Menopause (रजनोवृत्ति in Hindi) is the time that marks the end of the menstrual cycle in women. A menstrual cycle refers to a series of changes that prepares a woman’s body for pregnancy each month. Menstruation or a period is the vaginal bleeding that occurs every month, as a part of this monthly cycle. 

Menopause occurs when a woman does not menstruate consecutively for 12 months. It usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Though this is considered as the average age for menopause, it can occur before or after this period too.

It is a natural biological process but the physical symptoms of menopause can make this period challenging. The common symptoms of menopause include mood changes, irregular periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, chills, sleep problems, weight gain, dry skin, and hair thinning. The pattern of irregularities in menstruation and other symptoms will vary for each woman. 

Due to the challenges faced during this period, women often have a number of questions in mind regarding menopause. Here we’ve put together some answers to the frequently asked questions about menopause.

Frequently Asked Questions About Menopause

1. Is weight gain expected during menopause?

Yes, it is more likely for women to gain weight during menopause as a result of the hormonal changes during this period. 

These changes can slow down your metabolism (the rate at which calories are burned), making it difficult for you to lose weight during and after menopause. 

As you age, there is a decrease in muscle mass and an increase in your body fat. This makes it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight during menopause. Lifestyle factors and genetics also play a role in weight gain during this period. 

Excess weight gain during menopause increases the risk of other diseases such as heart diseases and diabetes. However, you can prevent this by following healthy eating habits and leading an active lifestyle.

2. How to beat menopause symptoms?

Menopause is a natural process that you cannot prevent or alter, but its symptoms can be managed by making certain healthy changes to your lifestyle and diet, such as: 

  • Eating small, frequent, and balanced meals 

  • Indulging in 45 minutes of daily exercise 

  • Having a sound sleep for at least 7-8 hours a day 

  • Staying well hydrated

  • Limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking.

3. Which exercise is good during and after menopause?

Your muscle mass reduces as you age. Therefore, staying physically active and exercising regularly can help maintain your muscle strength and keep you fit. 

You can opt for cardio or aerobic exercises such as walking or cycling and muscle-building exercises such as pilates. 

Pilates is a low-intensity exercise that aims at strengthening your muscles and also improves your postural alignment and flexibility. 

Regular exercise also helps in managing mood changes during menopause and reduces stress, irritability, and fatigue. So set realistic goals and get going!

4. Does menopause put you at risk for other diseases?

Unfortunately, it does! 

As a result of several factors like reduced estrogen (primary female sex hormone) production, and other changes in your body such as weight gain, postmenopausal women are at risk of diseases like heart ailments, osteoporosis, joint pain, diabetes, and an elevated lipid profile (high cholesterol levels).

5. Can menopause lead to poor bone health?

After menopause, there is a decrease in hormones such as estrogen, which can lead to loss of bone mass and strength. This can cause rapid bone thinning or even osteoporosis. 

Osteoporosis is a condition where the process of bone regeneration slows down, weakening your bones. 

Eating calcium and protein-rich foods are ways to improve bone health and promote bone regeneration. Also, make sure to stay physically active and engage in low-intensity workouts regularly. 

6. How to be diet-wise?

Consuming a healthy nutritious diet can help ease the symptoms of menopause. Your body requires more nutrients as its rate of absorption reduces with age. Here are some foods that you can include in your daily diet:

  • Fibre-rich foods: Foods such as whole grain bread, cereals, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables are some food items that are high in fibre. These foods can help in improving your digestion and metabolism.

  • Iron-rich foods: Opting for fortified bread instead of white bread, dates instead of a dessert, green leafy veggies instead of starchy veggies, etc., are some ways to increase iron in your diet.

  • Calcium-rich foods: Adding ragi flour to your chapati dough, consuming 2-3 servings of dairy products, reducing calcium inhibiting foods like tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, etc., are some ways of increasing your calcium intake. 

7. Is HRT necessary after menopause?

HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) can help manage the side effects that result from low estrogen production after menopause. HRT is helpful in treating symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, vaginal dryness, and bone loss. 

Women who are at high risk of getting heart ailments or osteoporosis benefit from HRT. It is also beneficial for women who have had an early menopause (before the age of 45) due to other health reasons. 

HRT is usually tailored for each individual as it has its own risks. Therefore, talk to your doctor to know if you will need HRT and understand its benefits and risks. 

Menopause is a physiological process and just another stage of your life. It brings about a lot of changes in your body and therefore it is always better to take advice from your doctor on the dos and don’ts during this period. 

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.