When I first took a women’s studies class I was caught off guard. I was raised in the suburbs by a middle class nuclear family that had access to healthcare, birth control, and top of the line medical care. When I went a way to college and was given a more diverse look on the factors that make up the politics of gender, I was shocked to learn that there are many issues involving woman’s health that the general society does not talk about.
Several states are working to implement laws and legislature that allows companies to opt out of no-cost birth control for employees. The current administration is working to backpedal on decade-old laws that allow access to abortion. Tampons are taxed as a luxury item. And for most women, ‘menopause’ is not seen as a real illness, because everyone who is female has to go through it.
As a young woman, I am well aware of the fact that I will one day go through menopause. From what I have heard from my female relatives, it is not an enjoyable experience. Reaching ‘menopause’ means not having a period for 12 straight months. This differs from perimenopause, which is the period leading up to menopause.
Perimenopause is the period of time before a woman reaches menopause, usually lasting one to four years. In some cases, perimenopause symptoms can begin up to ten years before actual menopause. Perimenopause is the stage where women feel most negative symptoms that are traditionally considered ‘symptoms of menopause.’
During perimenopause, a woman can experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. It can also lead to breast tenderness, fatigue, a drop in estrogen levels, hormonal imbalances, and a decreased interest in sex. The symptoms of perimenopause and regular menopause can be very similar, and can include similar forms of treatment for the negative side effects that may occur.
Side effects of menopause
As previously stated, once a woman no longer has a period for 12 months, they are considered menopausal. During this stage, a woman may develop common diseases such as osteoporosis or heart disease, as well as changes in mood and problems urinating. Going through menopause can be emotionally and physically draining, and luckily there are tons of ways to treat the symptoms of menopause and make the experience a bit less painful and stressful.
Other common symptoms of menopause can include, hair loss, weight gain, brittle nails, dizziness, allergies, bloating, depression, anxiety, migraines, joint swelling and pain, unusual body odor, itchy skin, and digestive problems. Some women even report pain during intercourse, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, muscle aches, and weakened vision.
There are many over the counter treatments that you can look into for helping lesson these negative symptoms. Tylenol and other pain relievers may show some difference, but if you are seeking to improve your overall quality of life, try using holistic forms of therapy. Holistic therapy seeks to heal the body as a whole, rather than individual working parts.
Menopause is a naturally occurring process in every woman’s body. There is no way to fully ‘treat’ menopause, but there are many ways to decrease the negative side effects that are associated with the various stages of menopause. Many women choose to go the natural route, and use holistic remedies to help them out during the process.
Sometimes when a woman is going through menopause, the only thing they can think about is how miserable they are in that moment. The burden of menopause can be forgotten by picking up new hobbies, or getting more involved in the community or their family. Menopause can cause weight gain, so trying out a new sport or form of exercise can also help to take your mind off the negative symptoms.
With constant cramping, running or jogging may seem out of the question, but you can still go on a short walk both when you wake up and before you go to bed. You can also do yoga and meditate from the privacy of your own home. If that is not proving to be successful, you can also try getting into art as a form of therapy by painting, drawing, or just general crafting.
During menopause, medical practitioners recommend practicing breathing exercises to decrease stress and mood swings, drinking tons of water, opting out of taking baths, hormone replacement therapy, estrogen supplements, and even herbal remedies. It has also been found that fish is great for women going through menopause, especially salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, trout, sardines, and herring.
To try and prevent bone density loss, make sure to drink at least two glasses of milk a day as well as incorporate broccoli and legumes into your diet. You should also attempt to eat more leafy green vegetables, eggs, nuts, and grains.
Try and avoid high fat food such as cheese and different vegetable oils. Drink skim rather than whole milk and avoid high sugar content food as well as putting extra salt on meals. It is best to cut down on alcohol consumption as well, to start living a healthier life.
After a woman goes through menopause, they have reached to post-menopausal stage in life. When the negative symptoms subside, it is easy to slip back into your old lifestyle. Learning new ways to be healthy in life and live holistically are not just for menopause. Many people see this stage of life as a turning point, and choose to put in an active effort to be more conscious about the way they live. Stay active, continue to eat well, and continue to take care of yourself no matter what stage of life you find yourself in.