Family Affair

THE NEED FOR WOMEN TO UNDERSTAND AND COPE WITH MENOPAUSE With Dr Nma Olebara (FCAI)

Menopause is a stage of life to pass through not a disability. As women age, menopause occurs in their lives, during which the cessation of menstruation is only one particular and dramatic symptom.

Webster’s 9th New Collegiate Dictionary defines menopause as  “the period of natural cessation of menstruation occurring usually between the ages of 45 and 50 Menopause has also been identified arbitrally as the final cessation of menstruation.

At a certain time in a woman’s life all the ova which have not been used begin to atrophy and the ovaries themselves gradually cease to function. Menstruation ceases when the cyclic production of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone drops below a critical level. No one can say for certain at what age the menopause actually begins because the gradual lowering of hormones is so slow that it is initially unnoticed. The majority of women are only aware of the change of life after noting some abnormality of their periods whereas some complain of some menopausal symptoms before they notice any alteration. The changes that occur before, during and after the cessation of menstruation are nearly all due to a fall in the level of oestrogen in the body. This begins three to four years before the periods actually stop; so that the earlier symptoms of the change of life can occasionally be recognized for several years while menstruation is still occurring.

With some women, the end of menstruation happens suddenly, for others, the periods become erratic, occurring at intervals of three weeks to several months. When one full year passes without a woman experiencing a period she can reliably conclude that menopause occurred at the time of her last menstruation on menstrual periods become less regular, usually occurring at longer intervals, menstrual flow changes in pattern, becoming lighter or heavier. Eventually no further eggs are released and the menstrual periods stop.

At this time, of a woman’s life, vaginal tissues become thinner and less moist and estrogen levels decline. Other symptoms women experience include night sweat, insomnia, inconvenience, sudden bouts of waists line bloat, heart palpitations; crying for no reason, temper outburst, migraines, itchy, crawly skin and memory lapses.

In addition, women bring differing emotions, stresses; coping abilities and expectations approach with them as they approach menopause. The time of menopause often coincides with other stressful circumstances in a woman’s’ life such as caring for aged parents, entering the workforce, seeing children grow up and leave home and other mid-life adjustments. These stresses may cause physical and emotional symptoms including memory loss, attention deficit, anxiety, and irritability and depression which may be erroneously attributed to menopause.

Menopause is not the end of a women’s productive life, only of her reproductive life. After a women’s last menstrual period, her moods are usually more stable not fluctuating with monthly hormones cycles.

Menopause makes women to have the reality that their bodies are no longer as young as they once were. It is not as bad as people think, apart from the physical discomfort that some experience, there are important benefits to the new stage of life. A woman can no longer become pregnant. No more worries about birth control, no more fear of a mistake. Some women’s sexual experience can improve dramatically while some find that their sexual desire has ebbed, many others find they are capable of receiving higher levels of pleasure as they get older. Intercourse after menopause may require some additional lubrication which is small price to pay for more all round satisfaction.

Another benefit is that if the children are grown and established, the woman will have enough time and resources to turn attention to herself and take care of herself. In societies in which emphasis is placed on youthfulness and youthful appearance, the outset of menopause symptoms may herald a misconception, as abrupt end of youth and the beginning of old age. Old age is not bad and we can not avoid it or fear it. Aging for women can lead to a feeling of invisibility so we dye our hair, make up, whiten the teeth so that we will not look as old as our bodies actually are. Women should not view menopause as an illness but as a natural and different stage of life. Women do not need treatment for menopause rather they require, a balanced diet, regular exercise, a commitment to healthy living. This in turn helps to reduce risk of heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer and other age related illnesses. Exercise does wonders for our physical health as well as our mental and emotional health. Women can choose to walk, bike, swim, dance, and move the body everyday. Regular exercise enhances the ability to cope with stress and depression. It increases energy and helps keep weight off. Regular vigorous exercise is beneficial because it helps the body learn to cope with excess heat and to cool down more quickly.

It is important for women to eat foods that have a high concentration of nutrients and to avoid sugary, fatty foods that are empty calories, alcohol, caffeine, hot spicy food etc.

People should stop seeing menopause as a crisis but a stage of life that can be a vital exciting and immensely fulfilling time of life.

About the author

admin