Menopause is defined as the time when there is cessation of your menstrual cycle for 1 year. Menopause occurs due to natural decline of reproductive hormones when women reach 45-55 years.
Menopause can also occur due to following reasons other than natural cessation:
- Hysterectomy- Removal of uterus by surgery.
- Chemotherapy or radiation- These cancer therapies may cause menopause.
- Premature ovarian failure – Also called as Primary ovarian insufficiency, where your ovaries fails to produce natural hormones, results in menopause before the age of 40 years.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
- Changes in periods – you may experience irregular periods, variation in bleeding ranging from heavier or lighter bleeding than usual and occasional spotting.
- Vaginal dryness – Due to dryness you may have itching, burning in vulva, frequent urination. It may cause pain and slight bleeding during intercourse.
- Hot flashes – Sudden feeling of heat in your upper portion of the body or all over the body. Usually it lasts for 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Generally women experience hot flashes for 1 or 2 years after last menstruation.
- Night sweats – You may feel sweaty and flushed.There may be redness in face and neck.
- Sleep problems – You make feel difficulty in falling asleep or you may wake up earlier and feel to fall asleep again.
- Mood changes – Due to hormonal fluctuations you may experience irritability, depression.
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism – Due to hormonal fluctuation like hypothyroid, etc. you may put on weight.
- Changes in hair – Reduced oestrogen leads to hair loss and you may feel you hair is dry and brittle.
- Loss of breast fullness and dry skin – Loss of fatty tissue and collagen makes your skin drier and thinner.
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) – Some women are more prone to urinary tract infection during menopause.
- Decreased libido – You may lack interest in your sexual life due to vaginal dryness, slow or absent orgasmic response.
Diagnosis of Menopause
Usually no tests are required to diagnose menopause other than signs and symptoms. But, if you have any issues your doctor might recommend a few blood tests and scan.
It is better to visit your doctor during perimenopause for preventive health care and any medical concerns. Preventive health care can include recommended screenings at menopause, such as pap smear, colonoscopy, mammography, lipid screening, thyroid testing if suggested by your medical history, and breast and pelvic examinations.
Complications During Menopause
- Cardiovascular disease – When your estrogen levels decline, your risk of heart and blood vessels disease increases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women as well as in men.
- Osteoporosis – This condition causes bones to become brittle and weak, leading to an increased risk of fractures. During the first few years after menopause, you may lose bone density at a rapid rate, increasing your risk of osteoporosis. Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are especially susceptible to fractures of their hips, wrists and spine.
- Urinary incontinence – As the tissues of your vagina and urethra lose elasticity, you may experience frequent, sudden, strong urges to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine, or the loss of urine with coughing, laughing or during lifting weights.
- Pigmentation – You may notice dark patches on your face and neck region, making your face dull.
Home Remedies for Treating Menopausal Symptoms
- Eat fresh aloe vera gel 1tsp daily 3 times a day.
- Or Drink 1 cup of aloe vera juice once daily.
- Mix shatavari and vidari powder in the ratio 1:1. Take 1 spoon of this powder twice a day after food with warm water.
- Apply Jeevanthyadi yamakam or kumkumadi taila for pigmentation regularly.
- Drink a glass of pomegranate juice with 1 tsp of rock candy twice a day to overcome hot flashes.
- Boil 1 tsp of shatavari in a glass of milk and ½ glass of water, till it is reduced to 1 glass. Drink before going to bed.
- Do regular oil massage to improve your skin dryness and restore the natural glow.
To overcome calcium deficiency, eat foods rich in calcium
- Milk and milk products.
- Soya beans, soya milk, almonds.
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, turnip.
- Fortified orange juice, cereals with Vitamin D.
- Sea food.
- Sesame – daily chewing of a handful of white sesame in the morning provides at least 1200 mg of natural calcium.
- Soak 10 almonds overnight in water. In the morning, peel them and blend with a cup of warm milk and drink regularly.
Ayurvedic Medicines which are Helpful During Menopause
- Ashoka arista helps to regulate abnormal bleeding.
- Shatavari ghrita, kushmanda rasayana, Sarivadi kalpa helps to relieve hot flashes
- Manasamitra vati, Brahmi, Ashwagandha, etc helps manage mood swings, sleep disturbance and depression.
- Pravala pishti and Mukta bhasma provides calcium supplement and reduces burning sensation and UTI.
- Kukkutanda twak bhasma and lakshadi guggulu can be taken as calcium supplements.
- Vastyamayantaka ghrita helps to manage urinary incontinence and recurrent urinary tract infections.
External Treatment Modalities During Menopause
- Regular abhyanga helps to prevent skin dryness, reduces skin dullness, induces good sleep, and relaxes body and mind.
- You can undergo Shirodhara, shiro pichu and shiro abhyanga to relieve sleep disturbance, mood swings, and also it nourishes your hair, preventing it from becoming brittle and dull.
- Shashtika shali pinda sweda is a special type of fomentation, which nourishes the skin and also relieves hot flashes.
- Yoni pichu, yoni prakshalana helps to treat vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence and recurrent UTI.
- Do regular exercises like brisk walking for 30 minutes, at least 5 days a week, to maintain appropriate body weight, and to prevent joint and cardiovascular disorders.
- Relax yourself by doing meditation and pranayama.
- Practice Kegel exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which helps to overcome urinary incontinence.
Menopause is part and parcel of every woman’s life. It is not a disease. It is just a phase of life. Overcome the difficulties through natural ways and celebrate your womanhood.
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