Coping with Menopause

You can hardly turn your head without reading some article or seeing some TV programme talking about the pains of puberty, but you mention the word menopause and everyone goes quiet. Menopause is a natural change and it would serve and any female to know about it whether she is a long way a way, experiencing it or dealing with a mother who is going through it.

Menopause occurs when a woman’s oestrogen levels are reduced to the extent that her ovaries do not release eggs any more and she stops getting her period. This usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 but some women can experience it early. The early sign that you are going through ‘the change’ is that you periods become irregular for a start. Some women are lucky enough to go through it without any symptoms while others suffer from an array of them such as hot flushes, sweating, vaginal infections, change in sexual behaviour (either in desire or actual orgasmic response), and/or memory loss. So if you’re running around the house because you can’t remember where you left your keys or your glasses you may not be losing your mind after all.

Unfortunately once you’ve gone through menopause you are at a higher risk of certain conditions and this risk is compounded by the woman’s age. Women become at higher risk for osteoporosis (a thinning of the bones which can cause breakage), Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. This may all make it seem like something to dread and about 50% of women who go through menopause report feelings of depression. Many women associate menopause with old age and they get a feeling that is often stirred and reinforced by society that they have passed their prime and that they are reaching the end of their life. It is interesting then to note that on average women live one third of their lives after menopause. Some women embrace this change and they become enthusiastic about living their life period-and-PMS-free. Other women try to prolong their cycles in order to avoid the risks we mentioned by taking HRT or hormone replacement treatment. They are taken in a similar manner to contraceptive pills and replace the body’s natural oestrogen however these too have their own risks.

There are alternative methods which can help ease this change such as exercise (isn’t it always the answer to anything) or a high fruit and vegetables, low in saturated fat (I’ve heard this before too) and rich in Soya products diet. Soya contains phytoestrogen which are plant chemicals similar to the body’s natural oestrogen. There are also different methods of alternative therapy such as acupuncture and homeopathy that works for some women and if you are inclined to be natural then you should consult a specialist. This is a trying time for women but it’s not easy for their families either. If you think that this is something you will go through alone then you are wrong because when you bite your son’s head off for dropping a cushion he’s going to wonder what’s going on. It’s important to speak to the people around you, to understand and explain to them what you’re going through and how they can help you. The last thing you need is for the people around you to try and help you and drive you crazy. Whatever choice you make, make sure it’s informed so study your options carefully and see what works best for you.

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

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