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Perimenopause and Menopause
‘The trick is to age honestly and gracefully and make it look great so that everyone looks forward to it’
– Emma Thompson
Menopause is cessation of menses and loss of female hormones from the body and its effects on each and every organ. A woman is said to have attained menopause if she has stopped getting her menses for one year or more.
Common age for menopause in Indian women is late 40’s to early 50’s, average age being 48 years.
It is preceded by Perimenopause which can start many years before cessation of menses and last after menopause too.
In this transition period , menses become irregular , delayed , heavy or scanty flow and sometimes painful along with some endocrinal changes causing hot flushes.
Oestrogen and progesterone are the main female hormones which affect not only our uterine lining and ovaries , but also our breast, body fat ,our mood , blood sugar , libido, skin , bones , arteries and heart.
Hormonal balance during reproductive period is affected by your diet, especially vitamins and minerals, stress levels and your lifestyle and exercise.
Other important hormones which maintain wellbeing are testosterone, thyroid hormone, cortisol and insulin. Menopause is disappearance of female hormones from our body.
Common symptoms of menopause are as follows. Every woman experiences few of these symptoms or all.
1. Hot flushes
2. Dry Skin
3. Vaginal dryness and painful sex
4. Urinary symptoms like increased frequency and repeated infections
5. Reduced sex drive
6. Joint and muscle pain
7. Palpitations and racing heart
8. Sleep issues like inability to sleep easily
9. Anxiety and irritability
11. Lack of concentration and forgetfulness.
Bone Health is a serious cause of concern in women after menopause because of loss of oestrogen.
Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass and reduced bone density. Women lose up to 3% of bone mass every year after menopause which can cause fractures easily. It is also influenced by Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D.
Lifestyle modification and treatment to deal with Menopause:
1. Include lots of vegetables and salads, whole grains, seeds and pulses in your diet.
2. Phytoestrogen-rich food (natural oestrogen present in plants) should be consumed like soya, flax seeds, tofu, kale etc.
3. Avoid excess tea, coffee, sugar, processed foods, alcohol
4. Natural compounds like evening primrose oil, and black cohosh extracts help.
5. Exercise daily with special attention to weight training to reduce osteoporosis
6. Medical treatments like COCs ( hormonal pills), and drugs used to reduce and prevent osteoporosis help.
7. Regular health check-ups, cancer screenings
8. Keep yourself busy and special attention to mental well-being.
Menopause is not a disease but it definitely needs special attention to diet and exercises to bear it easily.
Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Dr. Yogini Patil
MBBS, DGO, CPS
Consultant – Obstetrics & Gynaecology