What is Menopause?

According to a 2015 international survey, there are 5,000 metaphors for the terms "menstruation," "period," or anything linked to women's intimate hygiene used across the world. Although some of these names are humorous, they also have a dark side, as they perpetuate the notion that menstruation is synonymous with shame. Periods, or anything related to them, have been taboo for as long as women have been menstruating, and have been a source of embarrassment and oppression. Menstruation, on the other hand, is a common occurrence that affects half of the world's population. Why is menstrual taboo such a tremendous issue, and what can we do to address it?

To start with, we must educate the masses about menstruation. And, more importantly, we, as women, must end the hush-hush. So, let's begin with something that has a lot to do with menstruation: Menopause!

Well, what is Menopause, precisely?

All of a woman's eggs are contained in her ovaries when she is born. Their ovaries also produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which regulate their menstrual cycle and egg production (ovulation). Menopause occurs as the ovaries stop producing an egg each month and menstruation ceases. When a woman misses her periods for over 12 months, she’s diagnosed with Menopause. It is the end of fertility for all time. It generally occurs after the age of 40 and is a natural part of ageing. It happens at an average age of 51 years, however, some women may experience early menopause. It may be caused by surgery, such as when their ovaries are removed during a hysterectomy, or by damage to their ovaries caused by chemotherapy. Premature menopause is defined as the initiation of menopause before the age of 40 for some cause. According to the latest study undertaken by The Center for Social and Economic Change, approximately 4% of Indian women between the ages of 29 and 34 experience symptoms of menopause (ISEC). In the case of women between the ages of 35 and 39, the percentage rises to 8%.

How can you determine whether you're approaching menopause?

Menopause, like other bodily transitions, manifests itself in the form of signs and symptoms. For instance, hot flashes are intense sensations of warmth that spread across the upper body, frequently accompanied by blushing and sweating in most women approaching menopause. Most women experience mild flashes, while others experience severe flashes. Other signs can be:

  1. Vaginal dryness,
  2. Uneven or missed periods,
  3. Sore breasts,
  4. Dry skin, eyes, or mouth,
  5. A constant need to pee,
  6. Mood swings,
  7. Trouble sleeping,
  8. Racing heart,
  9. Headaches,
  10. Joint and muscle aches and pains,
  11. Fatigue,
  12. Depression,
  13. Crankiness,
  14. Weight gain,
  15. Hair loss,
  16. Changes in libido, etc.

Each woman's menopause is unique. Perimenopause symptoms may last about four years on average.

That means before menopause, a woman's life will be a complete roller coaster. So, what can be done to comfort ourselves and feel better?

There are various things we can do to care for ourselves during this period, such as:

A healthy diet always tops the list - Having the right vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from our diet is just as important during menopause as it's always been. Paying attention to your diet and making healthy food decisions should be a part of self-care during menopause. Consume a well-balanced diet rich in whole grains, lean protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Restricted alcohol intake and avoid processed foods containing added sugar (which can also trigger hot flashes in some women). Some women experience weight gain during menopause, so they may need to think about weight control while making dietary decisions.

Keep it cool - Hot flashes are one of the most common perimenopause and menopause symptoms that can be disruptive to everyday life. Finding ways to stay cool is a healthy way to exercise self-care during menopause. You'll feel better emotionally if you're more physically relaxed. Choose breathable materials like cotton and dress in light layers so you can change your temperature if you get too hot. Some women suggest having a portable fan to take to work or use in public places where the temperature isn't regulated. Speak to your doctor on how to cope with hot flashes if they're messing with your everyday life.

Water, your saviour - A great way to exercise self-care during menopause is to drink plenty of water. Coldwater does more than just cool you down; it also supports the body's temperature control. Keeping hydrated can also help with bloating and dryness.

Get moving - When it comes to self-care, exercise should be at the top of the list. Physical activity has many advantages that will make you feel better during perimenopause and menopause. It relieves stress, provides energy, increases strength, encourages restful sleep, and is an essential part of weight loss. During the perimenopause and menopausal years, all of these aspects are essential.

