While womanhood is glorious, it comes with its own challenges. A woman’s body goes through several changes throughout her life. One of the pivotal natural biological processes that mark the end of a woman’s reproductive years is menopause.
Occurring between the ages of 45 and 55, menopause is defined as the cessation of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months. As women age, their ovarian follicles or eggs get exhausted, leading to the decline of reproductive hormones, primarily estrogen and progesterone which in turn causes menopause.
“During menopause, women experience a range of physical, emotional, and psychological challenges,” Dr Ameya Kulkarni Kanakiya, co-founder and head of health outcomes and programs, Elda Health told indianexpress.com.
These challenges, such as hot flashes and night sweats affect sleep negatively, while vaginal dryness and decreased libido impact the sexual health of women, said Dr Kanakiya.
Similarly, decreased bone density during menopause can lead to joint pain and osteoporosis, and mood swings may permeate as anxiety and depression. The menopausal phase also leads to weight gain and metabolic changes apart from certain cognitive issues.
Dr Kanakiya pointed out that the transition itself can prompt feelings of ageing and identify shifts. “At the same time, workplace discrimination related to menopause is a significant concern, thereby making support and education crucial to help women manage these challenges effectively and maintain a good quality of life,” she said.
To navigate this turbulent period in a woman’s life, we turned to Dr Kanakiya to share some useful tips for managing menopause and the various challenges it presents.
First and foremost, supporting women through menopause requires a multifaceted approach. “It must begin with education and empowering them with knowledge about the biological changes occurring in their bodies. This education should not just be limited to the women themselves but should be provided to the family members as well,” Dr Kanakiya said.
On the other hand, encouraging regular medical check-ups and consultations with healthcare professionals who specialise in menopause, is essential to ensure that women get personalised guidance and are aware of various treatment options.
Dr Kanakiya added: “It is also important to promote healthy lifestyle choices encompassing balanced nutrition, regular exercise and adequate sleep to manage symptoms.”
Finally, there is a need to offer women emotional support through open conversations and provide information about available therapies. “Mindfulness practices and stress reduction techniques can be of great help,” said Dr Kanakiya.
Here are some handy guidelines for women to manage menopause with ease:
*Healthy diet: Focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Certain foods like soy products and flaxseeds, may help alleviate symptoms. Identify and avoid triggers like caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods that can exacerbate hot flashes and night sweats.
*Regular exercise: Engage in regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight, boost mood, and improve bone density. Strength training is specifically important to maintain good bone and muscle health and improve metabolism. Activities like walking, swimming, and yoga can be beneficial.
*Stress management: Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness to reduce stress and anxiety. Establish a consistent sleep routine to combat insomnia and enhance overall energy levels. Stay connected with friends and family to maintain emotional well-being and share experiences.
*Clothing choices: Wear lightweight, breathable fabrics, and dress in layers to manage temperature fluctuations.
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*Regular check-ups: Schedule regular health check-ups to monitor bone density, heart health, and overall well-being.
Concluding, Dr Kanakiya said, “If symptoms are severely impacting your life, consult a healthcare professional for personalised guidance and treatment options.”
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First published on: 04-09-2023 at 09:10 IST
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