Do you have irregular periods or do they vanish from a certain time? And you aren’t paying attention to it?
It’s time to be conscious about your menstrual health. Your body always shows some signs before it goes through any changes.
Let’s take a look at a quick guide on menopause and what you should know about it.
What is menopause?
A year without a menstrual cycle is referred to as menopause. It is the year when your reproductive period terminates.
When you hit the age of 40 or 50 your body fails to produce reproductive hormones, which results in menopause.
Menopause is a normal part of life for all women. At first, your menstrual cycle becomes irregular and then it stops.
It shows symptoms, such as irregular periods or absence of periods, vaginal dryness, emotional changes, hot flashes, and trouble sleeping.
Things you should know about menopause!
What are perimenopause and postmenopause?
Perimenopause: It is when your body begins to switch to menopause.
During this phase, your ovaries produce fewer hormones, which cause irregular menstrual cycles.
Perimenopause can last only a few months for some women. However, for many women, it lasts between four to eight years.
Easy tips to manage symptoms of perimenopause:
- Improve your sleep cycle
- Eat a complete diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fats
Postmenopause: It is a term used to define the time following menopause.
When your menstrual cycle has been missing for more than 12 months, you are in postmenopause. By the time you reach menopause, your ovaries produce very little estrogen and progesterone.
Easy tips to manage symptoms of postmenopause:
- Eat a phytoestrogen-rich diet (plant-based sources of estrogen)
- Do regular exercise and meditation
At what age will you hit menopause?
Menopause generally starts at the age of 45. The majority of women have irregular periods or stop getting periods at the age between 45 to 55.
In some women, ovarian function declines years before they reach menopause. While some women will continue to have periods into their 50s.
It is considered that the age of menopause is determined by genetics.
Factors such as smoking and intense therapies like chemotherapy can increase ovarian decline and lead to early menopause.
What does it feel like while having a hot flash?
A hot flash is a sudden sensation of heat, with a flushed, red face and sweating.
They are caused by changes in hormonal levels during menopause.
A hot flash causes a considerable increase in body temperature. You may feel chilled after the hot flash.
Hot flashes can happen once or multiple times a day. Sweats that occur while sleeping is known as night sweats.
Avoiding triggers may help you have fewer hot flashes. These includes:
- Spicy food
- Tight clothing
Easy tips to reduce hot flashes:
- During dry days use a fan at your home or office
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored garments made of natural fibers such as cotton
- Try to do deep breathing exercises while having a hot flash
How will menopause affect your bone health?
Menopause results in the decline of estrogen production, which affects the amount of calcium in your bones.
In the first five years after menopause, it is estimated that women lose up to 10% of their bone mass.
The excessive reduction in bone density can lead to a condition known as osteoporosis.
It can also increase your risk of spine, hips, and other bone fractures.
Easy tips to keep your bones healthy:
- Consume food rich in calcium like dairy products, soybeans, and green leafy vegetables
- You can take Vitamin D supplement (talk with a doctor before taking any supplements)
- Do regular exercise and add weight training into your routine
Will you gain weight while experiencing menopause?
You may gain weight as a result of hormonal changes. But hormones aren’t solely responsible for weight gain.
Weight increase is generally associated with age, as well as lifestyle and genetic causes.
Your muscle mass starts reducing with age, while fat increases. You’re likely to gain weight if you keep eating the same way you have and don’t improve your physical activity.
Menopause weight gain increases your risk of many health issues like heart disease, breathing problems, and type 2 diabetes.
Easy tips to maintain a healthy weight:
- Eat a healthy diet and cut down on food including sugar
- Do moderate to intense physical exercise
- Focus on living a healthy lifestyle.
What is the link between heart disease and menopause?
Everyone’s risk of heart disease increases as they get older, but symptoms for women can become more noticeable after menopause.
Cardiovascular problems are not caused by menopause but certain risk factors increase around that phase.
Cholesterol can build up on arterial walls, causing heart disease due to reduced estrogen levels. Which affects the flexibility of artery walls.
This results in symptoms like dizziness and palpitations.
Easy tips to manage your heart health:
- Take a healthy diet and sufficient sleep
- Reduce excessive intake of salts
- Manage stress and do aerobic exercise
Is hormone replacement treatment a safe alternative for menopausal symptoms?
Hormone therapy (HT) is a treatment that boosts hormone levels while also reducing some of the complications of menopause.
Perimenopausal symptoms are treated with a variety of hormone replacement therapy.
The results of HT vary from person to person, it may be harmful or beneficial. They may not be relevant for everyone.
Benefits of hormone therapy:
- Decreases risk of osteoporosis
- Improve mood and mental stability
- Moderate recovery in joint pain
- Lowers risk of diabetes and colon cancer
Risks of hormone therapy:
- It increases risks of endometrial cancer, breast cancer, blood clots, and strokes
- Increases chances of gallbladder problems
Note: The decision to take hormone therapy should be made with the advice of a healthcare professional.
Menopause is not a disease. It is the phase of life through which every woman passes.
It’s a time when the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body decline.
Following menopause, you may be more susceptible to conditions including osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Maintaining a balanced diet and doing lots of exercise will help you manage your symptoms.
If you have any unexpected symptoms that are interfering with your ability to function, you should contact your doctor.
Article Submitted by Pranjali Kohad, Health Content Writer