By Dr Naresh Purohit

Hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, heavy bleeding, sudden weight gain and other uncomfortable symptoms often herald menopause, the dreaded but inevitable phase in every woman’s life. Educating oneself on the possible body and mind changes can help a woman mentally prepare herself and make the process less traumatic.

Menopause is the end of menstruation, not the end of the world.Although menopause is a universal experience for women, each will experience it in a different way. Some women seem to waltz through this time of life with grace and ease while others struggle with weight gain, fatigue, changes in mood and attitude, and brain fog. In spite of the potentially negative aspects of menopause, growth mindset can help women cope with menopause.

The number of menopausal and postmenopausal women in the world is anticipated to reach 1.2 billion by 2030, with 47 million new women joining each year. But because of shame or fear, many women experience uncomfortable but manageable menopausal symptoms in silence. In India, menopause typically occurs at the age of 46.2 compared to 51 in western nations.

A woman is said to have experienced menopause when she has had 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. She goes through a multitude of symptoms of hot flashes, lack of interest in daily routine, weak bones (osteoporosis), and weak general and heart health.The wellbeing and general quality of life of a woman are all greatly impacted by menopausal change.
Women are more susceptible to psychological side effects during menopause such as sadness, anxiety, sleep loss, and exhaustion in addition to usual physical symptoms (such as hot flashes and night sweats). Mood problems provide additional difficulties since they might cause one to feel more irritable, have trouble concentrating (or "brain fog"), and have reduced self-esteem, all of which can impair womens  capacity to cope in general.

Women live longer with their life expectancy being around 71 years. With women attaining menopause at 46.5 years on average they spend a third of their life in the postmenopausal period. 

According to the National Statistical Office’s Elderly in India 2021 report, by 2031 the country would have 93 million men and 101 million women aged over 60. In 2021, the country had 67 million elderly men and 71 million senior women.

There are at least 34 symptoms of perimenopause,  a stretch of time that can last anywhere from a couple of months to 14 years, when the body transitions toward menopause.Those symptoms include hair loss, allergies or even a burning mouth.But the medical industry hasn’t figured out how to provide proper care during or after this transition.

In the decade after the menopause, women become vulnerable to chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease), and cancer; so the early postmenopause years provide the opportunity for women to take preventative steps to steer a positive course for their future health. Getting a full body check up, having a high-protein diet and engaging in a physical activity can help during menopause.