Menopause - A New Beginning
by Dr. Eva Bell
Continued from page 1
Not all menopausal women suffer from osteoporosis. Proper diet in teenage with Calcium and Vitamin D, show a 50% reduction in the risk of osteoporosis at menopause. When calcium is deficient in the diet, there is depletion of calcium from bone, as it is needed for the production of hormones, and for muscle contraction. Milk, curds, cheese, green vegetables, meat, fish, eggs are rich in calcium and vitamins. Dr. Carolyn Baker says, “Your skeleton is like a bank account. You put in bone deposits for 30 years or so, then start withdrawing. The bigger the account, the more you have to draw on, for the rest of your life.”
Regular exercise builds up muscles, and bones respond by building denser bone. At the University of Wisconsin, a study was conducted on women between 35-65 years, both pre and postmenopausal. Those who did regular exercise like walking, running, cycling, dancing, showed minimum loss of bone mass, than those who didn’t exercise.
Thin, small built women are more susceptible to osteoporosis. Smoking, alcohol and too much of caffeine also lower blood oestrogen, and contribute to osteoporosis.
HRT puts bone back into osteporotic skeletons; It controls hot flushes and vaginal dryness; It prevents heart disease and colonic cancer. Following the pioneer publication “Feminine Forever,” by Wilson, in 1966, HRT was used widely and often indiscriminately.
Yet, HRT is not without its darker side. Breast cancer, uterine and ovarian cancer, irregular bleeding, are some of the complications observed in 10-year studies. It is not for those with a family history of malignancies, those with blood clotting problems, hypertension, and previous heart attacks.
Those on HRT, must be monitored regularly by a doctor. Even so, many people believe that the benefits far outweigh the risks.
The socio-psychological symptoms of menopause are aggravated by life events. Women from upper classes
are more likely to complain, than those from the lower strata. In this age when Youth and Beauty are at a premium, many are frightened by signs of advancing age. Some women react to menopause in the same way as we react to death – denial, anger, bargaining and depression. Their anxieties may need to be controlled by proper counseling, and in some cases, medication.
Middle age is a time to evaluate one’s health. “The future has a way of arriving unannounced,” says George Will. The more you know what will happen, the less you will fear it. There are many positive aspects to menopause. No more anxieties about contraception or unwanted pregnancies; One has leisure, scope for new hobbies, more time to indulge one’s self, and more companionable years with the husband.
Menopause is a bridge to a confident, energized life. The end of menses is not the end of life. Every unexplained symptom cannot be attributed to it.
- Cultivate a relaxed yet active life style, with exercise, sensible eating, refraining from smoking and excessive alcohol ingestion.
- Have a keen interest in the world around you, and think of stimulating activities for the brain.
- Don’t turn into a couch potato and stay glued to the TV.
- Attend to your general health, and make use of diagnostic screening facilities offered in Menopausal Clinics, as well as counseling for depression.
- Pharmaceutical inventions must be appropriated for Diabetes, Hypertension and Obesity.
HRT is a boon to osteoporotic women.
Positively aim at keeping mentally and physically fit, well into advanced age.
Says Eugene Kennedy,” Each crisis has a life of its own, with phases that can be charted clearly.”
If menopause is a crisis, it must also be a time of growth, trying out new solutions, and finding a new sense of self worth, because “the best is yet to be!”