Let’s talk menopause! Look out for these symptoms | The Financial Express

Let’s talk menopause! Look out for these symptoms

arly initiation of treatment for symptomatic women, before the age of 60 years or within 10 years after menopause, offers multiple benefits with minimal risk.

Let’s talk menopause! Look out for these symptoms
There are several treatments available to manage menopause, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of them which helps to alleviate symptoms that can affect daily activities. (File)

Dr. Reenu Jain

Radhika (44), an advertising executive, had been experiencing irregular periods, insomnia, and mood swings for almost two months. Confusing these symptoms as signs of stress, she put off going to a doctor. She felt constantly tired and was unable to do her daily chores. She then started bleeding several days a month for the next 4 months. When she visited her gynaecologist, she was told that her symptoms signalled the onset of menopause.

Radhika’s story is not unique. Every woman undergoes menopause and most of them are not aware about the symptoms due to several reasons. The term ‘Menopause’ is derived from the Greek words meno (month) and pause (to end). When a woman does not menstruate for at least a year, she is said to be menopausal. This occurs due to a drop in oestrogen and progesterone, hormones produced by the ovary. With increased life expectancy, there is a greater population of menopausal women.

More than the stopping of menstruation, the years leading up to menopause (called perimenopause) have a profound effect on women. This is because many experience symptoms like

  • hot flashes (sweating and flushing of the skin)
  • vaginal dryness
  • sleep disturbances
  • urinary infections
  • hair loss
  • incontinence (leakage of urine)
  • weight gain

The need for improved menopause awareness in India

In India, the mean age of menopause in women is around 46 yrs., nearly five years before the global counterparts. Menopause continues to be a taboo subject in India and women normally hesitate to seek medical help for their symptoms. Without knowledge, many dismiss the disturbing and painful symptoms of menopause as signs of ageing. Though often misunderstood, menopausal symptoms have a negative impact on all aspects of a woman’s life—her confidence, relationships, physical health, and career. In addition to the symptoms, if left untreated, the loss of hormones during menopause can also increase the chances the heart disease and porous bones (osteoporosis). Therefore, it is pivotal that women become aware of its physical, mental, and emotional impact and seek appropriate treatment.

Myths about menopause

Menopause is just as normal and natural as menstruation. While there is a need to prioritize women’s health, we bust some common misconceptions:

-Menopause starts after 50: While the global average for menopause is 51 years, some women can experience menopause in their 40s as well and experience transitionary symptoms way before that. Certain factors like surgery, cancer treatments, or genetic reasons can also impact the onset.

-Menopause symptoms linger for years: The symptoms are triggered by a drop in hormonal levels. The type of symptoms and the severity of the same differs from person to person.

-Missing a few periods marks menopause: Irregular periods can be a sign of perimenopause but not menopause. It is defined as the complete cessation of menstruation for a minimum of a year at a stretch.

Menopause is not a disease or a disorder, but a natural transition. Here are a few helpful tips to manage it better.

-Regular exercise can help alleviate the severity of symptoms
-Quit smoking and drinking, and follow a healthy lifestyle
-Ensure an adequate intake of nutrients
-Educate yourself about the symptoms and practice self-care
-Go for regular doctor consultations
-Seek help through support groups to deal with the emotional and physical changes

Menopause management

There are several treatments available to manage menopause, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of them which helps to alleviate symptoms that can affect daily activities. During this treatment synthetic forms of the hormones boost the level of estrogen and progesterone in the body. HRT is a WHO-backed therapy that is helpful in treating menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, and discomfort, and brings down the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases later in life. Early initiation of treatment for symptomatic women, before the age of 60 years or within 10 years after menopause, offers multiple benefits with minimal risk. Consult a doctor today to know what works best for you.

(The author is a rAssociate Director Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Jaypee Hospital, Noida. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)

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First published on: 19-11-2022 at 10:00 IST