful symptoms but once you are over this phase, your life suddenly becomes much easier and you can do all you could not. No tampons/ pads, no cramps, sex without the fear of getting pregnant and much more. Sounds fairytale like, I know, but it’s true if you know the right approach. But unfortunately everything related to women has been usually cast of as godly or devilish. Earlier, PMS was considered as hysteria or a disease linked with women, which was treated in a highly unusual (today) manner which we will discuss some other time. Similarly, Menopause, though a natural process, is termed by many as an illness which can be treated. Well there are always a few douche-bags in the society and instead of listening to them lets just ignore them and do our work. Many women do not even know what menopause is and are unaware of its symptoms and worry over not being in control of their own body.
If you are a woman in your late 40s or early 50s then you might experience a few different sensations in your body which might be the symptoms of menopause. This article aims at educating you all about the symptoms of menopause, ways to lessen the intensity of the side effects/ symptoms and how to enjoy a healthy life.
- Menstrual Irregularities
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness and urinary problems
- Mood Swings and depression
- Weight gain
Other Symptoms: Achy joints, disturbed sleep pattern, backache, headache, palpitation, changes in sexual desire.
Though menopause occurs during your late 40s or early 50s some women might experience it much earlier in their lives. The major factors which contribute to early menopause are:
- If you are a regular smoker
- If you have a family history of early menopause
- If you have never had a child
- If you have had hysterectomy
- If you have had chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer
- Early failure of ovaries
There are some long term and short term strategies to control these symptoms, specially a proper diet and exercise.
So, when you first see a few of these symptoms, go to your physician for a blood test called the FSH test. Higher the FSH level, more are the chances of you being menopausal. Menopause symptoms start one year in advance and once you have not had a period for a year you are considered post-menopausal.
Unlike natural menopause, artificial menopause can be achieved if your ovaries are removed surgically or had chemo/radio therapy that damaged your ovaries, and then you obviously do not need the FSH test. In such cases menopause can be much more painful and distressing since you do not have the time to prepare for it in advance.
Strategies to start with to decrease the intensity of the side effects:
- Scientifically speaking, menopause occurs when your body stops producing estrogen and progesterone and hence you should start taking “Phytoestrogens” or “plant-estrogens”, so that when menopause comes the fall in estrogen levels is not so sudden, as they moderate the estrogen levels in your body.
Phytoestrogens or plant estrogens in our diets are:
a) Cereals: brown rice, oats, couscous and barley rye
b) Seeds: sunflower, sesame, linseeds, poppy and pumpkin
c) Pulses: soya beans and all soya products
d) Beans: kidney beans, broad bens, green split peas and chick peas.
e) Vegetables: greens beans, celery, sage, garlic, tomatoes, sprouts, celery.
(Soya, Linseed and red clover are the most helpful to reduce the symptoms or side effects of menopause.)
- Take Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 supplements such as krill oil are much more beneficial than fish oil. It helps reduce hot flashes and depression.
- Polyphenols are known to lower the risk of heart diseases and breast cancer and are found in green tea. Green tea also helps maintain bone density because after menopause women are more prone to osteoporosis.
- You must avoid refined carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
- Along with everything above just try these four things and your life will be perfect:
(i) Black Cohosh: It regulates body temperature and hot flashes.
(ii) Locally grown organic foods are cheap and highly beneficial.
(iii) Regular Exercise is a must. Exercise at least thrice a week to stay fit.
(iv) Vitamin D rich food can take you a long way.
After all the gloomy stuff above let’s see why women should look forward to menopause:
- No more periods
- No more PMSing
- Sex without fear of getting pregnant
- No hormonal headaches/stomach aches/ cramps
- No fear of uterine tumors
- Greater self assurance
- Focus on career
- Focus on body
Menopause is nothing to be afraid of once you know how to handle it. Try making small changes in your diet and lifestyle much before your pre-menopausal stage so as to avoid any harsh symptoms because prevention is always better than cure. Beside this, support from friends and family can help a woman over come all these problems with much ease. In fact, once the frightening/ painful stage is over many successful women claim to be able to think about themselves and their career.