‘Menopause’ in a real sense implies to ‘end of the menstruation or monthly periods’. The word ‘Menopause’ comes from the Greek word ‘men’ (month) means monthly and ‘pausis’ (pause) means stop. So, menopause means the complete stoppage of the monthly cycle. It is also referred to as ‘the change of life’ or “climacteric period”
It is the transformation from the reproductive to the non-reproductive age group. The complete stoppage of periods is because of the loss of ovarian follicular activity, which occurs when the ovaries stop their primary functions completely. Menopause is an unavoidable change that each woman experiences, and it is a natural part of aging in women. It does not refer to one day change, but rather the entirety of the menopausal transformation years.
This stage of each woman’s life is by all accounts somewhat inconvenient because of the increasing incidence of many involved health ailments.
The Time of Menopause:
It occurs in the time frame of a woman’s life, particularly between the ages of 45 and 50, and the monthly cycle stops.
This is natural menopause which happens because of a decline in the production of hormones estrogen and progesterone by ovaries. This phase may start between 45 to 55 years of age. However, the average age for menopause to occur is found to be 51 years.
The age at which menopause happens is hereditarily predetermined and not linked with the period of menarche, last pregnancy, lactation, the use of the oral pill, or socioeconomic condition or race, stature, weight.
This is not natural menopause; there is sudden stoppage of menses before the age of 40 years. Once in a while menses may stop before the age of 40 years, as the ovaries won’t produce sufficient estrogen hormone, and won’t release the eggs routinely. The beginning of early menopause could be expected if there is a family background of the same, smoking, or radiation therapy which is used to treat cancer and if one has undergone surgery wherein both the ovaries are removed.
Phases of Menopause:
Phases of menopause are usually divided into 4 categories:
It is the time before the onset of menopause.
Symptoms of Pre-Menopause:
4) Vaginal dryness
This stage starts 10 years before menopause. Ovaries gradually make less estrogen and the level of Follicle-stimulating-hormone increases; this continues till the time the menses are completely stopped.
Symptoms of Perimenopause:
Here are some common symptoms of perimenopause.
1) Irregular periods
2) Menses that are lighter or heavier than before
2) Hot flashes
3) Breast tenderness
4) Weight gain
5) Changes in hair
6) A loss of sexual drive
7) Body ache
9) Mood swings
In this phase, there is the end of menstruation.
Symptoms of Menopause:
Common symptoms of the menopausal phase are:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Trouble sleeping/ Insomnia
- Joint pain, myalgia
- Palpitations (Heart Racing)
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Trouble focusing
- A loss of Libido
- Less hair on the head and more on the face, etc.
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
- Frequent urination
- Post-menopausal: It is defined as the time after which a woman has not experienced menses for 12 consecutive months.
Diagnosis of Menopause:
Normally, the symptoms and signs of menopause are enough to understand that the menopausal changeover has started. The tests commonly aren’t expected to analyze menopause. At times, a further assessment might be suggested to rule out another condition called Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism) as it may manifest similar symptoms as those of menopause.
If one wants to diagnose menopause, measuring the estrogen, progesterone, and Follicle-stimulating-hormone (FSH) hormone levels in the blood can help. FSH increases and estrogen and progesterone levels decline as menopause happens.
Menopausal Syndrome: Conventional Treatment
- Hormone Treatment: Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) for relieving menopausal hot flashes. HRT is an arrangement made up of hormones that help to supplant the body’s natural production of a hormone, and, consequently, soothe manifestations related to the natural decline of the hormone. Estrogen treatment is given to beat the short-term and long-term results of estrogen inadequacy.
- Vaginal estrogen: Vaginal cream or tablet is used to soothe vaginal dryness.
- Gabapentin to reduce hot flashes.
Menopausal Syndrome: Homeopathic Treatment
Homeopathy is highly effective in the treatment of menopause and perimenopause. Homeopathy is a holistic method of treatment that can be successfully used in the treatment of such hormonal manifestations.
Homeopathy does not comprise any hormone or any chemical-based medicines. Unlike conventional medicine, homeopathy seeks to treat each woman as an individual. The detailed case history is taken in regards to her physical complaints, genetic trait if any, emotional & mental make-up, dietary habits, sleep, dreams, etc. The case is studied as a whole, and not just physical or mental symptoms are considered. It considers symptoms as interconnected, based on which, the medicine is decided and such individualized medicine helps to improve the overall health of the patient. Each female is assessed as a unique person. The indicated homeopathic medicine should reflect everything about that particular woman.
The list of the commonly used homeopathic medicines for menopausal syndrome are:
- Calcarea carbonicum
- Sanguinaria canadensis
10 Helpful Diet Tips to Follow During Menopausal Phase:
The following tips will assist to promote overall well-being:
- Eat foods that are rich in Calcium and Vitamin D, and, if not, then take the supplement of the same to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and prevent fractures.
- To maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly.
- Ensure you consume plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Prefer to avoid trigger foods, such as caffeine, alcohol, and foods that are sugary or spicy, as they can trigger hot flashes, night sweats, and emotional episodes.
- Have foods such as soybean, soy products, dark leafy vegetables, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and beans as they are high in Phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant compounds that copy estrogen, so they can assist in balancing the hormones.
- Stay hydrated by drinking sufficient water.
- You may reduce the intake of refined sugar and processed fatty foods.
- Avoid smoking as smoking cigarettes speed up bone loss.
- Avoid alcohol.
- The regular practice of yoga and meditation will help to reduce stress.
So, if you are experiencing any discomforting symptoms of the menopausal phase, opt for homeopathy without a second thought to obtain relief gently, naturally, and safely without any side effects.
- Written by Dr. Mithila K., Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah