One of the major changes in a woman’s life, menopause refers to a permanent end of menstruation and fertilization ability.
The changes that menopause brings in a woman’s life range from physical and emotional to psychological symptoms.
The process of menstruation begins with the stoppage or slowing down of production of the hormones estrogen (estrogen levels) and progesterone by the ovaries.
As your hormone level declines, the tissues that line the vagina and the urethra (the opening of the urinary bladder) become thin, dry and lose their suppleness.
Thus, lubrication decreases and leads to itching as well as a burning sensation. Moreover, it increases the risk of infections such as urinary tract or vaginal infection. Frequent urination, overactive bladder (urinary incontinence) also occasionally develops.
On the other hand, if you are in menopause stage, you can experience hot flashes, sleep disturbances, insomnia, decreased sexual desire, irregular periods, headache, joint aches, irritability, fatigue, night sweats, trouble concentrating, bloating, and heavy bleeding during periods due to the effects of physical, emotional and psychological changes in women during menopause.
As every woman experiences menopause differently, the occurrence of these effects also differ from individual to individual.
Self-care tips for women during menopause
All these effects can only make you frustrated and stressful. However, self-care can help you cope with them easily. Here are a few self-care tips to reduce or prevent the development of bad effects in women during menopause:
Reduce hot flashes and night sweats: You will often experience night sweats because of hot flashes, which develop with a rapid expansion of blood vessels because of decrease in estrogen levels.
Body temperature rises and causes mild waves from the chest to the face where facial redness and sweating develops. To reduce the hot flashes and night sweats, eat adequate amounts of calcium-rich foods and other nutrients essential for absorption of calcium into the body.
Also, eat phytoestrogen-rich food (soy milk, tofu, miso), and fresh fruits and vegetables such as yams, papayas and carrots. Vitamin B-complex and Vitamin E supplements are also effective. Cut down intake of tea, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, sugar as well as spicy foods.
Shrink discomforts: Owing to a reduction in the production of hormones by the ovaries, women often experience a feeling of burning, vaginal itching and discomfort with sexual intercourse. Try to use over-the-counter vaginal lubricants or water-based moisturizers.
Fix an exercise schedule: As exercise helps discharge endorphins to relieve stress and promote comfort, plan and stick to an exercise routine with a combination of strength training as well as aerobic exercises — walking, jogging and dancing.
Regular exercising and physical activities help relieve hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and prevents the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke and obesity.
Avoid smoking and alcohol: Smoking and alcohol consumption leads to the development of several health problems. It increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attack, certain cancers, and other health-related problems.
Smoking also increases the onset of earlier menopause, so try to stay away from smoking and alcohol consumption.
As a final precaution, try to have regular doctor check-ups and tests.