Just as teenage girls fear menstruation; middle-aged women fear menopause. A woman usually stops menstruating around late 40’s or early 50’s. This is called menopause. When a woman doesn’t get her menses for a period of twelve months consecutively, she is said to be in menopause. Menopause is a universal process that takes place in every woman. It is time to say goodbye to estrogen. Menopause is a gradual process that takes place over a period of time. It varies from person to person. This transitional period is known as peri-menopause. In other words, the body is preparing for menopause in the peri-menopausal period. Various changes, physical and hormonal, occur in a woman’s body during peri-menopause.
How do you know you are heading towards menopause?
Peri-menopause is indicated by the following symptoms in a woman in her 40’s:
• Sudden mood changes
• Abnormal vaginal bleeding
• Skipped or irregular periods
• Vaginal dryness
• Changes in libido
• Hot flashes
• Night sweats
• Muscle pain
• Joint aches
• Urinary problems
• Gain in weight
• Hair thinning and/or hair loss
• Difficulty in concentration
• Mental confusion
• Reduced bladder control
Women experience various emotional changes during this time and they need to make conscious efforts to cope with the transition that is occurring in their body.
Here are a few home remedies to prepare your body for menopause:
1. Keep an eye on your weight – Hormonal fluctuations may play havoc with your weight so you need to watch your weight. Many menopausal women report that they have noticed a sudden increase in their weight. Although this doesn’t happen to every woman but many become the victims of hormonal changes. Be active and exercise every day. Eat nutritious foods and avoid fatty foods. Check your weight regularly and keep fit.
2. Relax and rejuvenate yourself- Do not stress yourself. Relax and unwind yourself. Go to a spa and rejuvenate yourself. Stress needs to be avoided by all means because it makes you gain weight and also affects your health otherwise. Bond with other menopausal women and discuss your problems. Go out with friends and have a good time. Pamper yourself by giving yourself a bubble bath or getting a relaxing massage and pedicure. Keep yourself busy in work and read spiritual books and scriptures to alleviate depression and anxiety.
3. Quit smoking and limit alcohol – If you smoke then you need to stop doing that since smoking increase the chances of having hot flashes and sweating at night. Research has also shown that women who smoke are more likely to experience severe symptoms of menopause. Smoking anyways never did you any good; just stop torturing your lungs and all those around you. By quitting smoking, you’ll do a very big favor to your health and wellbeing. Alcohol intake should also be limited since it causes lots of severe menopausal symptoms.
4. Take care of your bones – The hormone estrogen helps to keep your bones strong but when you enter menopause, your body stops producing estrogen. So now the responsibility of keeping your bones healthy lies on you. Make sure you get enough calcium. Eat foods that contain calcium and you may even take some calcium and Vitamin D supplements after consulting a gynecologist. Vitamin D is required for absorption of calcium in the body.
5. Cut down on sugar – Eat less sugar in your diet since it can lead to weight gain. Also, excess sugar makes your blood sugar levels and energy levels to rise alarmingly. This can lead to increase in hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
6. Drink less caffeine – Caffeine is known to energize you and make you feel active. But too much caffeine has been associated with increased menopausal symptoms. Drink more of water and keep a glass of water near you while you sleep. Ice cold water will help you a lot in one of those hot flashes.
7. Care for your skin – As you near menopause, your hormonal levels change and they alter the nature of your skin. Some women might experience extremely oily skin along with acne and pimples. Others find their skin to be very dry. Use a good cleanser and toner to cleanse your skin. Use a hydrating non-sticky moisturizer. You would also need to start your anti-aging skin care regime since menopause also triggers changes in the production of collagen in the skin. As the production of estrogen in the boy stops, the production of melanin is also affected and women start getting dark spots. After menopause, the skin gets affected by the sun more intensely. Use a good sunscreen, anti-aging lotion and under-eye cream to reduce the fine lines and wrinkles on the skin.
8. Avoid spicy foods – Spicy foods act as a trigger for sweating and hot flashes. If you very spicy food, you’d need to make that moderately spicy so that you don’t end up feeling uneasy at night.
9. Practice yoga – Make yoga an essential and regular part of your routine. Not only does it help to keep your weight in check, it also helps to relieve stress. Yoga helps to exercise and stretch each and every part of your body and is very beneficial for your overall health and well being. It helps to get a good and sound sleep at night and energizes you for the day.
Unlike popular belief, there are various positive things to look out for when you go in to menopause. These are:
• No periods
• No fear of getting pregnant
• Menopausal women enjoy sex more than they did earlier
• No more cramps
• No more menstrual headaches
• Uterine fibroids stop growing
• No tension of staining and changing pads
• No need to plan your month according to your periods
Remember, menopause cannot be delayed nor can it be avoided. Menopause is a part of a woman’s life cycle. It is better to prepare yourself and face the transition gracefully. Just enjoy this chapter of your life!