Menopause is a stage in aging which denotes the end of menstrual periods. It signifies the end of women’s child-bearing years. At this stage, the ovaries stop the usual monthly eggs production; and this marks the end of ovarian reproductive function. It’s important to note that menopause can only be confirmed with certainty after one year. That is, a woman cannot be said to have reached menopause until a full year has passed without her experiencing a menstrual period.
Although on the average, it is believed that women reach menopause at age 51 but the age range for reaching menopause varies widely. While some women experience menopause earlier, others experience it later. And to be precise, most women reach menopause in their late 40’s to early 50’s. For those who reach menopause before 40, theirs is called premature menopause, caused by different pathologies such as surgery of ovaries and uterus, primary ovarian failure, etc.
Menopause can cause many changes in women’s body because a lot of women experience various symptoms as a result of hormonal changes associated with the transition to menopause. This is why some people refer to this stage as “a Change of life.” These symptoms are the result of decreased production in the women’s ovaries. However, a women’s age has a great influence on how her body reacts to menopause symptoms.
According to studies, some of the symptoms of menopause are: vagina dryness and reduction in sex drive, hot flashes (a feeding of warmth that spreads over the body which lasts from 30 seconds to ten minutes and may be followed by shivering, sweating and reddening of the skin), mood swings, night sweat, insomnia or sleep disturbance, urinary inconsistency and burning on urination, changes in the shape of the breast (breast becoming smaller or losing volume), bone loss, change in the uterus, memory problem, ovaries and cervix thinning of the skin, increased abnormal fat and weight gain and so on.
Given these symptoms, how then do you deal with menopause?
- To start with, reduce or prevent hot flashes by discovering what triggers your hot flashes (for example, stress, hot and spicy food, caffeine, wearing tight clothing and hot places) and do away with them; remove layers of clothing when you notice hot flashes;
- Use air conditioning or fan and wear light clothes;
- Practise deep breathing;
- Keep your bedroom cool;
- Drink enough water if you’re sweating and exercise regularly.
- Also, use water-based vagina moisturizer to ease its dryness (avoid washing it with antibacterial soap to avoid irritation);
- To ease insomnia or sleep disturbance, take a bath and always get a good night sleep
- Increase your calcium intake to reduce some of these menopause symptoms like hot flashes and mood swing;
- Try stress management and eat right to ease memory problem; and lastly,
- See your doctor, should the symptoms persist, but never allow, menopause hinder your intimacy with your spouse.