Do you know what menopause is and what the symptoms are?
The term " menopause " derives from the Greek " men " month and " pausis " cessation and represents the medical condition that occurs when the body no longer produces ova, estrogen, progesterone and the menstrual cycle stops.
It is a passage that does not happen suddenly, without warnings, but gradually over an interval that varies from a few months to a few years and which is accompanied by a progressive decline in ovarian function.
Menopause represents a major change in a woman's life, not only physically, but also mentally. It is essential to understand that it is a physiological phase of life such as puberty was and not a problem or a disease.
There are three stages of menopause :
- Pre menopause : it is the transition period from the fertile phase to menopause and it begins when hormonal alterations trigger the first symptoms such as hot flashes, irregular cycle and sleep, tiredness, mood swings and increase in body weight. This period is extremely variable even if, in principle, it begins around the age of 40-45 (but it could also be at 35-40) with the gradual cessation of ovarian functionality and, therefore, with the decrease in the production of female hormones . It should also be noted that the age of the climacteric depends not so much on the first menstruation, but on genetic predisposition. However, some factors such as smoking can accelerate the end of it, as well as the weight which, if normal, guarantees a longer fertile life.
- Menopause : it is clinically defined as 12 consecutive months of absence of the menstrual cycle and generally occurs around the age of 45-55. Among the symptoms felt by most women are: sudden sweating, tachycardia, irregular sleep, vaginal dryness, sudden mood changes, skin changes, weight gain, loss of muscle tone and the feeling of a slowdown in the ability to learn.
- Post menopause : it is the period after 12 months in which the woman has not had a menstrual cycle, which continues for the rest of her life. During this time, as hormone levels stabilize, the body adjusts to its new balance and some women may have higher energy levels than they once did.
The arrival of menopause
it represents a particularly delicate moment due to the many physical and psychological changes related to it. The reactions and methods of response and adaptation to this great "change" depend, beyond hormonal changes, on a long series of individual and social factors, such as personality, socio-family and work context. For this reason, some women experience menopause as a hostile moment, attributing to the disappearance of menstruation a meaning of loss and a loss of femininity.
Others, on the other hand, appreciate the fact that they no longer have a menstrual cycle, accepting this moment with ease and serenity and becoming aware that we have arrived at that stage of life in which we can allow ourselves greater creativity and freedom. This optimistic approach allows for a new rediscovery of oneself and a more authentic recognition of one's own time and personal space, being able to dedicate time and attention to oneself.
In menopause , these are the recommendations:
- the skin needs more hydration: it should be stressed that moisturizing creams are not enough, as nutrition and lifestyle are also essential. In particular, it is absolutely recommended to drink at least a liter and a half of water a day as well as prefer fresh vegetables and fruit to help the skin have an adequate amount of water. In addition to fresh and seasonal fruit and vegetables, it is advisable to consume valuable and less caloric proteins, in particular oily fish, rich in vitamin D, white meats, low-fat dairy products and "good fats" such as extra virgin olive oil olive which, being rich in omega 9, promotes cardiovascular protection. Furthermore, the use of salt should be limited, preferring iodized salt, again to support cardiovascular well-being and to reduce water retention. To maintain bone strength and density and to prevent osteoporosis, a calcium-rich diet is not sufficient, and must be enriched with optimal levels of vitamin D to aid in the absorption of calcium from foods. Finally, to naturally modulate estrogen levels in the body, it is recommended to include foods rich in phytoestrogens in the diet, i.e. soy-based products, nuts and seeds, legumes and cereals,
- physical activity has a positive effect on general well-being, increases metabolism, has a beneficial effect on mood, counteracts bone loss and is optimal for the health of mind and body. To have benefits it is sufficient to walk at a fast pace for 30 minutes at least 5 times a week . "Soft" sports practices such as yoga and pilates are particularly recommended which, in addition to toning the muscles, can be of great help in reducing anxiety and stress. With physical exercise, the so-called "hormones of happiness" increase, which also have a positive effect on mood;
- adopt all those behaviors that guarantee correct "sleep hygiene" such as: respecting one's own sleep-wake rhythm, avoiding the intake of stimulating substances (tea, coffee, nicotine, sugars) in the evening, taking meals at regular times and in small amount at dinner, rest on a comfortable bed in a cool, quiet, well-ventilated and dark room.