Menopause: A Time In Life

Menopause generally occurs between the ages of 45-55, although it can occur as early as the 30s or as late as the 60s, when a women’s menstrual period ceases, and the ovaries permanently stop releasing eggs.
Menopause is a natural part of life and does not automatically require treatment.  Symptoms and health risks associated with low estrogen can be treated.  These include hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and osteoporosis.

A number of physical and emotional symptoms may occur as menopause approaches.  Women entering menopause often experience:

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Hot flushes and night sweats
  • Disturbed sleep patterns, insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dry skin
  • Vaginal dryness and pain with sexual intercourse
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Diminished interest in sex
  • Headaches
  • Achy Joints
  • Fatigue
  • Early morning awakening

Diet can play an important and beneficial roll.  A healthy diet during menopause can improve a women’s sense of well-being, and may also reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.  The diet should be low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium and vitamin D.  Low fat does not mean no-fat.  Some fats, especially the Omega-3 fats are essential.

High consumption of caffeine or alcohol is never a good choice.  Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol may reduce symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and loss of calcium.

A healthy lifestyle should embrace regular exercise.  Weight bearing exercises such as walking, climbing stairs, and resistance exercises such as lifting weights help strengthen bones and decrease the risk of osteoporosis.

Stress management can help ease tension, anxiety, and may assist with other menopausal symptoms.  Deep breathing, massage, warm baths, and quiet music are relaxation techniques that may lessen stress.