You’re in your forties. Oh, the horror! Or not. It’s flaunted as the last decade of your biological prime. But who defines biology? Or for that matter, who defines prime?Menopause transition – or perimenopause – has always been a taboo subject. It’s a subject that is discussed in hushed whispers, like a clandestine scheme being brought to life in the underworld.
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Funny, considering it affects every woman in the world at some point. That’s why, this International Women’s Day, we thought we’d shine a light on 6 things every perimenopausal woman should know.
We know what you’re thinking. Your libido is supposed to plummet in the years leading up to menopause, isn’t it? Not necessarily. Your hormones, during these years, will be in a bit of a frenzy. And as they zigzag, your rising oestrogen levels will boost your libido.
Some women, however, may see a drop in oestrogen – it’s an elusive hormone, sometimes – in which case, they’ll experience vaginal dryness. And that isn’t very conducive for sex. The solution, in this case, is lube. In generous quantities. All the way.
The onset of menopause can make you perennially drowsy, with its barrage of symptoms taking a toll on your body. The best cure is adequate rest, even if it is a quick power nap in the middle of the day.
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And not in he’s-charming-my-socks-of kind of way. You may experience palpitations, because your heart may literally skip a beat. This is associated with perimenopause, and not a cause for concern unless these palpitations extend for more than a few minutes.
If you sense that your breathlessness is not necessarily spurred by the advent of menopause, speak to a doctor.
Don’t be surprised if your weighing scale tips a little more than it used to. Blame it on the onset of menopause. You’ll also possibly experience hot flashes during this phase – a feeling of increasing warmth that can result in an outbreak of sweat. Other symptoms of menopause include headaches, vaginal dryness and mood swings.
The symptoms of menopause manifest in different women at different times. Some women experience them during the perimenopause phase, and some, after menopause has set in, in its entirety.
The biggest permanent pitfall of menopause is bone loss, which could deplete by up to 20%. This, in turn, could be a trigger for osteoporosis.
The best ways to combat bone loss is to augment your calcium and vitamin D intake and to add weight-bearing exercises to your fitness routine. And if you don’t have a fitness routine in place, start one! You’ll be grateful later.
Bad hair days are okay. Sometimes. Menopause can wreck your hair care routine. Your shifting hormone levels cause a dearth of oil across your body, and your hair is one of the most noticeable victims. You’ll notice your hair becoming dry and brittle – manage it with mild, herbal shampoos. Now is a good time to turn your back on vanity. Just until your hormones settle down.
The average age for menopause, is 51, though it may creep up on you much before that. Speak to a doctor if you’re not sure about how to handle the symptoms, or if you feel overwhelmed or overanxious at the prospect of entering this new phase.
All that aside, menopause can mark a brand-new beginning for you. Haven’t you heard? 50 is the new 20.
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