There are numerous times a woman experiences bodily and hormonal changes throughout their lives. One of such inevitable change that a woman has to go through is Menopause. But what is it? To define in the simplest of words it is the time when a woman experiences no menstruation for a year. This is a natural process that marks the end of the menstrual cycle of a woman, also marking the end of their reproductive years.
This biological process generally occurs amongst women between the ages of 40 to 50. This period of a woman is marked with a variety of symptoms of which no or delayed period remains primary. This article discusses in complete detail about everything you should know about Menopause.
Hence, if you are in the above-mentioned age and are about to hit Menopause, keep reading.
What is Menopause?
Menopause marks the period when a woman stops having menstruation or periods. It is a natural and biological process that hits a woman during their 40s to 50s. If you fall in this age category and are experiencing no period or delayed period for a year, it is generally because you have hit it.
What are the Symptoms of Menopause?
There are various bodily changes that a woman has to go through when she hits the stop in her periods. Hence, this stage is marked with various symptoms. These symptoms can be mild to some women and can be extremely severe to other women. So to mention, some of the symptoms of menopause are:
- Irregular, no or delayed period.
- Hot flashes.
- Mood swings.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Dry mouth, skin and eyes.
- Loss of hair.
- Increase in hair growth in body parts such as chest, neck, face, upper back etc.
- Night sweats.
- Irregular sleep or insomnia.
- Slowed metabolism and weight gain.
- Loss of tightness of breasts.
- Increased pee.
For some women, the symptoms of menopause can get much more than just these. They are:
- Irritation and crankiness.
- Muscle and joint pain.
- Loss of sex drive.
- Increased heart rate.
- Difficulty in concentrating.
- Urinary tract infections.
- Reduction in bone mass.
What are the Causes of Menopause?
Menopause is a biological process that every woman has to face and most women are aware of this. However, what most women are not aware of are why this condition occurs at all. Hence, to clear all doubts here are the reasons why it occurs.
This condition occurs because the ovaries of a woman start to age and fail to produce enough reproductive hormones. As a result, the production of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone starts to decline. The ovarian follicle that is mainly responsible for releasing the ovarian eggs starts to decline. This affects the menstruation of women thereby affecting and eventually stopping fertility.
There are various other reasons that could lead to stoppage of periods in women.
Some of the Reasons are:
- Chemotherapy and Radiation: Women who need to undergo chemotherapy and/ or radiation might face hot flashes and notice a halt in their menstruation or late periods. However, this is not permanent and their periods might get back in the cycle once their treatment is done with.
- Hysterectomy: Hysterectomy is a process of operating and removing the uterus of a woman. There are two kinds of this. One includes removing the ovaries and the other does not. Removal of the ovaries along with the uterus causes the menstruation of the woman to halt immediately. However, women that undergo surgery to only remove the uterus do not face a stop in the cycle. This is since the ovaries continue to produce progesterone and estrogen and therefore release eggs. However, in both cases, the woman is likely to face severe symptoms. This is because of the sudden drastic hormone changes in both cases.
- Reproductive hormonal decline: The ovaries are the ones that are behind menstruation. These ovaries are also responsible for producing the two hormones progesterone and estrogen. In some women, the ovaries may just stop producing the eggs that eventually leads to a stoppage in their periods.
What are the Lifestyle Changes to Adapt During This Time?
Menopause is a natural process that brings various bodily changes with it. Along with that women have to face various uncomfortable symptoms that can range from mild to severe.
Although this process is inevitable, there are various lifestyle changes that a woman can do which can help ease the symptoms. Hence, some of these are:
What to Eat When in Menopause?
During the time when the menstruation of a woman starts to stop permanently, there are various uncomfortable and chronic diseases and symptoms that follow. These could be abrupt hormonal change, gaining a lot of weight, loss of bone density, crankiness and irritability, and various others.
Hence, it is advised to consume various healthy and nutritious foods to help one relieve many symptoms. Hence, here is the answer to the common question, what to eat when in Menopause.
Fruits and Vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables have shown to do wonders in controlling various symptoms of late periods and delayed period. These include reducing hot flashes, increasing sleep, reducing depression, and many more. This is because it contains a lot of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Hence, it is highly recommended to include at least two cups of good vegetables and at least one cup of fruits in the everyday diet.
The diet of the women going through the phase of delayed and late periods must have an abundance of protein. This phase of a woman marks the less production of a hormone called estrogen. This in turn results in to decrease in strength of the bones and overall muscle mass. Hence, in taking enough high-quality protein can help combat the effects of it.
There are various foods rich in protein that can be included in the diet to yield maximum benefits. Some of them are dairy products, fatty fishes, chicken, eggs, fruits and vegetables, seeds, and nuts amongst others.
Like said, the estrogen levels of a woman starts to fall when they hit this stage. Therefore, the chances of them getting a fracture and osteoporosis increase. This is because the bone density of women tends to weaken.
Adding various kinds of dairy products to the everyday diet, therefore, helps to increase bone health. Along with that, dairy products also help to deals with improper sleep and insomnia.
Some of the dairy products that you can include in your diet are cheese, yogurt, milk, and almonds amongst others. These foods would fill the body with a good amount of phosphorous, magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, calcium, etc.
Good and healthy fatty foods contains Omega-3 fatty acids. As per some studies this has shown to help women combat with various symptoms of Menopause. Some of these include improving moods thereby reducing moods swings, decreasing hot flashes and night sweats amongst others.
Hence, it is advisable to include some portions of good fatty foods in the diet such as fatty fishes like salmon, mackerel, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds amongst others.
The goodness of including whole grain in the diet has proved to have a lot of benefits amongst women. To mention some of them are:
- It helps to prevent a person from cancer and heart diseases.
