By Dr. Garima Kaur, Gynaecology
Menopause is a natural biological process, which means the end of menstrual cycles in women. After menopause, a woman can no longer bear a child. Women generally experience menopause in their late forties or fifties. Though it does not affect your health majorly, there are a number of symptoms that occur in menopausal women which can affect their lives and lead to anxiety and a sense of loss.
These symptoms should be treated properly and not be ignored. Here is a list of the primary symptoms of menopause and how to treat them:
- Hot flashes and night sweats – These two are common symptoms of menopause. They can be treated by simple means such as wearing light clothes, keeping your room cool at night or taking cool showers. Reducing stress will also give relief from these symptoms. You must also avoid triggers such as caffeine, spicy food, tobacco and alcohol. If these measures fail to work, hormonal replacement therapy should be undertaken. Hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) – HRT incorporates the consumption of estrogen to balance the drop in estrogen levels in the body during menopause. This helps in giving relief to several symptoms. HRT is an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweating.
- Mood swings – Mood swings are experienced by many women during menopause. Many women suffer from low mood cycles and anxiety. To tackle this, one should take a lot of rest, work out regularly and practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation and tai chi. Medications can also be taken and cognitive-behavioral therapy can be tried.
- Reduced libido – During menopause, it is common for women to have reduced desire to have sex. HRT is an effective treatment for this symptom. Testosterone supplements can also be prescribed. Although testosterone is a male sexual hormone, it helps in restoring the sex drive in women during menopause.
- Vaginal dryness – The vagina may get dry, itchy or painful during menopause. Estrogen can be taken by putting it directly into the vagina. Creams and a vaginal ring are other options for curing this symptom. Vaginal moisturizers and lubricants can also be used.
- Weak bones – In their menopause years, women are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis due to lower level of body estrogen. This causes the bones to become brittle and thin, increasing the chance of fractures and pain in the body. The chances of bone weakening can be avoided by taking HRT treatment, working out regularly and having a healthy, balanced diet with enough fruits and vegetables. Exposure to sunlight is also essential to obtain vitamin D, which strengthens the bones. Calcium should be taken, and the habits of smoking and drinking should be cut down.
Though these are the general symptoms that most women experience, all women do not experience the same symptoms of menopause. The good part is that there is help at hand for most of the symptoms that arise due to this condition.