- By Dr Anjila Aneja
International Women's Day 2020: Menopause is that brief time when a woman's reproductive life comes to an end. It is when the ovaries produce no more eggs, and when the release of the hormone oestrogen comes to an end. This 'change' of life is marked by the end of menstrual periods. The symptoms, which many experience during menopause , are primarily a result of oestrogen deficiency. Symptoms may be short term (like hot flushes , night sweats) or long term (like Osteoporosis) they may be physical and may affect different parts of the body.
Menopause: At what age does it occur in women?
The average age of Menopause in India is 50 years.It can happen anytime between 45 years of age to 50 years of age.
Menopause: What are the main symptoms and signs?
Generally, periods start to become more erratic, with the menstrual cycle often becoming shorter and the bleeding heavier.
Signs of menopause include:
Hot flushes –In Menopause, four out of five women experience hot flushes and night sweats.
Keep cool: Wear cotton rather than man made fibers like polyester and wear clothes in layers so they can be removed as the temperature rises. Cotton sheets, night dresses and bed clothes might help cope with night sweats.
Incontinence: It usually means 'leaking' after coughing, sneezing or exercising. With the 'change of life' , chances of incontinence increases because the tissues supporting the bladder are further weakened . However, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) which replaces the body's natural oestrogen has been shown to help incontinence and reduce urinary tract infections.
Infections: After menopause, oestrogen levels fall, resulting in a menopausal woman becoming more susceptible to urinary and vaginal infections. This commonly results in symptoms such as dryness, burning, itching and pain.
Changes in mood: When you reach Menopause, it is not uncommon to experience psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety and mood swings. However, there is no clear evidence that changes in hormone levels are directly responsible for this. What is certain that around the time of Menopause there are often many other changes, going on in ones' s life.
For example, children leaving home, the loss of parents or relatives, parents becoming dependent, and health in general may decline.
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms or need to know more about menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy ( HRT), then make sure that you meet your gynecologist.
(The columnist is Director –Obstetrics & Gynecology, Fortis La femme, New Delhi. Views expressed are the author's own.)