Menopause refers to the time at which a woman stops having menstrual periods. It is defined as the absence of menses for 12 consecutive months. It occurs mostly after age 45, although this can vary widely. Menopause, and specifically the symptoms of menopause, can be challenging, both emotionally and physically. Yet for many women, the change of lifestyle is something they welcome.
Peri-menopause will start when the ovaries start producing less estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen regulates menstruation while progesterone is more involved with preparing the body for pregnancy. Postmenopause occurs after menopause. During this stage, women with lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. The risk of these conditions can be reduced with healthy lifestyle.
Symptoms of perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause vary from woman to woman. However, common symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness and itching
- Irregular periods
- Lower fertility
- Mood swings
- Hair loss
- Food craving
Good diet can help prevent or ease certain conditions that may develop during and after menopause.
- Getting eight glasses of water a day fulfils the daily requirement for most healthy adults.
- Cut back on alcohol as they hinder the absorption of nutrients and produce heat in the body.
- Your calcium needs increase during menopause because the loss of estrogen can speed up bone loss. Consider a combination of calcium-rich foods in your diet, like milk and non-fat yogurt, and calcium supplements.
- Eat nuts and seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, almonds contain vitamin E, zinc and calcium.
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Dr. Anjali Hooda Sangwan is MBBS and MD in Internal Medicine, and has done her fellowship in Obesity and Clinical. She is currently working as a consultant in Consultant at FORTIS C-DOC, B-16, Chirag Enclave, New Delhi.
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