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THE CHANGE OF LIFE

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By Gul Nasreen
Tue, 10, 22

As women worldwide are living longer, more and more women are likely to undergo menopause. It’s important that we are prepared for the effects that might happen as a result of menopause so that we can live better, healthier lives. You! takes a look…

THE CHANGE OF LIFE

world menopause day

Our bodies go through many transitions during our lives. Puberty is the one we all know, where swirling hormones transform the way we both look and feel. Yet, the changes don’t stop there.

For women, menopause is another transitional time in our lives - a second puberty of sorts, where our bodies prepare us for the later stages of life. Yet, there is considerably less awareness of menopause than puberty, which means that the changes often take some women by complete surprise. Over time and depending on the culture, a great deal of mystery, confusion and misunderstanding has encircled this season of a woman’s life.

A normal part of aging:

Menopause, also known as ‘the change of life’, is the end of menstruation in a woman’s life. It is a natural occurrence at the end of the reproductive years, just as the first period during puberty was the start. Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, the average being around 51. It’s a normal part of aging. Around the time of menopause, many females experience physical symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. It can also lead to anxiety, changes in mood, and a reduced sex drive.

Staying healthy after menopause:

Menopause is a state of life that is accompanied by hot flushes, night sweat, insomnia, mood swings and fatigue. The weight loss process can also get tougher, and the bones become weaker. While there is no way to prevent it, a healthy diet and lifestyle can do a lot to relieve the symptoms and make it easier to cope with the changes.

Eat a healthy diet: This means a balance of good fats, complex carbohydrates and protein. Food really can be your medicine. You should also aim to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal, including breakfast.

Have green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits: Menopause can cause loss of bone density. During menopause, it’s advised that women increase their intake of calcium-rich food such as green leafy vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables eliminate toxins and clear your system. Have apples, prunes or figs in the morning, which can reduce mood swings.

Take proteins: Oestrogen levels tend to fall after menopause causing a slowdown of metabolism, and thus weight loss gets difficult during menopause. The best way to prevent weight gain is to eat 40 per cent less carbohydrates after you hit 40, and instead eat proteins like lentils, sprouts and eggs.

Avoid spicy food: Cut down on spicy chillies, pepper, and spices like garam masala, and reduce intake of packaged and processed foods.

Exercise: Many women gain weight after menopause. This may be because of declining oestrogen levels. Raising your activity level will help avoid this weight gain. Regular exercise benefits the heart and bones, helps control weight, and can improve your mood. Women who are not physically active are more likely to have heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Aerobic activities, such as walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and dancing, help prevent some of these problems. It also helps raise HDL cholesterol levels, the ‘good’ cholesterol. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking and running, as well as moderate weight training, help increase bone mass. In postmenopausal women, moderate exercise helps preserve bone mass in the spine and prevents fractures. Exercise also helps improve mood. Hormones, called endorphins, are released in the brain. Improved mood lasts for several hours. It also helps the body fight stress.

World Menopause Day

World Menopause Day is observed on October 18 every year. Despite affecting about half of the world’s population, menopause isn’t talked about as much as it should be. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about menopause and support options available for improving health and wellbeing.

World Menopause Day (WMD) was established in 1984 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Menopause Society (IMS) with the intention of spreading awareness about this condition that affects women as they age. WMD is all about supporting women who are feeling lost and are going through menopause. It helps women understand the possible health issues associated when approaching, during, and after menopause.

Themes for World Menopause Day each year help to focus on one specific aspect of the general event. Past themes have included issues such as Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), Bone Health, and Testosterone for Women in Midlife. The theme for World Menopause Day 2022 is ‘Cognition and Mood’.

How to celebrate World Menopause Day

WMD comes with many different options for raising awareness and offering support to this cause. The condition has not been studied as much as it should be and is not discussed openly. Having World Menopause Day is seen as a solution to these problems by encouraging conversation and research on menopause and its effects.

Get involved with World Menopause Day events: Whether it is attending a local lecture or hosting a women’s gathering or book discussion, there are lots of opportunities to get connected to events related to WMD.

Women can make a doctor appointment: Women who are in their mid-forties should consider asking their doctor about what to expect when it comes to menopause. Even if their body is not yet experiencing symptoms, it’s important to be aware of what to expect and how to respond. Advice from a medical professional may include diet changes, hormone therapy, home remedies, exercise, antidepressants or other treatments when the time is right.

Learn more about Menopause: Whether doing research through the International Menopause Society Website, on a medical website, or by reading books on the subject, the best way to be prepared for World Menopause Day is to get informed!

Time of great joy:

Menopause can be a time of challenge for many women but can also be a time of great joy. For many women, this time offers them the opportunity to change and find a certain freedom that wasn’t there before. Many women become less interested in what people think of them and become more able to speak up for themselves. Menopause can be an exciting stage in development, one that holds promise for healing our bodies, minds and our spirits.