WORLD MENOPAUSE MONTH
World Menopause Month is an annual designation observed in October. Menopause simply refers to the time in a woman’s life that she stops menstruating. Menopause affects every woman differently, but it is generally a difficult and uncomfortable time. Usually, it occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but there are rare cases in which it can start as young as 30. From beginning or perimenopause, to end, or postmenopause, it can last for up to four years. During this time, women experience symptoms like hot flashes, cold flashes, night sweats, emotional changes, and trouble sleeping, according to Women’s Health Concern.
The science behind menopause is actually quite simple. It’s caused by a change in hormone levels. When women are younger and in their fertile years, they produce an egg each month. If that egg isn’t fertilized, the lining of the uterus is shed because there is no pregnancy, and the cycle continues to repeat. But, as women begin to age, their store of eggs gets smaller and eventually, they are no longer able to conceive children. This change doesn’t happen overnight; in fact, it can take years. At around the age of 50-55, the cycle stops completely for most women… this is menopause.
AFTER THE CHANGE
After a woman has gone through menopause, she has a higher chance of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as chronic lower back pain. These usually occur about 10 years after menopause. The International Menopause Society urges women across the globe to raise awareness about prevention of this diseases, because they can have an extremely negative impact on quality of life.
So, what can you do to ease some of the symptoms? Doctors say that living the healthiest lifestyle available to you is the number one way to feel your best during, and after this phase of your life. Here are a few specific tips from Women’s Health Concern that may also help. First, eat well. The changes in hormone levels that come with menopause can increase your risk for heart disease. Choosing healthy food, especially food low in saturated fat and salt, is essential to balance out what’s going on inside your body. Next up, stay on your feet. Anxiety often increases with menopause, and getting some exercise in daily will produce endorphins to battle that. Physical activity also helps combat heart disease. A few other pieces of advice: quit smoking, limit alcohol intake, make use of healthy screening services, and stay as positive as you can!
HOW TO OBSERVE
Use #MenopauseMonth to post on social media. There are also events held around the globe to honor and educate women on the topic.
The International Menopause Society started promoting World Menopause Month in October 2014. They launched a campaign themed “Prevention of Diseases After Menopause” to bring awareness about chronic diseases that increasingly affect women after they’ve gone through menopause.