Dealing with Menopause...

Holistic ways to manage your menopause. Preparing for a new chapter.

Irregular periods, mood changes, sleep problems, hot flashes— if this sounds familiar, you have likely reached that phase in your life which every woman goes through, yet very few talk about— menopause. 

Menopause is the stage that marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. While, globally, it begins around the age of 50, for Indian women, menopause typically begins earlier – roughly at 46.2 years of age on average. In fact, the body starts going through hormonal changes even before the onset of menopause— this phase is called perimenopause. Typically, perimenopause begins in the mid-40s or sometimes sooner. The level of estrogen, which is the main female hormone, fluctuates during this phase, giving rise to menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes and sleep problems. You may even notice signs of progression toward menopause, like menstrual irregularity, as early as your mid-30s.

As is the case with many aspects of menstrual health, there is a general lack of awareness around menopause, with the line between myth and truth often blurred. The fact that women are reluctant to talk about their health and about what they’re going through, only exacerbates this issue. Given the social stigma, misconceptions, and misinformation around menstruation, many stay silent about their experience, and are uncomfortable confiding in their family members or friends, regarding these matters. It can be isolating to have to face a plethora of unfamiliar symptoms, without even knowing what to expect. Open conversations around menopause will help women navigate this phase and live a fuller life.

Holistic lifestyle changes can play a huge role in alleviating the symptoms of menopause and easing this period.

Heed your nutritional needs

Having a well-balanced diet is necessary during any stage of life, but during menopause, it assumes even more importance. From changes in metabolism to managing the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disorders in the postmenopausal phase, your diet can play a key part in keeping you healthy. Your body starts losing calcium after the age of 30, and this loss is accelerated during menopause, with the fluctuation in estrogen. Include calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, selenium, magnesium, and beta-carotene in your diet to enhance your bone mineral density.

Menopause is also associated with loss of lean body mass and increase in fat mass. To control the fat mass, avoid a diet that is low on carbohydrates and high in fat. Let a nutritionist or your doctor recommend what your ideal protein intake should be. You can then tailor your diet to ensure it nourishes you adequately.

Breathe. Stretch. Relax. Repeat

Yoga is known to decrease menopausal symptoms, improve health and promote positive psychophysiological changes in perimenopausal and post-menopausal women. Practicing yoga postures in combination with meditation or breathing exercises, can enhance mindfulness and relaxation. In case you are new to the practice, make sure you get advice from an instructor, and attempt physical activity only under supervision.

Reach out for support

Speaking up about symptoms with family and friends and seeking their support can reduce the feeling of isolation during this time. Sharing your experience with other women that you may be close to, helps build solidarity and improves not just your mood, but also your morale.

Know when to seek help

While it helps to follow a balanced diet, work out and reach out to those close to you, it is also important to listen to your body and seek help when needed. In case of any physically or psychologically distressing symptoms that you can’t deal with, consult your doctor to understand what measures may work best for you or to know if you need any medical intervention.

Menopause can be a rough time in a woman’s life, but there is a lot that can be done to make this journey smoother. While it is important for women to stay on top of their health, it is also essential for families and communities to create safe spaces that enable women to gain access to the right sources of information, have honest conversations about their bodies, share their own unique experiences, and listen to other women’s lived realities. An environment of this kind will empower women to understand their bodies better, reach out to healthcare professionals if and when needed, maneuver their health concerns with greater ease and embrace a liberating new chapter in their lives. 

Disclaimer: This information is meant for general awareness only and is not meant to be a promotion or recommendation of product in any manner whatsoever. This information should not be considered as a substitute for doctor’s advice. Please consult your doctor for more information.