Menopause is a word that has lots of misconceptions around it. Lack of information and hesitation to seek consultations make a normal aging phenomenon a complicated issue leading to spirals of problems. To simplify, let us understand what menopause is. In simple words, it is the permanent cessation of menstruation. On a lighter note, after this, an individual need not remind themselves of the date of the period. The average age of menopause is between 45 and 55. It is due to the hormonal changes. Some women may have an early menopause and some have late menopause. The article discusses menopause, its symptoms, and its management.
What Is the Age at Which, a Female Can Expect Menopause?
The age at which one enters this phase varies. Menopause at the age of 40 is early menopause and needs consultation. It is considered normal if it happens at 50 or more and should be taken as a phase of life.
What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?
Menarche (onset of menstruation) comes with irregular periods. Similarly, at this stage, irregularity in menses is the first symptom. This takes almost 6 to 12 months to get settled. Other symptoms include hot flashes, breast tenderness, reduced sex drive, vaginal dryness, and emotional mood swings. Mention, in some cases, heavy flow is also observed. Not to worry, it is not a big deal for every female.
How To Get Prepared For Menopause?
The first thing needed is proper preparation so it can be easy to handle. As ovaries stop ovulating, a certain hormonal cycle gets disturbed. This is the root cause of all these changes. What is needed here is some good nutritional advice and lifestyle modifications. Here are some suggestions to be implemented. A female may need to consult a doctor or dietician as per her needs.
How To Handle Menopause?
Here are some tried and tested tips for smoothly handling this situation.
1. Estrogen-Building Foods:
At menopause, the estrogen hormone decreases, so include food items that support estrogen build-up in the body. Some food items like soybeans, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, fenugreek, whole grains, apricots, dates, berries, cauliflower, etc., contain phytoestrogen (plant estrogen), which actually do not raise the estrogen level, but block receptors for bad estrogen, which automatically raises good estrogen and thus eases menopause conditions. So, do not wait. Include these foods in the diet as soon as possible.
2. Manage Weight:
This is always a dream for all girls to manage their weight. Now at this stage, there is a medical requirement, and it will solve many problems automatically. Excess weight puts pressure on joints, and at this time, when bones also become weaker, a female needs to keep themselves in good shape. Do not go for crash measures for weight loss as they will make them nutrient deficient, which will cause more complications. Adopt a diet plan which helps in healthy weight management and work on fat loss without impacting their muscle strength.
3. Maintain Hemoglobin Level:
Sometimes, there is excess bleeding, so do not hesitate to take iron supplements to keep hemoglobin levels in control. I prefer ayurvedic or homeopathic options as their absorption is better and there are no side effects. (usually, allopathic supplements cause constipation). Add iron-rich food to their diet like overnight soaked raisins, peanuts combined with jaggery, spinach, whole cereals, pulse combinations, beetroot, apricots, and so on. The list is quite long, and a female will get a good platter as per their taste.
4. Keep an Eye On Calcium and Vitamin D Levels:
As an impact of aging plus hormonal swings, osteoporosis (weaker and fragile bones) occurs, to prevent this daily sit for 20 to 30 minutes in slanting sunlight (morning or evening) and ensure to have proper calcium intake so that vitamin D gets absorbed well. Rich sources of Calcium are dairy products (milk, curd, cottage cheese, sesame seeds, mushrooms, ragi, and eggs. Non-vegetarian options are fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon), etc. If required, take supplements to. Choose them wisely and as per the prescription.
5. Avoid Trigger Foods:
Some food items may trigger hot flashes, mood swings, and profuse sweating at night. These are caffeinated drinks and alcohol, so if a female is very fond of them then do take them before 4 PM, they do not disturb her sleeping routine. Sugary and spicy foods are also classified as trigger food, so it is advised to minimize that to the possible extent.
6. Chew On Seeds:
One of the biggest problems during menopause is the depletion of micronutrients and vitamins. To combat this depletion, enrich the food intake with different kinds of seeds like pumpkin, melon, sunflower, and cucumber. These will fulfill the daily requirement of micronutrients. Simply dry roast them and have them as snacks. Adiv or Halim or garden cress seeds are particularly beneficial in managing hormonal imbalance. Traditionally they are eaten as treats with jaggery, ghee, and coconut.
7. Have a Balanced Diet:
A balanced diet means the inclusion of food items from all five food groups: cereals, pulses, fruits, vegetables & nuts. This will make the food complete in all terms. Follow a diet plan and ensure daily intake of all balanced food. A trick here is that no one can eat a balanced diet in a single meal, so spread it and follow a daily diet in such a way that it includes all groups, and keep a rotation of various items to get maximum benefits.
8. Stay Active:
This is not a medical requirement, but being active will help in many ways. A female will like to be in bed but that is not going to ease their problems. Follow a daily exercise plan, do not sit in one place for a longer time, stay active and avoid being idle. Have a weekly schedule of stretching, yoga, and meditations. This will keep a female up-spirited. Along with the tips, keep a positive mental mind frame, try to be happy, and pursue a hobby that keeps them happy. That is one of the most important things a female needs. Keep engaged, stay hydrated, and welcome the change in the body to be a free bird again. This will help a female to relish their life.
Menopause is the natural cessation of a woman's menstrual cycle. So there is no need to worry. If the menopause symptoms are severe, they can be managed by lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise, meditation, or yoga. The other modifications are maintaining weight, staying hydrated, maintaining hemoglobin levels, and avoiding triggering foods.
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