Menopause is the natural cessation of a woman’s menstrual cycle, which marks the end of her fertility. Usually, women experience menopause between 45 and 55 years of age. Many women experience symptoms like hot flashes (sudden feeling of warmth, especially over the face, neck, and chest), night sweats, and flushing (temporary reddening of the skin), a few years before menopause.
Menopause not only brings about permanent biological changes but also affects the mental health of women, partially because of the hormonal and biochemical changes associated with it. While the body tries to cope up with these new changes, many women also struggle with mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Here, we will first understand the biological signs of menopause and also look at common issues that women experience and tips to cope with them.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Irregular periods (especially during the onset of menopause also known as ‘perimenopause’)
Shivering & chills
Sudden sweating, especially at night
Pain and tenderness in the breast
Heart palpitations (feelings of having a fast heartbeat)
Occasional urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Thinning of hair, body pain, and fatigue
Psychological and Mental Issues During Menopause
A sense of loss, in which the feeling that "Oh! I am no longer young, I will no longer be attractive", etc., keeps coming to the mind.
Feeling sad and depressed.
Feeling of anxiety, often without sufficient reason.
General lack of interest, mostly as a part of depression, forgetfulness, and loss or reduced sexual drive.
Mood swings between cheerfulness and sadness.
Issues with sleep, or lack of sleep (also known as insomnia).
Those already having mental health disorders like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc., may show elevated symptoms.
Because of a higher level of irritation and irritability, behavior towards close family members including spouse and children could become worse. This may lead to quarrels and at times to even domestic violence.
Lowered self-esteem and a feeling of worthlessness may lead to an inferiority complex, jealousy, and sadness.
In menopause, trivial matters can appear to be problematic issues and could end up as major stressors.
Tips To Cope With Changes Due To/During Menopause
The following tips can help in dealing with mental and physical issues during menopause:
1. Discuss your menopausal problems, issues, and work towards rectifying them. This is the first step towards coping with menopause. Do not hide your issues because that itself will become a perpetual strain on your mind. You need to seek help and understanding from others.
2. Seek reliable information and awareness from the internet, social media, doctors, close friends, family members, and psychologists.
3. Talk to your partner/husband and seek their help and co-operation.
4. Visit a gynaecologist and understand menopause in detail. Request for additional guidance and tips on how to cope up with this phase.
5. Eat a nutritious diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-quality protein, and dairy products to reduce menopause symptoms.
6. Exercise regularly. Many women experience weight gain during menopause and this can further increase sadness or anxiety. Brisk walking, jogging, biking, and dancing are recommended.
7. Manage stress. Stress management is a big factor in dealing with menopausal conditions. Open communication with your near and dear ones will improve their ability to understand and help you.
8. Sleep early and sleep on time. Eating dinner early is the first step towards sleeping on time. Eat a light dinner and avoid too much spices, oils, and sugar.
9. Keep in touch with your close friends.
10. Stay sexually active. This is important as the physical and emotional stress of menopause can cause a reduction in sexual activity.
11. Engage in any creative or old hobbies to keep yourself busy and stress-free.
12. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can help some women. Have a detailed discussion with your doctor to understand its pros and cons.
Menopause is a passing phase in every woman’s life. Understanding it well and handling it wisely is important. In spite of all the difficulties, keeping an open mind on it is important too.
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.