Coping With Menopause

Coping With Menopause | Symptoms And Tips

(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

Are you a woman searching for ways to cope with menopause problems? You are not alone. Many women are struggling with physical and emotional pain at this stage. They are not understanding the real problem, or shy to consult a doctor for checkups and expert advice. This article shares all the aspects relating to menopause, from what it is, menopause symptoms, tips to cope with menopause and more.

Menopause is a sensitive and embarrassing topic. Some women are open about it and tell everyone and some don’t want anyone in their private health matters. Awareness of difficulties is certainly better than complete ignorance of why someone may be acting a certain way. Health awareness especially menopausal symptoms before, during and after is essential for those who are in their early stages and struggles.

What Is Menopause?

Menopause is the time that marks the end of the menstrual cycle of a woman. It’s diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s. Menopause is a natural biological process. But the physical symptoms and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy, or affect your emotional health. It can also affect family life. Awareness of these changes is very important for us to go through them comfortably. Continue reading to know about menopause and what women go through when they actually go through menopause.

How To Heal Your Emotional Pain?

Coping With Menopause

As we all know women have menstrual cycles starting from the age of puberty to a certain age. So when these menstrual cycles come to an end and stop completely it is called menopause. So stopping off periods for one complete year only then we label the woman as menopausal. There are many other terms which are very commonly used called premenopause, perimenopause, and postmenopause. So let’s understand each of these terms one after the other.

Perimenopause

Transitional Period Before Menopause

Perimenopause is the time which includes premenopause, menopause and up to one or two years postmenopause also.

Premenopause

Refers to the time during which a woman’s body makes the natural transition to menopause

Premenopause is the stage where the ovaries start functioning less effectively. So from the beginning of premenopause to menopause, it may just take about a few months. Sometimes it goes up to a few years as well. Four to five years is the usual time frame that we observe. So this is the time frame where women go through a lot of other symptoms or hassles I would call and they affect the quality of life.

Premature Menopause

Menopause occurring before the age of 40

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Premature menopause is when a woman goes through menopause before she turns 40. That’s too early for the periods to stop and the woman can have a lot of other medical issues. So any woman who does not have periods for a year before she turns 40 has to report to the endocrinologist or gynaecologist immediately and take a lot of precautions to safeguard her health.

Usual Age Of Menopause In India

43 to 53 years. Average age 48 years.

The usual age of menopause in India starts from about 43 years and a maximum of 52 to 53 years, on average, 47/48 is considered as normal for menopause to occur. So the hormonal changes usually begin after 42 43 and extend for about four 4-5 years and we see the stoppage of the periods.

Symptoms Of Menopause

  • Hot flashes/night sweats
  • Sudden occurrence of increased sweating
  • Sudden chills
  • Dehydration
  • Dry skin
  • Wrinkling skin
  • Hair thinning
  • Hair fall
  • Private part itching
  • Dryness
  • Burning sensation
  • Bone density decreases

What are the symptoms or issues that women go through?

The first and foremost is called hot flashes or night sweats. This is the sudden occurrence of increased sweating or suddenly feeling very cold. It would be a very comfortable temperature in the room, rest everyone is fine, but the woman suddenly starts sweating. These are called hot flashes. They are because of the reduced amount of hormones in the body and disturbed temperature regulation in the body. So the woman would suddenly feel embarrassed. She would want to turn on the ac or the fan and she would get dehydrated very soon.

How to avoid these hot flashes?

  • Hydration in advance
  • Taking a balanced diet
  • Regular exercises

Usually hydrating yourself well in advance. Taking a balanced diet so that these hormonal changes are not so drastic and regular exercise helps us cope with these hot flashes.

How To delay skin problems

  • Apply moisturizer
  • Hydration
  • Vitamin intake

The second set of symptoms relates to the less oestrogen in the body. Estrogen supports hair, skin, the vaginal secretion. So all these start getting affected. So dryness of the skin and wrinkling of the skin starts at this age. Applying a good moisturizer, hydrating yourself, and taking a lot of vitamins will help you delay all these changes.

How to safeguard your hair?

  • Balanced diet
  • Use proper haircare products

You would also notice that the hair becomes lustrous, very thin brittle and hair fall increases. Again a balanced diet and proper haircare products help us safeguard our hair.

The solution to private part problems

  • Balanced diet
  • Regular exercises
  • Hydration
  • If required, use liquid-based lubricants

Finally, we also see that women complain a lot about itching in their private parts, dryness, dryness to the extent that they end up having a lot of burning sensation in the private parts and which may also affect their sexual activity. So again balanced diet, regular exercise, hydration and if needed using some liquid-based lubricants would help them go through it.

And whenever any of these symptoms are very severe women will be put on certain hormones or hormonal support therapy to avoid all these symptoms. But they have to be done after a proper evaluation of the medical conditions that the woman has.

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Bone Density Decreases

The bone density of women starts coming down after the age of 40 and after menopause, it drops drastically. So if your bones are not dense enough they tend to break easily. This is called osteoporosis. That’s why bone health has to be taken care of in this age group. The bone requires calcium. So adequate calcium through diet or through supplements bone. Healthy bone requires vitamin D. Of late we see a lot of vitamin D deficiency. So getting it checked from time to time and taking the appropriate supplements is important.

