Read our expert's insight into the different factors that determine the type and extent of symptoms that a woman is likely to experience during menopause and her tips on how to improve symptoms.
The menopause is a normal physiological process although the age can vary. The age of menopause is affected by genetics or family history, which means that you will probably go through menopause around the same time as your other close female relatives (grandmother, mother, or sister) did, give or take a few years.
[Read: Post Menopausal Health Risks]
Prognosis of Menopause
- The decrease of estrogen and progesterone are permanent, but the symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, and mood changes usually resolve in most women within 5 to 10 years. Hot flushes are most severe around the age of 53 years and in most women resolve by 65 years. Hot flushes and other symptoms of menopause respond best to hormone replacement therapy. Other overt symptoms of menopause can take about 1 to 2 years to resolve but may persist for longer time in some women.
- Hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms tend to be worse in women who have premature menopause due to gynecologic surgery or chemotherapy.
- Risk of certain diseases such as cardiovascular problems (such as heart attacks and strokes), blood cholesterol levels, and osteoporosis, is increased in women after menopause. These conditions can significant increase the morbidity and risk of death in women. The risk of these problems can be prevented or delayed with hormonal replacement (but HRT is not without risks).
- Genital atrophy occurs after menopause. It may stay the same or worsen with time. Use of water-based, over-the-counter vaginal lubricant can reduce the dryness briefly and make sex more comfortable. Consult your doctor for vaginal moisturizer (it can help keep the needed moisture in your vagina). If these do not help vaginal estrogen creams are a better choice.
Ways to improve Menopause Symptoms
You cannot prevent menopause but certain lifestyle changes can make this period more enjoyable and decrease or minimise the impact of symptoms on your life.
- Exercise regularly: Any exercise is for 20 to 30 minutes on most days of a week, can improve your overall health. Exercise also helps to strengthen the bones, muscles and can improve sleep.
- Eat healthy and have plenty of fluids. Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, dairy products and whole grain food products in your daily diet. Avoid fatty foods, processed foods and sweetened beverages. To maintain healthy bones, after menopause your body needs about 1500mg of calcium daily from dairy products, such as milk products and cheese and/or supplements.Fruits and vegetables provide you fiber, necessary minerals and vitamins---all of which are needed for good general health and prevention of certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
- Have soy flour (or other foods rich in so-called ‘plant oestrogen’). It can possibly reduce menopausal flushings according to some studies.
- Quit smoking as it is never good for your health. It is a good way to improve your health, whatever the age.
- Remain at healthy weight. According to some research symptoms of menopause tend to be worse in overweight or obese women.
Read more articles on Menopause.
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