- Improves digestive health.
- Helps to boost energy.
- Manages stress and anxiety.
- Improves digestion.
Hence, it is a wise decision to include certain whole grains in the diet. Some of the foods that can be included are barley, brown rice, quinoa, rye and whole wheat bread amongst various others.
It is important to include at least 2 to 3 liters of water in the regular diet. The importance of drinking enough water is various. Some of the importance are:
- Women face severe hormonal changes during this period. Hence, they have a tendency of bloating and put on unnecessary weight during this time. Drinking enough water helps to keep the weight under check.
- It helps to flush the toxins out of the body.
- It helps to absorb all the nutrients properly.
- As the estrogen levels fall, dry skin and vaginal dryness becomes a concern at this point of time. Drinking good amount of water helps to ease the pain.
It is not important to obtain all the required fluids that the body needs from just water itself. Having foods that have enough fluids also serves the purpose.
Now we are aware of what to eat when in Menopause. However it also remains necessary to have good knowledge about all the things that you must avoid during this time.
Hence, to mention, a few of the:-
Foods that is a big no-no during this period are:
- Caffeine and Alcohol: It is recommended to the women who are going through this phase and are experiencing late periods to avoid caffeine and alcohol. This is for the reason that these have proven to increase some of the symptoms of Menopause. Some of these are hot flashes, anxiety and depression and insomnia. It can also cause bloating and weight gain.
- Spicy Foods: Spicy foods have shown direct relation with increasing certain symptoms such as hot flashes in women going through this phase. Along with that, it has also shown to increase the depression and anxiety levels of many women. Hence, it is better to avoid spicy foods or eat it in an extremely less amount.
- Processed Sugar and Carbs: Consuming processed sugar and carbs have proven to increase the blood sugar content of a woman. This is particularly harmful during this period. This is because, a high blood insulin have shown to increase certain symptoms of menopause such as the chance of hot flashes.
- Extreme Salty Foods: Consuming foods that contain high salt in it have showed to impact negatively in various ways. Some of them are
- Menopause declines the levels of estrogen in women. Consuming high salted foods increase the having high blood pressure.
- Reducing sodium intake can help boost mood.
- Increase in sodium intake can lead to low bone mineral density.
What are the Exercises to do During This Time?
Apart from knowing what to eat during menopause and following it, it is also equally important to check the exercises and the lifestyle changes that you can do. Exercising regally comes with its own perks. It does not just help to increase the overall well-being but also helps uplift the mood and improve the quality of life.
Hence, here are some easy exercises that you can include in your lifestyle to deal with this period:
- Meditation and Yoga: Yoga and meditation have forever shown its benefits in calming the restless mind. Practicing yoga every day can help to overcome various symptoms of menopause. Some of them are hot flashes, fatigue, irritability, and mood swings.
- Cardio Training: Cardio training is an incredible option to ensure to maintain a good heart rate. These training ensure that all the muscles of your body are used and made to work. Another good thing about cardio exercises is that there are a variety of exercises that you can select from. To mention, a few of them are walking, running, jogging, cycling, swimming, and biking amongst many others.
- Strength Training: If you are facing delayed or late periods and are in your 50s, there are high chances of you facing a complete pause in your periods. During this time, the estrogen produced is considerably low. As a result, certain problems such as low bone density are bound to occur. Hence, strength training that includes lifting certain weights can help strengthen the bones and the muscles. Along with that, it can also help to burn the extra fat from the body effectively thereby controlling the body weight and boost metabolism.
- Zumba: If you want to opt for an exercise routine that it fitness and fun then zumba is the best choice for you. Being a mixture of dance and fitness, zumba is known to shred a lot of weight and boost fitness; all of that in a fun way. Hence, if you like crowds then opt for zumba classes.
When to Seek a Doctor?
The chances of certain diseases of women extend after they face a permanent stop in their period. This is mainly related to certain types of cancers and heart problems.
Although the majority of the women face some symptoms of menopause, it is never a good idea to ignore the symptoms if it becomes mild or unbearable. It is especially advised to seek a doctor if you spot blood even after the periods have stopped permanently.
The Take Away
Certain social taboo of the society is such that the idea of what Menopause is still unknown to many. However, to get a short and crisp description, this is a natural biological process and every woman has to face it.
The important thing to take away from the whole article is to understand that the body of a woman faces a lot of change once their period stops permanently. Hence, it is important to bring about certain lifestyle changes to stay healthy and fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Menopause?
Menopause is a natural biological process that happens in the body of every woman. In this, the menstruation of women stops. It marks the end of the productive years of women. Menopause naturally occurs to women when they have reached the age of 50s.
How long does symptoms of menopause last?
There is no fixed time period as to how long does Menopause last in women.
- In some women the symptoms in the pre-menopausal stage can last for more than four years in an average.
- Women who are over weight are much likely to face the symptoms of Menopause for more years when compared to others.
- Some women can face the post menopausal symptoms up to 10 years.
What is the worst symptoms of Menopause?
During the Menopause stage, a woman can face several symptoms. In some women, the symptoms could be severe and might require visits to the doctor. In others, it is bearable.
However, to mention, the worst symptoms during Menopause are:
- Night sweats.
- Difficulty in sleeping and Insomnia.
- Hot flashes.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Day sweats.
What are the stages of menopause?
There are three stages of Menopause:
- Peri-menopause: When the body of a woman begins the transition.
- Menopause: When the body has gone through 12 months consecutively without having periods.
- Post-Menopause: This phase in a woman lasts up to 2-3 years after the period of a woman stops.
What is the average age a woman stops menstruating?
Menopause mostly occurs when women reaches the age of 40-50. The most likely periods is around 51 years old.
Stay Informed, Stay Healthy