Very importantly the bones stay strong when we put them to use. So exercise. It should be a combination of your cardio to increase your cardiac capacity and also flexibility and strength training. Everything has to be balanced out in your workout. This is how we can avoid osteoporosis and those who have a family history where their parents or aunts had easy fractures postmenopause, are the ones who need to consult us and need to take the appropriate medication to avoid osteoporosis.

The solution to bone density decreases

  • Intake of Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Exercise: Cardio flexibility & strength training
  • individuals with a family history of fractures postmenopause should consult a Doctor immediately

Health Hazards Of Menopause

Women are prone to

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  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • High BP
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

The other health hazard which can happen is estrogen safeguards women from high cholesterols and heart attacks. So the moment the estrogen in the body starts coming down women is more prone to high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure which in turn increase the risk of heart attacks, and stroke. We never hear of women having heart attacks before 40 years but once they touch 50 the risk of a woman having a heart attack is almost the same as men. This is because the support from the estrogen is suddenly gone from the body.

Solution

  • Balanced diet
  • Reduce carbs and fat content
  • Include protein, vitamins and fibre
  • Exercise regularly

So eating the right kind of food the metabolism changes after we turn 40. So for the same amount of food that you are taking in your 30s you may be gaining a lot of weight at this stage. So modifying the diet in such a way that the carbs are less, the fat content is less, but including a lot of vitamins, and proteins in the diet along with a lot of fibre and exercise. This is the only way.

Coping With Menopause – Things To Do

  • Inform your family
  • Explain it is age-related hormonal change
  • Seek support from your family

What do we expect from women when they go through menopause? The first thing is talking to your family. Tell them that you’re going through it. Awareness among the family members that these are all age-related hormonal changes.

What You’ll Go Through During Menopause?

  • Emotional changes
  • Anxiousness
  • Faster heartbeat (Palpitation)
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Depression

The woman goes through a lot of emotional changes as well. We see them getting very anxious, they may start having faster heartbeats called palpitations, there could be extreme mood swings, and there are women who go into depression as well. This may affect both their family and professional life. So talking to your family about all these things will help them understand what you’re going through and they would support you for the same instead of blaming you for your behaviour. They will be there to stand by you and support you saying that “okay we are with you.”

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And whenever all these symptoms go beyond normal control like you are not able to manage with simple precautions, it is better to reach out to the doctor. A gynaecologist will assess your health condition. What do we do when women come with us? First, we try to assess the medical history and any risk factors which are already there. Then we do a set of blood tests so to assess your diabetes status, your cholesterol, and your calcium levels. Specifically, in health checks women of this age group have to go through an ultrasound to make sure that the uterus is fine, the ovaries are good, there are no growths in the uterus, and a pap smear. A Pap smear is a screening test for cancer of the cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus. So pap smear is to be done once in three to five years and then a bone mineral density test which tenses if you have already entered into the osteoporosis stage or not.

So frequent health checks, assessing your risk factors, correcting them and then following it up with regular tests. Menstrual abnormalities in the perimenopausal and menopausal age groups are very very common. Some women are lucky enough that their periods just suddenly disappear without causing any problems at all. Usually, we see that the periods get delayed, they get lighter and eventually, the interval between periods increases and then they go into menopause. But not everyone is so lucky.

There may be some women for whom the periods come too often, very heavy and so much so that their day-to-day work is affected, their haemoglobin drops and the fatigue sets in. You are expected to consult a gynaecologist. We’ll get the blood test done. We’ll get the ultrasound done and it’s very important to rule out any pre-cancerous, cancerous conditions. So depending on the ultrasound, we may suggest an endometrial biopsy. If everything is fine we put you on hormones and help you cope with this situation.

Summary

  • Awareness of menopausal symptoms
  • Educating the family
  • Lifestyle

So to sum it up awareness of menopausal symptoms is important. Educating the family about all these is important so that they become your support system and then your lifestyle. That is the key to dealing with menopause. So once you turn 40 it is time to correct your lifestyle, modify your diet and then begin to exercise regularly. So hope this information helps you.

World Menopause Day – 18th October

World Menopause Day is held every year on 18 October. The day was designated by the International Menopause Society (IMS) to raise awareness of menopause, break the stigma and highlight the support options available for improving health and well-being.

Today is World Menopause Day. Menopause is a natural stage of a woman’s life, marking the end of their reproductive years and the end of monthly menstruation (periods).⁣ Menopause can be a tough time but the right support can help women understand and manage physical and emotional changes.⁣ Reach out to a healthcare provider if needed to help you take charge before, during and after menopause.

Menopause Symptoms WHO
WHO Menopause Symptoms

There are other symptoms of perimenopause that are often not addressed. These include changes in taste and smell, nausea, hypersomnia, and itchy skin. 

Conclusion

Hope you found the above information very useful in coping with menopause. The article is based on the talk of an expert doctor. Don’t feel shy to talk to your family members. When they understand the real reasons for your emotional changes, they will support you.

Thank you for your visit.

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References & Credits: Dr Sandhya Rani (Sr. Consultant – Obstetrics & Gynaecology), Aster Women And Children Hospitals, Whitefield, Bengaluru. You can watch the video here.

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