To women all over the western world, the word menopause evokes many different feelings. Most will be feelings of dread, fear and uncertainty. It is unlikely that you will come across women eagerly awaiting the arrival of this stage of life.
Menopause, technically and simply, is the name given to the date 12 months after a woman’s last period. Just one day. However, the journey to that one day can take many years and can be accompanied by many unpleasant and uncomfortable symptoms; hot flushes, depression, night sweats, vaginal dryness/atrophy, osteoporosis, incontinence and heart disease. With this billed as what awaits women is it any wonder that menopause is feared? The name given to this period of time is peri-menopause.
This is normally a natural transition that occurs somewhere between the ages of 40 and 60 years. This can be induced earlier should a woman undergo surgical removal of the ovaries, losing the ability to produce oestrogen and progesterone. In natural menopause, the ovaries continue to produce low levels of hormones. Surgical menopause is generally accompanied by more sudden and severe symptoms than natural menopause due to the sudden nature of its commencement.
HRT for menopause is quite controversial, even in the allopathic medical world, because of the serious health risks and undesirable "side effects" of taking oestrogen. Its long-term safety and efficacy remain a matter of great concern. Their own list of concerns includes:
The most common side effects:
There are other measures you can take yourself at home also:
Exercise: Adequate exercise is a must for menopausal and post-menopausal women, as it reduces the rate of loss of calcium. Women who exercise less generally develop more osteoporosis.
Latest research: Soya foods have been found to contain natural Phyto-oestrogens that are very helpful in menopausal and post-menopausal women. The potential health benefits are the reduction of hot flushes and vaginal dryness, protection against coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer.
Diet: The most effective medicine that exists is in the food that you eat. You should strive to eat a balance of good fats, complex carbohydrates and protein. Also, make sure to have plenty of fruits and vegetables at every meal, including breakfast. It’s best to eat three meals a day and two or more snacks in order to keep your blood sugar stable. The most important thing to remember is to reduce carbohydrates especially refined carbohydrates and sugars.
For many women, this period of change offers an opportunity to explore something new. As we move into a new phase with a life’s worth of accumulated knowledge & wisdom it is often the beginning of something new and exciting.
Experiment with different therapies, foods and exercises and see what combination works best for you.