By Dr. Aruna Muralidhar, Gynaecology
Menopause is a normal condition experienced by all women as they age. It is used to describe changes a woman goes through just before or after she stops menstruating, marking the end of her reproductive period. Most women experience menopause in their 40s or 50s. Perimenopause is the transitional time before natural menopause where the changes of menopause begin. During this time, physical changes start occurring in a woman’s body due to hormonal imbalance.
Some of these changes are:
1. Weight Gain
Many women gain weight during menopause. Between the ages of 45 and 55, women may gain half a kilo on average every year. Hormonal imbalance can increase body and abdominal fat. Lowered metabolism, which is normal in an aging woman also leads to weight gain.
2. Changes in Hair
Women may experience abnormal hair growth on the facial region. Loss of hair from the scalp, lower leg and pubic area is also experienced by many women during this phase. The major causes of these are drops in estrogen levels along with stress.
3. Vaginal Dryness
Low estrogen levels cause the vaginal lining to become thinner, drier and less flexible. This can cause irritation, itching, and uncomfortable sex.
4. Skin Changes
The fall in estrogen levels during menopause reduces skin collagen, a protein that makes tissues strong and elastic, thus, making the skin sag and wrinkle. Some women may develop acne, caused by the change in the testosterone and estrogen levels.
Bodily changes after menopause may cause distress, but it is important to keep a healthy attitude towards it as it is a completely normal process for women across the world. Acknowledging that this is a normal, women should maintain a healthy lifestyle and mindset so these changes don’t unnecessarily upset their life or mental health.