Dealing with Menopause
What is Menopause?
Menopause is the stopping of menstruation. Around this period, the secretion of female hormones decreases gradually, leading to infertility and certain physiological and psychological changes. These changes usually occur in their 40s. The median age of menopause in Hong Kong women is 51 but the actual age of menopause varies.
Physiological and psychological changes around menopause
Because of vasodilatation, women may experience a sudden hot feeling, which can spread from the chest to the neck and face. It can last for a few minutes and is usually accompanied with sweating all over the body.
Excessive sweating, especially during hot flushes
Headache, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia
Menstruation can become irregular before actual menopause. If women notice that they have prolonged and heavy menstrual period or postmenopausal vaginal bleeding, they should seek medical advice.
Decreased vaginal secretion, vaginal atrophy and decreased elasticity of the vagina can sometimes cause pain during sexual intercourse.
A reduction in the secretion of hormones, especially estrogen, speeds up the loss of calcium in the body, causing bones to become porous and brittle.
Women experiencing these symptoms do not necessarily mean approaching menopause. Seek advice from your health care providers if you have any queries.
Some women undergoing menopause experience depression, irritability, anxiety, emotional fluctuations or loss of confidence. Some may suffer from deterioration of memory or difficulty in concentrating.
Be positive towards menopause
Menopause is a normal and natural stage in a woman's life. It is only a temporary phase and is not an illness. Everything will return to normal once a "new" hormonal balance is regained.
The following points may help you to deal with the physiological and psychological changes during this period:
To deal with physiological changes
- Use vaginal jelly to reduce discomfort during sexual intercourse.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, coronary heart disease and other health problems.
- Take a balanced diet. Eat more fruits and vegetables and foods with high calcium content, such as beans, soya bean products, dark green vegetables, fish and dairy products.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Engage in regular physical activities, e.g. walking and jogging.
- Get adequate sleep and rest.
- For women with severe menopausal symptoms, doctor may prescribe hormonal replacement therapy based on individual needs.
- Consult the doctor promptly if you have abnormal postmenopausal vaginal bleeding.
To deal with psychological changes
- Be cheerful and positive.
- Share your feelings and experience with friends.
- Enrich your social life and join more outdoor activities.
- Continue to learn and work.
- Practise relaxation exercise.