Menopause symptoms are well known, however most women are unaware of a stage prior to menopause known as perimenopause. The condition and related symptoms are not common knowledge.
Perimenopause- The term means "around menopause" when a woman's body prepares for menopause. There is a depletion of estrogen or female hormone levels and women may not have monthly menstruation and thus cannot ovulate.
Dr Kavya Krishnakumar, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Motherhood Hospital, Chennai says that perimenopausal symptoms typically appear in women in their mid-forties. It is also possible that a woman would skip this stage entirely and go straight to menopause.
It's likely that your cycles are heavier because the lining of your uterus is thicker before being shed, says the expert. "A reduction in the hormone progesterone triggers this. It can also worsen other problems, such as fibroids (uterine wall growths). If oestrogen production is abnormal, small quantities of the uterine lining or endometrium can be shed, resulting in irregular vaginal bleeding. The time between ovulatory events can grow longer. The endometrium begins to grow throughout this period and can become very dense."
Also, Read► Ayurvedic ways to treat PCOS or PCOD
Changes in Your Cycle
The first symptoms of menopause are typically shifts in one's period. Your time, for example, may begin to occur every six to eight weeks. You may have to wait a few months before it reappears. From time to time, you can experience a heavier or lighter flow. It's important to note, however, that you can still become pregnant during perimenopause, the doctor points out.
"As a result, continue to use birth control as normal in the months leading up to menopause. Also, if you haven't had your period in a while and aren't sure if perimenopause has begun, a pregnancy test is a good place to start."
You become flushed and begin to sweat for 5 to 10 minutes. Some women become slightly wet, while others become absolutely saturated in sweat. When you are awakened in the early hours of the morning, you can experience night sweats, she says.
Dr Krishnakumar suggests: "Deep breathing exercises can be helpful. It's also a good idea to stay away from things like hot weather, hot drinks, and spicy foods. As a natural source of oestrogen, try black cohosh or add soy to your diet. For moderate-to-severe symptoms, consult your doctor about drugs."
The vaginal canal is an estrogen-responsive organ. The vaginal lining is usually made up of cells that contain water, allowing it to expand properly. Therefore, it leads to the vaginal walls becoming flexible and expandable thus facilitating intercourse.
"However, with estrogen levels falling the condition is reversed where the tissues become thinner thus causing dryness. This can result in itchiness, soreness, and discomfort during sex, all of which can make you feel less ecstatic. Standard sex can help preserve the tone and health of the tissue. Other drug choices should be explored with your doctor."
Sleep Problems and Decreased Fertility
Perimenopause is known to disrupt natural sleeping patterns; depriving women of the deep restorative sleep they require to face the day. It can make you feel exhausted and exacerbate the other perimenopause symptoms. Hormonal shifts and night sweats will wreak havoc on your sleep. Good habits like maintaining a daily schedule and having enough time to fall asleep will help. Consult your doctor about medical options if your symptoms are serious. Since the ovulation is not regular conception can be nearly impossible.
Loss of Bone Density
Estrogen plays an important role in bone metabolism. Calcium in the bones is normally in a state of equilibrium, with calcium leaving the bone being replaced by calcium entering the bone at any given time. "This equilibrium is disrupted as oestrogen production declines and becomes more erratic, resulting in a net calcium outflow from bone. Osteoporosis, or reduced bone density, is a common disorder caused by a significant loss of bone calcium over time."
Read More► PCOS and Fertility: What women can do about it?
Women have always been the epicenter of our family lives, and are now budding into entrepreneurs, impactful team players, and opinion leaders that shape society and walk towards a brighter future. As women grow in their roles daily and challenge the barriers with their modern-day approach, it is of utmost importance to keep our health on track and adapt to a healthier and fitter lifestyle to manage the best of both worlds.
Sheryl Salis, a Registered Dietician, and Certified Diabetes Educator share 5 healthy ingredients to include in our diet to channelize our inner Boss Lady.
Age-old Turmeric Therapy
Turmeric commonly known as Haldi has been in the sheer spotlight for all the right reasons in these recent times. It is one of the most common super-foods in Indian households that are accepted widely for its ayurvedic and medicinal properties. According to Ayurveda, turmeric balances all the 'doshas', cleanses the blood and purifies the toxins from the body.
The curcumin present in turmeric aids to boost immunity, anti-septic and anti-viral property, and anti-inflammatory. A famous rendition of turmeric is our very own haldi ka doodh which has been an age-old remedy in Indian households for years and stands relevant even today! We can swap our mid-day beverages with an enriching cup of turmeric latte and witness the results ourselves.