Be a sleeping beauty - Having enough sleep is important for overall health and well-being. Most adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. During perimenopause and menopause, however, symptoms such as night sweats can make sleeping difficult. If you could somehow discuss sleep disturbances with your doctor, there are other measures you can take to increase your chances of having enough sleep. At least 30 minutes before going to bed, switching off all electronic devices such as phones and computers. Wear cool, breathable sleep clothes and make sure your sleeping atmosphere is comfortable.

Have some sun - Getting outside is beneficial to both your mental and physical well-being. And those who aren't especially "outgoing" profit from spending 30 minutes or more outdoors. Fresh air can be energizing, and having enough vitamin D from the sun is beneficial to physical health. You will enjoy the outdoors by going for a walk or starting a garden.

What are friends for - Staying close to loved ones is one of the core tenets of self-care at any time. Make a deliberate effort to stay in touch with friends and relatives. Extroverts and introverts alike need some form of human contact as part of their self-care routine. Message, call or plan video calls with loved ones if you can't meet in person.

Now that we’ve talked about the basic things relating to menopause. Let’s talk about our mental health for a while. The years prior to menopause, as well as the process itself, can cause biological changes. They can, however, have an impact on your mind, especially your mental health. The frequency of depression increases during this period. Women who have previously struggled with depression or anxiety can experience a relapse of symptoms. Shifts in female hormone levels have been linked to bipolar tendencies in other periods of life, so it's not shocking that they can affect mood during the menopausal process too. The majority of mood swings during perimenopause and menopause are mild. Midlife, when menopause happens, is a period when women often experience many sources of stress, such as raising kids, coping with elderly parents, and juggling life changes, all of which can lead to depression and anxiety. While studies have identified a correlation between menopause and depression, the link between anxiety and menopause is less evident. Although, according to some data, women are more likely to have panic attacks during and after the menopausal process. But distinguishing between panic attacks and hot flashes and be a tough job. One way to tell the difference between hot flashes and panic attacks is that hot flashes do not cause you to become out of breath, while panic attacks do.

So, how do you keep your mental health safe when you approach menopause?

  • Be aware that mood swings can occur in conjunction with other menopausal symptoms.
  • Keep an eye on your mood and other things including sleep and stress levels to see if there are any trends.
  • If your symptoms become serious and are interfering with your everyday life, seek professional support.
  • To minimize possible symptoms, make lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise, having enough sleep, and managing stress.
  • Make an effort to connect with others. Don't leave the union.
  • It's important to note that this is just a temporary phase. Mood swings associated with female hormonal shifts during the menopausal process usually pass quickly.
  • Since menopause isn't addressed publicly, there's a fair risk that people are poorly informed. This includes hoaxes. Don't put your faith in anything you hear. There are some myths about menopause floating about, for starters:


  •  Zero Sex Life - This is far from the case. Women may have a low sex drive, but that does not mean it is non-existent. Aside from that, some people are worried about a dry vagina, but all you really need is lube to have a happy and safe sexual experience.
  • It's also a misconception that the sooner you start menstruating, the quicker you'll hit menopause. They have nothing to do with each other!
  • Weight gain is unavoidable - all that is required to keep weight gain under control is regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, and lots of rest.
  • Soy Is Nature's Hormone Therapy - Savor if you want soy! They are a nutritious complement to almost anyone's diet. But keep in mind that soy is neither harmful nor a miracle cure.
  • Memory loss - For both genders, forgetting names, losing keys, and double-checking if the door is locked goes hand in hand with growing older. Since the approximate age of menopause is 51, brain exhaustion and losing everyday details become more noticeable, though this isn't a symptom of menopause.

So, now that we've learned a great deal about menopause, let's share what we've learnt with others. Do not be ashamed to bring up the topic of women's intimate hygiene. Let's put an end to the stigma around menstruation because it's perfectly normal.

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