Essential Facts To Know About Postmenopausal  – If you feel you are struggling, seek advice and support.

Menopause is the time when your body deserves your utmost attention and care. Here are some tips for a healthy menopause.

Menopause is a natural stage in life and part of a woman’s ageing process. It marks the time when the periods stop as the ovaries stop producing eggs and the hormones. Usually this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 but sometimes women may stop getting their periods at a younger age, this is known as premature menopause.

Post menopause is the time following the last period and is usually defined as more than 12 months with no periods in someone who has intact ovaries or immediately following the surgery if the ovaries have been removed. The symptoms of menopause can have a big impact on the daily life, including relationships, social life, family life and work. As each woman is different, the symptoms that an individual has, also vary in degree and intensity.

Symptoms usually start months or years before the periods stop and this is known as perimenopause.

Common symptoms of menopause and perimenopause

  • Irregular and heavy periods and eventually no periods altogether
  • Mood changes like low mood, anxiety, mood swings and low self-esteem
  • Problems with memory and concentration (Brain fog)
  • Multiple physical symptoms: Hot flushes, sudden feelings of hot or cold in your face, neck and chest, difficulty sleeping, palpitations, headaches and migraines, muscle aches and joint pains, changed body shape and weight gain, dry and itchy skin, reduced sex drive, vaginal dryness and pain, itching or discomfort during sex, recurrent urinary tract infections.

Here are a few things you can do – Postmenopausal Health

1.Lifestyle changes: Eating well, exercising and looking after your mental well-being can help with the symptoms. Some of the top tips for a healthy menopause are as below:

  • Regular sleep routines.
  • Eat a healthy diet, at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Have a calcium-rich food like milk, yoghurt.
  • Exercise regularly, try including weight bearing activities like walking, running and dancing and aim for 30-45 minutes a day.
  • Do activities like yoga and
  • Talk to other people going through the same thing, like family, friends and colleagues.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking herbal supplements or complementary medicines.

2. How to ease hot flushes and night sweats: You can wear light clothing, keep your bedroom cool at night, take a cool shower, avoid or reduce potential triggers, such as spicy food, caffeine, hot drinks, smoking and alcohol, and lose weight if you are overweight.

3. How to ease vaginal dryness: Vaginal moisturisers and water-based lubricants can help relieve the symptoms. There are other treatments that a doctor can prescribe such as Hormone Replacement Therapy or Hormonal treatment such as creams, pessaries, and gels.

4. Protection against weak bones: A healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and sources of calcium such as milk and yoghurt and regular exercises not only protects the bones but also reduces mood disorders. Taking Vitamin D supplements and cutting down on alcohol intake also protects the bone health.

5. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Women wishing to start HRT for the symptoms should carefully discuss the benefits and risks of treatment with their doctor to see what is right for them, taking into account their age, medical history, risk factors and personal preferences. The lowest effective dose should be taken with duration of use depending on the clinical reason of use. Women on HRT should be reassessed by the doctor annually.

Women experience menopause in widely varying ways. Some breeze through a problem-free menopause but most experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe. If you feel you are struggling, advice and support is available. The important thing is to be aware of changes and consult your doctor for advice.

Above all, bear in mind that your health is your responsibility and this is the time when your body deserves your utmost attention and care.

The article is contributed by Dr. Nivedita Jha, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology, SPARSH Hospital for Women & Children.

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