Menopause is the hormonal change that women face when their bodies are no longer able to bear children.
It’s a time when many women face drastic changes in their energy levels and need rest, in order to bounce back.
- My post talks of the need to open up a discussion on these issues.
- The video below was taken at a poetry session I participated in, where I talk about cultural issues that can deprive women of rest, and the support of their husbands and families, at this time when they so desperately need it.
- The end of my post has links to support sites for menopause and surgical menopause.
Let’s talk about this topic so that there’s knowledge and awareness. Let us let menopause do what it’s supposed to. Relieve women of that monthly discomfort/ tiredness/pain and let their bodies build up the strength and stamina they will need to build strong bones despite the lower levels of estrogen that accompany this phase.
Let us let menopause lead women to freedom.
Menopause – the thing we don’t talk about here in India
Menopause is a secret.
Many women don’t know much about it until it hits them.
And the busy of today often leaves families ill prepared to support the woman who has always been THEIR support system.
Women here in India don’t talk openly about issues relating to menopause, and many seem to have forgotten the simple life-style changes that are needed to make this time a journey to freedom.
I know of families where a visit to the gynaecologist is considered a “woman’s issue” and men don’t get involved. And this often deprives women of support from their husbands or partners, something they desperately need at this stage in their lives.
Some women might even be desperate enough to write in to Dr Mahinder Watsa at the Mumbai Mirror – who really, should be directing women to appropriate websites, or to a good gynaecologist, rather than giving them terrible advice on their reproductive system!
Many Indian women just don’t know enough about menopause, to know when they need to visit a doctor. To know that it’s important to have a doctor who has both the qualifications and the experience with helping women through this stage of life.
Older women who have not been able to help themselves often freeze and change the subject when younger women try to talk to them.
I’m talking about this because I think opening up this subject is the only way to help women who are struggling. And help them know that it doesn’t need to be this way.
Here’s some poetry relating to cultural ideas that affect the quality of family support for menopausal women
This is menopause as a result of removal of the ovaries. It’s a more sudden menopause than the natural one, where ovaries gradually slow down the production of oestrogen. I don’t want to talk about this in detail, because I’m not qualified to answer questions.
Instead, look at the websites below, if you need more support than your get from you surgeon or doctor. Both have online support groups for surgical menopause, as well as menopause in general.
https://www.hystersisters.com (This support group seems to be limited to Australians).
https://surmeno.blogspot.com/p/introduction.html (Indian women can join the forum here for more support).
Please use these sites wisely and always approach medical issues with the guidance and treatment of a qualified doctor.
Coping with Hot Flashes
A lot of women who read this post spoke about how they’re struggling with hot flashes, so I’ve added this section.
Tips to make hot flashes easier to live with :
- Drink enough water.
- Probiotics help with a lot of post menopausal issues. Chass, an Indian remedy for coping with very hot weather, also helps with hot flashes. It’s a mixture of homemade/probiotic dahi or curds with water – you could add a pinch of salt, fresh ginger paste, coriander or mint leaves and chia or basil seeds if you wish, or just have it plain. Another is apple cider vinegar – it’s nice as a salad dressing. Lots of recipes online if you search.
- Wear clothing that’s cool and allows the body to breathe. Cotton, linen or mull fabrics are nice. A new fabric that combines flax and cotton is pretty cool too. Check out labels if you can’t judge fabric by look and feel, because many cotton fabrics have elastane and lycra blends which aren’t as cool to wear.
- Eat vegetables and fruit daily.
- Walk for at least 30 minutes daily. Exercise – walking in particular – will in the long run reduce the level of discomfort you feel when you have a hot flash. I believe that exercise improves the bodies internal ‘thermostat’ – whatever that mechanism is :-).
The small additions to your diet mentioned above, combined with exercise and cool clothing are likely to reduce your hot flashes, and bring down the level of discomfort you feel with them.
Stress, and your ability to cope with your daily life will impact your ability to exercise in the phase when menopause begins. Family support and understanding, as well as your attitude to accepting help and teaching your family to help you, will impact your ability to exercise and look after yourself.
I think it’s important for women to know that we have the power to shape our environment so it works to support us when we need it to.
Lets be more educated about menopause and lead the way to change.