The onset of menopause can be a bit of a challenge for women. It is a significant change in your life and can be challenging to navigate. While the symptoms of menopause are not something you should dwell on, it can feel like a never-ending cycle of sadness, fatigue, hot flashes, and mood swings. This is why it is important to know what to expect.
Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, one of the founders of the world-class Budget IVF & Fertility Centre, says that understanding the changes that come with this stage of your life will help you cope and embrace the change rather than try to run from it.
Read on to learn about menopause, tips on how to deal with the changes, manage the symptoms, and what you can do to alleviate them.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is the end of menstruation for most women. It is the time when your ovaries stop producing estrogen, the hormone that regulates your menstrual cycle.
Menopause occurs at different times in different women, but it typically happens between the ages of 45-55. A woman's ovaries begin to shut down slowly during her mid-40s and more rapidly after age 50. The final stage of menopause starts when a woman's periods stop completely, and she has no production of estrogen or progesterone.
Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, among the best gynecologists in Mumbai, adds that although menopause is natural, it can be caused by other contributing factors, including trauma and surgical removal of the ovaries.
What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause?
Signs and symptoms of menopause can vary from woman to woman, but the following are some of the significant changes you can expect:
Irregular periods: The first symptom that menopause is nearing is usually your menstruation cycle becoming less regular. They may occur more or less frequently than usual, and they may be lighter or heavier.
Lower fertility: In the perimenopause stage, the estrogen levels start declining as you approach the end of your reproductive stage. This lowers the chances of your becoming pregnant.
Hot Flashes: Hot flashes are a common occurrence as menopause approaches. You may experience intense heat in your upper body. The sensation may begin in your face, neck, or chest before progressing either upward or downward.
It may also cause:
- Cold flashes along with night sweats
- Red patches on your skin
Hot flashes are most commonly experienced in the first year following the cessation of menstruation, but they can go on till 14 years after menopause.
Emotional changes: Shifts in hormone levels and sleep patterns can cause and contribute to significant emotional changes. Additionally, experiencing low libido and knowing that this is the end of your fertility can contribute to sadness and stress.
Depression, anxiety, and frustration are expected during menopause. It is not uncommon to be irritable and have crying fits.
However, if you or a loved one goes through such mood swings for 2 weeks or more, please consult with Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, an acclaimed gynecologist in Mumbai.
Disturbed Sleep: Night sweats, anxiety, and a frequent need to urinate may cause you to have disturbed and inadequate sleep.
A good workout and eating light meals before sleep can help you manage these issues.
Vaginal discomfort: During perimenopause (around menopause), you may experience dryness, itching, and pain in the vaginal area, which can continue until your menopause.
This may cause friction and pain during vaginal sex and increase infection risk if your skin breaks due to the friction.
Trouble with concentration: As estrogen levels drop, your brain becomes less active, reducing your brain energy levels. This results in foggy thinking, impaired short-term memory, and difficulty in concentrating
Physical changes: You may notice some physical changes like:
- Increase in visceral (abdominal) fat
- Weight gain
- Weight gain also causes tenderness and an increase in breast size
- Hair thinning or hair loss
- Urinary leakage when laughing or coughing
If you are experiencing these symptoms but are not in the age group that generally approaches menopause, please speak with Dr. Hrishikesh Pai.
He is a highly-experienced gynecologist in Mumbai and will be able to help pinpoint what is going on with your body and provide you with treatment options.
Can Menopause Cause Health Problems?
The likelihood of developing specific health problems tends to increase following menopause due to hormonal changes that occur.
Estrogen helps to protect various parts of your body, including your blood vessels and heart, brain, bones, skin, brain, and vagina. So when menopause causes your ovaries to stop producing estrogen, it makes your body more susceptible to certain ailments like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, breast cancer, etc.
How Are The Symptoms Treated?
Menopause is not a medical condition but rather a natural transition. It may, however, result in unwelcome physical and mental modifications.
Please read here about the treatment for menopause in Mumbai, which includes:
- HT - Hormone therapy
- VET - Vaginal estrogen therapy
- Low-dose antidepressants
- Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant)
- Clonidine tablet or patch
- Medicines to prevent or treat osteoporosis
- CBT - Cognitive behavioral therapy
Some Lifestyle Changes Can Help
The eminent gynecologist Dr. Hrishikesh Pai also advises that some lifestyle changes can help alleviate menopausal discomfort.
- Quit smoking
- Limit your alcohol consumption
- Increase intake of calcium-rich vegetables and fruits
- Take vitamin D and calcium supplements
- Exercise regularly
- Practice meditation to keep a calm mind
- Share your menopausal experience with loved ones
- Spend quality intimate time with your partner
- Volunteer in some activity that helps others
- Take up a hobby like knitting or painting
When you hear the word "menopause", it is natural to imagine hot flashes, irritable moods swings, and other uncomfortable side effects of the transition. While these are typical symptoms that you may be dreading about your looming menopause, it can also be a time of change for you.
You can turn this into a time of sharing your experiences with your friends and loved ones. You can start a new hobby; maybe reconnect with your creative side that lay forgotten all these years.
Please do not let your menopausal changes remain a challenge to handle. Schedule a visit with Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, a top-notch gynecologist in Mumbai, for a safe and effective solution to alleviate your discomfort.