Women Between the Ages of 40-50
Menopause is a condition in the lives of women, or people with a uterus, when menstrual cycles gradually begin to stop. This condition is accompanied by mood swings, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, low libido, sleep deprivation, weight gain, slow metabolism etc. A research1 states that in a survey in Bangladesh, 26.14% women were happy with not having to deal with menstruation again, while 54.92% were upset and ‘wanted to have menses again.’ (Yasmin, et. al,Menopause and Hormone Therapy. Bangladesh Medical Journal ) 18.94% had no opinion. The research also states that 17.42% women were unaware of this condition and perceived it as a disease.
The Science Behind Menopause
When a person is born with a uterus, they have a finite number of eggs in their ovaries. At puberty, the ovaries release an egg every 22-40 days as long as they are present. By the time the person reaches the age of 40-50, the ovaries do not have any more eggs to release. Even if they do, they are released after longer intervals than the average number of days. This leads to irregular periods.
The ovaries are responsible for producing the hormones- estrogen and progesterone. These hormones control menstruation and ovulation. When menstruation stops, the production of estrogen and progesterone gets affected. The change in the production of hormones result in problems associated with menopause, such as low bone density and weight gain.
Other factors that cause menopause
Hysterectomy: A surgery in which the uterus and ovaries are removed causes immediate menopause. In this case the symptoms are even more severe as it occurs abruptly rather than gradually over the years.
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency: Among 1% women, ovaries fail to produce normal levels of reproductive hormones. As a result they may face menopause before the age of 40. This condition arises from genetic or autoimmune diseases.
Behaviour and Emotional Changes
Among most women, menopause is often associated with behavioral and emotional symptoms. For example:
- Feeling upset: For some, menopause marks the end of one’s ability to have children so they may feel upset
- Concern about change in body: One of the major factors behind this is the social pressure on women to always look perfect.
- Insomnia: Lack of sleep can contribute to irritability and mood swings as it affects one’s daily activities
- Anxiety and Depression: Many women face mood swings, panic, nervousness and depression during menopause.
What can you do?
When a person undergoes menopause, there is a lot of changes going on in her body, and she is facing emotional and mental ups and downs. On this phase of a woman’s life it is important for family members to provide support.
Here are the ways how you can support your family member who is going through this phase of life:
- Keep calm: It is normal that little things can annoy her and cause her to react. In such cases, it is best for other members of the family to stay calm, not react and not begin an argument. This will contribute to making her feel more miserable. Remember, her mood swings and irritability is a result of her hormones.
- Tell her she’s beautiful: Menopause is characterised by changes in one’s physical appearance. She might gain weight, develop wrinkles and lose hair, which is normal. There is a social pressure on women to always look good. Make her believe that she is beautiful and discourage family members and others from criticising or even pointing out her transformations. Aging is a natural part of a person’s life and this phase must be embraced.
- Take care of her: Menopause is often accompanied with insomnia, joint pain and hot flashes. This is normal. But if you feel that the symptoms are too severe then consult a doctor.
- Yasmin, N., Sultana, S., & Habib, S. (1). Menopause and Hormone Therapy. Bangladesh Medical Journal, 36(2), 48-51.
- Picture: verywellhealth.com
- https://www.banglajol.info/index.php/JDMC/article/view/6303 https://doi.org/10.3329/bmj.v36i2.3612)