Boost Immunity with 100 Percent Pure Honey
Honey has been a healthier alternative in all our deserts and immunity kadhas for time immemorial. It has regained its importance in our Indian households, especially during the pandemic for immunity boosting and DIY kadhas. Identifying pure honey has become increasingly important in these tough times where we can get maximum benefits from this golden traditional superfood. We should always go for FSSAI approved honey, for 100 per cent surety lookout for the NMR approved mark i.e. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technology which ensures unadulterated honey including no added sugar. NMR is seen as the gold-standard for testing for adulteration in honey.
Replace Sugar with Pure Honey. Honey contains natural anti-oxidants that help build immunity and support overall health. A turmeric latte in the morning or just some warm water and lemon with hints of garlic and honey is the best way to start our day and help us stay healthy and glowing throughout.
Soybean has always been a healthier alternative to our veggie-folks to maximize their protein intake. It also contains women-friendly isoflavones which are phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant-based foods that can have an estrogen-like effect on the body which helps to reduce menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. This helps us stay calm mentally, and physically avoiding any discomfort in our daily lives. Studies have shown that including 40 g of soy protein in our diet can help increase bone mineral density thereby preventing osteoporosis.
Soybean can be incorporated easily in our daily meal plan in the form of unflavoured soy milk, soy paneer/cheese (tofu), soy granules, soy atta, soy yogurt, and soy nuts which are available freely at all supermarkets and at many grocery stores. Soya should be roasted/cooked before use to destroy its anti-nutritional properties!
Amla for All
Amla, also known as the Indian Gooseberry, has always been a much-talked-about ingredient in Indian households for the wide list of benefits that it has to offer. Amla is the richest source of vitamin C and is packed with many other vitamins and minerals. Fun Fact -- One Amla packs the Vitamin C power equivalent to 2 Oranges. Other than its generous benefits on skin and hair, Amla has also shown to be effective in controlling blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels. Amla's blood purifying components help in getting clear moisturized, and radiant skin that we all crave during winters when our skin dries out and looks pale. Amla can be consumed as the fruit itself or as fresh amla juice or amla powder to get maximum benefits in our everyday diets.
Go Coco-nuts with VCNO
Coconuts are an integral part of Indian cuisine in many regions for their health and nutritional benefits. While we try to find new ways to adapt the very versatile - coconut in our modern-day diets, switching to virgin cold-pressed coco-oil is the talk of the town, these days. Virgin Coconut Oil, contains a rich amount of MCTs that help in easy digestion and boosts the immunity system. It is also a really good fix for weight management, heart health, and brain function. We can go on binging our favorite fried food or coco-deserts without feeling guilty about the calorie tracker.
While we gear up and celebrate the women of today, let's strive for healthier and more insightful choices this Women's Day by taking care of our mental and physical health first. After all, it's all that the inner boss lady demands - Good Health & Good Vibes! (Agency)
Read More► International Women's Day: Ayurvedic perspective on women’s health
International Women's Day is observed on March 8. In Ayurveda (the 5000-year old ancient Vedic medicine system) the woman is considered to be “Shakti”; the Mother and Source of creation, in whose lap all of civilization is cradled. Women are considered to be great at multitasking. From managing household work, office work to their social lives, women can do it all with a smile on their face. Yet, in an effort to maintain a balanced work and family life, taking care of their health ranks lowest on their priority list. The rising cases of heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension prove that women pay the least attention to their health.
When we speak about “women’s health” we understand that this contains many different issues during the different stages of her life. Every woman goes through a series of profound changes during her lifetime. The primary changes are called: menarche, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. Three unique organs make a woman very special. They are; the uterus, ovary, and breast. The vagina is another organ that plays a major part in every aspect of a woman’s health. Female hormones are equally important factors as they play a vital role in the various physiological and emotional changes.
However, Ayurveda does not speak in term s of “hormones”. It has its own unique language and terms. Hormones are considered as “dhatu agni” (fire element in tissue). They are carried by the blood (pitta) Therefore; they are considered a component of Pitta. Dietary and behavioral activities bring many changes in the blood. For example; if a pitta-type woman eats plenty of hot, spicy, and acidic foods while indulging in pitta-aggravating activities such as playing in the sun or taking a hot tub bath, getting angry, etc, she will aggravate the pitta in the blood.
This can cause excessive bleeding during menstruation or lead to menorrhagia. As another example; after the age of forty, the body begins to move towards the Vata stage of life and away from the pitta stage of life. During this period, if a Vata-type woman does not sleep well, works until late at night, eats plenty of cold foods and salads, and eliminates sweets, salt, and fats from her diet, she will most certainly aggravate Vata in both the blood and the body.
