Menopause (Climacteric) is a natural phase in a woman’s life marking the end of her reproductive years. It is signalled by not having a period in twelve months. It typically comes with an array of unpleasant symptoms that are difficult to endure. The good news is that there are several strategies and lifestyle changes that can help mitigate these symptoms effectively and make it a less challenging experience. This article will first state the symptoms of menopause and will then explore practical tips for managing menopausal symptoms.

The symptoms of menopause are:

  • Hot Flashes: Sudden, intense feelings of heat that spread across the body; accompanied by sweating and flushing of the skin.
  • Night Sweats: Episodes of excessive sweating while sleeping.
  • Irregular Periods: Irregular menstrual cycles w/ changes in frequency, duration & flow.
  • Vaginal Dryness: Decreased lubrication in the vaginal area; leading to pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.
  • Mood Swings: Fluctuations in mood, including irritability, anxiety, and/or depression. Attributed to the hormonal changes that occur during menopause.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep & getting quality sleep. Some women can also experience insomnia during menopause.
  • Fatigue: Feelings of tiredness and exhaustion
  • Weight Gain: Women may notice a shift in body composition and fat storage, particularly around the abdomen.
  • Memory & Concentration Issues: Difficulty in remembering, concentrating, and focusing. Commonly referred to as “brain fog.”
  • Joint & Muscle Aches: Increased susceptibility to joint pain, muscle rigidity and general body aches.
  • Changes in Sexual Desire: Some women experience a decrease in sexual desire and/or functioning during menopause.
  • Urinary Changes: Increased frequency of urination and a greater risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to changes in the urinary system.

It is important to note that not all women will experience the same symptoms, and the severity and duration of symptoms can vary.

The following are means of mitigating menopausal symptoms: –

  • Be Active:

Regular exercise is crucial during menopause as it helps alleviate various symptoms. Doing physical activities like walking, swimming, and yoga can improve mood, reduce hot flashes, increase energy levels, and promote better sleep. Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week is ideal.

  • Eat a Balanced Diet:

A healthy and balanced diet comprising a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats has a tremendously positive impact on managing menopausal symptoms. Increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake will help support bone health. Limit caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods as they can induce hot flashes and interfere with sleep.

  • Manage Stress:

Stress has the potential to exacerbate menopausal symptoms, so it is important to find effective techniques to cope with stress. Advisable activities include deep-breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga. Alongside this, engaging in hobbies, spending time with friends and family and prioritizing self-care are also valuable.

  • Sleep Well:

Many menopausal women face disrupted sleeping patterns. Establishing a regular sleep routine can promote the quality of your sleep. A cool, quiet, and comfortable bedroom is recommended. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals close to bedtime. Doing relaxation techniques like taking a bath and reading can also help in falling asleep. If sleep disturbances persist

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT):

HRT may be recommended by medical professionals (gynecologists) for women experiencing severe menopausal symptoms. HRT can assist in alleviating hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. However, it is essential to discuss the pros and cons of conducting this treatment with your physician, as HRT may not be suitable for everyone. There are alternative therapies (herbal remedies) that have been shown to provide relief for some women.

  • Keep a Healthy Weight:

Maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial for dealing with menopause. Excess weight can contribute to hot flashes, joint pain, and other health problems.

  • Be Hydrated:

Drinking adequate amounts of water helps in dealing with hot flashes and other symptoms. Stay hydrated throughout the course of each day by sipping water regularly. Avoid sugary drinks and excessive caffeine as they can dehydrate the body and exacerbate symptoms.

As a closing remark, menopause is an inevitable era in a woman’s life that presents itself with numerous physical and psychological changes. While the symptoms are challenging, implementing the strategies provided in this article can help women circumnavigate this transition with greater ease and comfort. Every woman’s encounter with menopause is unique so it is essential to listen to your body, seek support from healthcare professionals, and embrace self-care to empower yourself in this transformative journey. While it can be daunting, it is also a time of growth, self-discovery and newly adopted wisdom coming-of-age.

Article Credits
Dr. Bindu PS, Gynaecologist, CareMithra
Rohan Panicker, Creative Writer, CareMithra