Menopause is a natural phenomenon in women when they attain a certain age. As it is related to hormonal imbalances, some care is needed to handle the transition smoothly. Here is a brief write-up to take you through all aspects and handling your physical and mental situations during the phase.
Menopause is a word that has lots of misconceptions around it. Due to lack of information and hesitation to seeking consultations, it makes 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, you need not remind yourself of the date of the period. You are a free bird again as you were in your childhood but with an older body. Sounds quite normal.
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 is happening at 50 or more and should be taken as a phase of life.
Menarche (onset of menstruation) comes with irregular periods. Similarly, at this stage, also irregularity in menses is the first symptom. This takes almost 6 to 12 months to get settled. Other symptoms include hot flushes, breast tenderness, reduced sex drive, vaginal dryness, and emotional mood swing. To mention, in some cases, heavy flow is also observed. Not to worry, it is not a big deal for us. We all have handled this many times, remember every month menses and after pregnancy.
The first thing needed is proper preparation so it can be easy to handle. As ovaries stop ovulating, so 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. You may need to consult a doctor or dietician as per your need. So, before you are in the zone, get in touch with your wellness coach.
Here are some tried and tested tips for smoothly handling this situation.
1. Estrogen-Building Foods:
At menopause, estrogen hormone decreases, so include food items that support estrogen build-up in the body. Some food items like soybean, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, fenugreek, whole grains, apricots, dates, berry, cauliflower, etc., contain phytoestrogen (plant estrogen), which actually do not raise your estrogen level, but block receptors for bad estrogen, which automatically raise your relative good estrogen and thus eases menopause conditions. So, do not wait. Include these foods in your diet as soon as possible.
2. Manage Weight:
This is always a dream for all girls to manage weight. Now at this stage, it is our medical requirement, and it will solve many problems automatically. Excess weight puts pressure on joints, and at this time, when bones also become weaker, so it is very important for you to keep yourself 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 with help in healthy weight management and work on fat loss without impacting your 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 in your diet like overnight soaked raisins, peanut combined with jaggery, spinach, whole cereals, and pulse combinations, beetroot, apricots, and so on. The list is quite long, and you will get a good platter as per your 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) ensure to have proper calcium intake so that vitamin D gets absorbed well. Rich sources for Calcium are dairy products (milk, curd, cottage cheese, sesame seeds, mushrooms, ragi, eggs. Non-vegetarian options are fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon), etc. If required, take supplements too. Choose them wisely and as per your prescription.
5. Avoid Trigger Foods:
Some food items may trigger hot flashes, mood swings, and profuse sweating at night. These are caffeinated drinks and alcohols, so if you are very must fond of them do take them before 4 PM, so they do not disturb you in your 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 your food intake with different kinds of seeds like pumpkin, melon, sunflower, 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:
Balanced diet means the inclusion of food items from all five food groups: cereals, pulses, fruits, vegetables & nuts. This will make your food complete in all terms. Follow a diet plan and ensure daily intake of all balanced food. A trick here is that as no one can eat a balanced diet in a single meal, so spread it and do follow a daily diet in such a way that it includes all groups, 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. You will like to be in bed but trust me, that is not going to ease your problems. Follow a daily exercise plan, do not sit in one place for a longer time, stay active avoid being idle. Have a weekly schedule of stretching, yoga, and meditations. This will keep you up spirited. Along with the tips, keep a positive mental mind frame, try to be happy, pursue a hobby that keeps you happy. That is one of the most important things you need. Keep yourself engaged, stay hydrated, and welcome the change in the body to be a free bird again. This will help you to relish your 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.
Last reviewed at:
28 Apr 2022 - 4 min read
Query: Hi doctor, I am 63 years old. It has been seven years since my menopause. My endometrial thickness is 10 mm now and the uterus is normal. Two years before, the thickness was 8.6 mm. I have no symptom such as bleeding. Please suggest any guideline for further tests. Read Full »
Query: Hello doctor, I am a 57-year-old male. Happily married since the last 26 years to a very loving and caring lady. We have an equally loving daughter. We are a religious family, well settled, financially, socially and professionally, and by the grace of God, have no significant issues in life. My wif... Read Full »
Query: Hello doctor, I have irregular periods and vaginal dryness. I also have premenstrual spotting, followed by three days of profuse bleeding. I got an IUCD placed ten years back. I use Minoxidil 5 % for topical application, since three months, but I stopped it 15 days back. I have a history of vitamin ... Read Full »
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