This will lead to a more difficult menopausal syndrome. In the same way, when a Kapha-type woman excessively indulges in sweet, rich food, eats plenty of dairy products and nuts, and lives a sedentary lifestyle during peri-menopause, she will be accumulating an excess of mucous in her blood and body which can lead to tumors or depression.
By knowing one’s own Prakriti (true nature), one can plan and practice an appropriate daily and seasonal dietetic and behavioral regime. With this simple effort, the body will maintain the balance of the doshas (Vata, pitta, and Kapha)-refer to this article From an Ayurvedic perspective, this balance is considered the “healthy” state of humans.
Ayurveda recognizes that the human body has both male and female energy moving parallel to each other. The body is one of the Shiva/Shakti forms of Shiva. According to this, the right part of our body is male-dominating and the left side is female. Therefore, females are (in general) dominated by the left brain. The female energy is called “Shakti”. The beauty of nature is that it provides the principles and tools to balance the female and male aspects of our natures, which shift and change during the different stages of life.
Ayurveda provides a rich and thorough body of herbal medicinal knowledge as a powerful tool to achieve this balance when needed. Shatavari acts as a pitta-pacifying (cooling) herb, helps check to bleed, and balances the hormonal levels by activating prolactin hormone. It also nourishes the uterus, regulates calcium metabolism and bone compactness, and helps prevents hot flashes, insomnia, and osteoporosis.
Ashwagandha helps to maintain the balance of the low levels of estrogen through testosterone in menopause. It also helps to maintain the fatty cushion to the reproductive organs, especially in the vagina and calms the mind for a good sleep.
Menopause is a time when women need care and support from their families and the community. When women are free from stress and fear, many of the difficult symptoms of menopause often disappear! However, when there are difficulties, Ayurveda offers some effective remedies. In addition to specific herbal formulas, warm oil massage and warm nourishing food is a must. The food must contain some fat in the form of oil or clarified butter (ghee), along with greens and minerals.
Less sweet is preferable, but total abstinence is not. Sour, bitter, and astringent tastes are good, and almond milk, blended with two to four pieces of dates is a wonderful drink for rejuvenation! For massage, sesame oil is good for all types of women. However, mustard oil for Kapha-type and coconut or ghee for pitta-type women are particularly good. All food, exercise, and yoga should always be chosen according to seasonal timing, individual constitution (Prakriti), and current condition.
Whatever the situation, women must always take into consideration their constitutional needs regarding diet, lifestyle, and rest. As a sister science to Ayurveda, Yoga offers many wonderful tools for balancing the doshas as well as addressing specific female health conditions. In addition, meditation, pranayama, chanting, and asana are important elements in any “healthy woman” regime!
For thousands of years, Ayurveda has provided a respectful and supportive approach for women in every stage of life for restoring and maintaining the balance of Vata, pitta, and Kapha. It is said that when we restore balance, we are happy in our minds, healthy in our bodies, and satisfied in our lives!
New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) Menopause is a fact of every womans life. For 75 per cent of women, the symptoms they experience will have a detrimental effect on their ability to work, interact with colleagues and maintain relationships with those they love. It can have a corrosive effect on womens confidence, social ability and even their sense of self.In this informative and easy-to-read "Your Second Phase: Reclaiming Work and Relationships During and After Menopause" (SAGE), author Kate Usher explores menopause from self, family, work, organizational and societal perspectives. The book offers insights into how women can manage menopause and revitalize their professional and personal relationships by preparing them for their second phase of womanhood. The short and humorous chapters include research from anecdotal experiences of the author and other women. The book discusses the significance of legal, rights-based as well as relationship issues. It also highlights the need for initiating a conversation around menopause both at home and at the workplace."Menopause is a fact of female life," says Usher. "All women will have one. Yet we have no control over how or when we experience it. It is a genetic lottery. It is estimated that by 2026 there will be 401 million women over the age of 45 in India. The average age of menopause is between 42 and 49. Following my own terrible menopause, I decided to write the book to provide women with the information they need, to ensure they don't have a similar experience." "Women need information on what the menopause is and how to manage it. They want their careers and relationships to continue to flourish, to ensure they can step into the Second Phase of their womanhood empowered. This book enables women and those with whom they interact to do just that," Usher explained. Commenting on why organisations must formulate a menopause policy (under women's welfare), she added: "Unfortunately, India is yet to introduce menopause policies for women. This puts Indian organisations at a distinct disadvantage. Multiple studies have found that those with an equal or higher rate of female employment, outperform those without." "Women are increasingly focusing on their careers and have ambitions of a seat in C-Suite or driving entrepreneurial success. Menopause can and does impact women and their ability to work at the level needed to succeed in today's fast paced world. Business is at risk of losing some its most talented and able female staff due to a lack of awareness and investment. This is an oversight that can so easily be rectified," Usher maintained. Usher is a highly experienced Menopause and Relationships Coach, working with women on the successful creation, development and growth of personal and career relationships during this period of intense and unpredictable change. She combines her extensive experience as a corporate change leader and her own menopausal journey to deliver a uniquely positive approach. Prior to this, she was a Global Change Manager for FTSE 100 companies, managing major corporate transformation projects across multiple disciplines and continents, deploying her excellent relationship management, influencing and communication skills. --IANSvm/in
Often women express irritation in 'those five days in a month', but menstruation is very important for a woman. When a woman undergoes menopause, it also triggers several health issues. Dr Uma Vaidyanathan, Senior Consultant -- Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh talks about the connection between menopause and Type 2 Diabetes.
