MENOPAUSE: WHAT DO WE KNOW?

Women currently spend nearly one third of their lifetime in the menopause.

Menopause is a natural change marking the cessation of a woman’s reproductive capability and considered a normal part of aging when it happens after the age of 40.

The process of menopause does not occur suddenly, but is a regular change which could last between 2 to 5 years. This changeover period is a different experience for each woman.

Menopause can occasionally occur early in certain situations like surgical removal of the ovaries, cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy and premature ovarian failure.

Symptoms of menopause include uncharacteristic or irregular vaginal bleeding, hot flashes, vaginal and urinary symptoms, and mood changes. Most of these troublesome symptoms are treatable, or at least short-term. Other physical changes like weight gain, changes in skin texture (wrinkles), worsening of acne is also common. These are due to the hormonal changes that happen during this time.

Although menopause cannot be prohibited, certain actions can reduce risk of complications, such as osteoporosis and heart disease –

1. Exercise can trim down hot flashes and improve mood, and weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, helps keep bones strong.

2. Eat a balanced diet to avoid weight gain and keep cholesterol levels in check. Your daily diet must include calcium, fiber, water, good fats, soy, fresh fruits and vegetables.

3. Ask a doctor regarding calcium and vitamin D supplements to protect against bone loss.

4. Talk to a doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). For some women with severe menopausal symptoms, the benefits of HRT may outweigh the increased risk of breast cancer and stroke.

Some symptoms of menopause are critical and require medical attention. It is important to be familiar with the severe menopause symptoms like heavy bleeding, depression and hypertension and see a gynecologist specialist to be investigating and treat properly.

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