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How To Manage Symptoms Of Menopause

Symptoms of Menopause

BY DR. AMRINDER BAJAJ

HEAD OF THE DEPT (GYNAE & OBS) MAX HOSPITAL (PITAMPURA)

What is menopause?

Menopause means cessation of menstruation. This occurs due of the decreasing levels of female sex hormones in the body. A woman is said to have attained menopause only when she does not have periods for a year or more. It usually occurs between 44 – 52 years of age though; sometimes it is brought about abruptly by surgical removal of ovaries and the uterus.

Most of the women experience no symptoms. Others could have the following troublesome symptoms

Hot flushes and cold sweats

These are usually precipitated by stress, worry or excitement and can occur once or several times during the day or night. Heat rises to the face and lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes. This may be followed by a short spell of palpitations and a cold shivery feeling. There could be nausea, fatigue.

How to manage

This could be managed by taking a cold drink at the first sign of a flush. A cool shower at bedtime decreases night sweats. Use cotton sheets and lingerie which absorb perspiration. Avoid situations that precipitate an attack such as stress, vigorous exercises, spicy foods, going out in the heat. Deep breathing exercises and meditation also help.

Dryness of vagina

After menopause, the vaginal lining becomes thin and the lubrication decreases leading to vaginal dryness and soreness. There is itching and pain especially after intercourse, increased frequency of urination, burning and repeated urinary tract infections. The vagina also becomes less resistant to invasive organisms.

How to manage

It can be managed by using water-based lubricating creams while having intercourse. You could consult your doctor regarding local application of female sex hormones that keep the vagina moist and elastic thereby decreasing the symptoms.  The embarrassing leakage of urine can be prevented by performing Kegels exercises or drugs under medical supervision. At times surgical intervention may be required.

Psychological symptoms

These could take the form of mood swings, fatigue, nervousness, headache, depression, crying spells and inability to sleep well.

How to manage

The best way to overcome these is by developing new hobbies and interests, doing some social work and avoiding stress and worry. Incorporate yoga and meditation in your daily routine

Postmenopausal bleeding

Bleeding after menopause is not to be ignored even if slight for it for it could be due cancer or pre-cancerous conditions of the genital tract.

How to manage

These can be confirmed or ruled out by a pap smear, cervical biopsy, D&C, hysteroscopy as advised by your doctor. Bleeding after intercourse could be due to cancer of the cervix and must not be ignored. It could also be due to something as innocuous as vaginal atrophy/ polyps/infections so instead of worrying visit your doctor as soon as possible.

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