According to the World Health Organization (WHO), menopause is defined for most women as the cessation of monthly menstruation (also known as a menstrual period or ‘period’) owing to ovarian follicular function decrease. This signifies that the ovaries no longer produce eggs for fertilisation.
The regularity and duration of a woman’s menstrual cycle fluctuate throughout her reproductive life, but the age at which natural menopause occurs for women worldwide is normally between 45 and 55 years.
Natural menopause is defined as the cessation of menstruation for 12 consecutive months with no other clear physiological or pathological reason and in the absence of therapeutic intervention, according to WHO.
“Perimenopause is the period between menopause and the termination of monthly menstrual periods. This shift signals the end of the reproductive phase in women and is accompanied by a slew of annoying symptoms that impair quality of life. It may last 3-5 years, depending on how each lady experiences it “According to Dr. Manisha Mishra Goswami, Medical Adviser of Charak Pharma Pvt Ltd. She went on to explain the role of hormones in perimenopause:
Role Of Hormones In Perimenopause:
Estrogen and progesterone, the reproductive hormones, gradually start to decline as people age, particularly so in their 40s. Estrogen is the main hormone that plummets when ovarian activities become unpredictable, causing a variety of symptoms.
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The Doctor further explained the common symptoms of perimenopause experienced in women:
Common Symptoms Of Perimenopause:
Irregular Periods: As the hormonal fluctuations begin, it affects the period cycles leading to irregular and heavy periods.
Hot Flashes & Night Sweats The majority of women going through perimenopause experience hot flashes, which are like heat waves rushing through the face and neck and may last for a few seconds to a few minutes. Some women experience transient warmth, while some could start sweating to the hot flash. This occurring at night results in night sweats.
Sleep Troubles: Even the deepest sleeper might face trouble sleeping during perimenopause, mostly due to night sweats and hormonal fluctuations
Weight Gain: As hormones alter, some women gain weight around the waist, and a slower metabolism compounds the problem. Women may also report fatigue, vaginal dryness, irritability and mood swings, cognitive fog, increased urination frequency and bloating.
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Perimenopausal women require access to high-quality health care, as well as communities and institutions that can help them. Unfortunately, in most countries, both knowledge and access to menopause-related information and treatments remain substantial challenges. Menopause is frequently avoided in families, communities, businesses, and healthcare settings.
Women may be unaware that the symptoms they are experiencing are connected to menopause, or that there are counselling and therapy alternatives available to help them feel better. Those suffering from menopausal symptoms may be embarrassed or humiliated to bring their experiences to light and ask for help.
Dr. Manisha Mishra Goswami stated, “Menopause is an unavoidable part of life, and we may relieve it with food and lifestyle changes, as well as supplements.”
According to the doctor, these few suggestions can help us ease perimenopause:
Diet: Ayurveda suggests eating nourishing, easy-to-digest, unctuous, and warm foods and fluids to pacify the symptoms. Seeds like methi and fennel are rich in natural estrogens and should be a part of the diet. Include spices like jeera, ajwain, and hing to ease bloating. Do not eat cold, dry, spicy, stale, and processed food as it might aggravate symptoms.
Lifestyle: Keep your calm and practice yoga and pranayama. Studies have proven that breathing exercises help ease hot flashes and reduce irritability. Ensure that you exercise regularly. Avoid alcohol and smoking. Oil massages once a week also help reduce symptoms. Share your worries with near and dear ones as it helps reduce stress and anxiety. Read some inspirational books or cultivate new hobbies which keep you occupied and focused.
Supplements: Ayurveda suggests the use of rasayan or rejuvenating herbs like shatavari and ashwagandha to fight the perimenopausal blues. Natural supplements rich in natural estrogen, like forty-first women tablets from Charak Pharma, which are enriched with soy isolflavones, green tea, and ginseng also are useful to help ease perimenopause symptoms.
Changes in the narrative, such as normalising menopause and highlighting positive or neutral features like freedom from menstruation, pregnancy, and contraception, together with knowledge on how to manage problematic symptoms, may give women more confidence to manage menopause.
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