What is menopause?

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Published May 09, 2023

What exactly is menopause?

Menopause marks the end of a woman's reproductive life. It is marked by the permanent cessation of menses and is diagnosed after a period of 12 months with no menstrual periods. Menopause can occur in your 40s or 50s, although the average age is 51 worldwide and 46 for Indian women.

Menopause can be a challenging time for the majority of women. Aside from the physical signs and changes, women often feel a sense of loss. Women often describe it as a loss of familiarity, loss of fertility, loss of libido, loss of control, and loss of youth. Menopause is a significant transition into a new phase of life and this phase can be just as beautiful as one's youth if managed with care and compassion.

What are the signs and symptoms of menopause?

Every woman's menopausal experience is different. Aside from menstrual changes, the symptoms of perimenopause, menopause and post menopause are similar. The following are the most common early signs of perimenopause:

  • hot flashes, night sweats
  • insomnia
  • vaginal dryness
  • weight gain
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • difficulty concentrating
  • memory problems
  • reduced libido, or sex drive
  • dry skin, mouth, and eyes
  • urinary incontinence
  • headaches
  • racing heart
  • frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • reduced muscle mass
  • painful or stiff joints
  • reduced bone mass
  • hair thinning or loss

So how can women navigate menopause?

How can women transition into Menopause and cope with the unpredictable changes that develop in their bodies? How do women continue to feel good about themselves?  Managing your fitness and health around your Menopause goes a long way in achieving this.

Postmenopausal women are more prone to medical issues such as heart disease and osteoporosis. To overcome this, it is advised that all women (regardless of age) keep up with basic health standards such as:

  • Healthy eating habits -Ensure that you get adequate calcium and vitamin D to maintain your healthy bones. Bone density decreases as we age, making us more prone to fractures. Eat and drink 2-4 cups of dairy and calcium-rich meals per day Include bone-in fish, broccoli, and legumes. Eat 3 iron-rich meals every day. Poultry, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, and almonds are all great picks for Menopause wellness. Consume enough fiber. Eat whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, and rice. Every day, eat at least 1 1/2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of veggies.
  • Quit smoking and minimize drinking alcohol
  • Stay active by exercising (i.e., walking, aerobics, yoga)

Choosing whether and how to treat menopausal symptoms can be difficult and personal. Consult your doctor about your symptoms, family and medical history, and preferences. It might be healthy to set an annual appointment with your doctor to review a treatment plan (if any) to make any improvements you wish to make.