With advancing age, the female sex hormone estrogen levels decline in the body, ovaries stop producing eggs and periods stop; this phase is called 'menopause'. The average age of menopause is 45. If periods stop before the age of 40, that can be considered as ï¿½early menopause'. If the ovaries get removed for a medical necessity, menses may stop. But, without any medical reason if anyone experiences ï¿½early' menopause, it becomes worrisome.
Many researchers claim that premature menopause and type 2 diabetes are interconnected. Though, medical science is still looking for evidence to establish a direct cause-effect relationship between early menopause and type 2 diabetes. A Dutch study has shown that when women experience menopause before the age of 40, the risk of type 2 diabetes is 4 times greater than those who experience late menopause. On the other hand, if a woman is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes beforehand, she can experience premature menopause. Family history, age and obesity are considered as three major risk factors in diabetes.
When menopause sets in, it leads to some physical changes. The variation in the level of estrogen and progesterone leads to insulin resistance. In this situation, due to hormonal imbalance, the pancreas struggles to produce required amount of insulin in the body, it may remain less effective and fails to allow the cells to absorb glucose as per requirement. Therefore, the blood glucose levels surge. Insulin assists in burning down fat that helps to energise our body.
If insulin production gets disturbed, the risk of obesity increases. It is an established fact that weight gain enhances the risk of type 2 diabetes. The progesterone fluctuation accelerates our food cravings and then to satiate the craving, we chose eating snacks or sweets. This unrestrained food craving makes diabetes management even more complicated. When it was observed that post menopause, women become more vulnerable to type 2 diabetes, researchers tried another study on post-menopausal women to understand whether estrogen truly affects the glucose level in the body. In that study, it has been observed that estrogen specifically targets some cells in the pancreas and the gut and helps in increasing the glucose tolerance.
Women need to stay cautious and seek medical attention immediately if any symptoms appear such as irregular periods, decreased sexual desire, vaginal infection, sleep disturbances etc. Experts believe that estrogen therapy may be beneficial in post-menopausal women in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. If one can monitor the blood sugar levels frequently, follow a healthy diet, quit smoking and exercise regularly, diabetes can be managed well.
Sydney, July 22 (IANS) Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found that early menstruation increases the likelihood of hot flushes and night sweats decades later at menopause.For the study published in the journal BJOG, the research team analysed data from more than 18,000 middle-aged women across the UK, the US and Australia, as part of the 'Life-course Approach to reproductive health and Chronic disease Events' (InterLACE) international collaboration."Our finding encourages women with early menstruation to engage in health promotion programmes, especially weight management in adulthood," said study lead author Gita Mishra, Professor at the University of Queensland in Australia.During the study, the researchers showed that women who started menstruating aged 11 or younger had a 50 per cent higher risk of experiencing frequent hot flushes and night sweats -- known as vasomotor symptoms -- at menopause.The group was also compared to women who had their first period at 14 or thereafter. The risk of the women who menstruated early of experiencing both the symptoms was greater than having either hot flushes or night sweats alone, the research team said.According to the study, early menstruation previously had been linked to adverse health conditions later in life, including Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases."Women who experienced early menstruation and were overweight or obese in midlife had two times greater risk of frequent hot flushes and night sweats, compared to women who experienced their first period aged 14 years or older, and had normal weight," Mishra said."Our objective was to examine the association between age at menarche and risk of vasomotor menopausal symptoms (VMS) and whether midlife body mass index (BMI) modified the association," the study authors wrote."We found that overweight and obesity exacerbate the risk of vasomotor symptoms associated with early menstruation," they noted.--IANSbu/arm