Menopause is a natural process and an important life marker in women. In Asia, menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 years, and the average age for natural menopause is 50 years. In Singapore, the average age for natural menopause is 49 years.
The changes and experiences that come with menopause are varied and unique to each woman. There are a number of factors such as family history, pre-existing medical conditions or lifestyle habits which can affect the nature of the menopause symptoms. Some common physical and psychological symptoms include hot flushes and night sweats, difficulty sleeping, headache, irritability, depression, anxiety, mood swings, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating. In some cases, the changing hormone levels may increase the potential risk factors associated with osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes complications. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns or uncertainties about menopause health.
Consider some of these suggestions in your daily routine to manage the challenges of menopause:
Keep a diary to track any physical changes or unusual emotions you may be experiencing. It is useful for assessing your progress, and serves as reference if you ever seek medical help.
Choose your clothes wisely to stay cool when you experience hot flushes. Opt for cotton or linen fabrics which allow your skin to breathe, and ensure your clothes are not too restrictive.
Take a walk to get some fresh air to boost your mood and instil a sense of calm.
Watch what’s on your plate. For example, vegetables, meat, fish, and dairy provide a huge variety of nutrients which help to alleviate menopausal symptoms and ensure good general health. Fresh fruits are excellent for weight control during menopause, and contain a wide range of vitamins and antioxidants, whereas grains, nuts and beans are rich in fibre and help maintain bone mass and good skin condition.
Hence, making the right diet choices in can have positive effects on your well-being before, during, and after the menopausal years.
So do men also undergo menopause? Well, the male equivalent of the menopause is often referred to as andropause. As men enter their late forties and fifties, the most significant change in the levels of reproductive hormones is the reduction in the level of testosterone, which is essential to men’s health.
This testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS) may not affect all men. TDS can give rise to symptoms such as general fatigue, changes to body shape, loss of bone density, hot flashes or night sweats, and depression.
You may also like to try these easy-to-follow lifestyle tips for a healthy menopause / andropause:
－ Be well-informed about menopause / andropause by getting information from reliable sources such as books and credible websites.
－ Keep your brain active by doing quizzes, crosswords, puzzles, learning a new skill or language, or volunteering to remain mentally sharp.
－ Laughter is the best medicine. It lowers stress hormone levels and increases disease-fighting antibodies beneficial to your health and well-being.
－ Adopt a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and sleeping early.
Be positive, embrace changes in this time of your life, and improve your lifestyle!
Text: Sharon Ong
Menopause: Change, Choice and HRT
Dr Barry G. Wren, Margaret Stephenson Meere.
Call No.: English 618.175 WRE -[HEA]
All rights reserved. Summer Hill, N.S.W.: Rockpool Publishing, 2013.
How to Survive Her Menopause: A Practical Guide to Women's Health for Men
Call No.: English 618.175 DUC -[HEA]
All rights reserved. Royston, Cambs: HWCS Publications, 2013.
50 Tips to Help You Through the Menopause
Call No.: English 618.175 BAR -[HEA]
All rights reserved. Chichester, West Sussex: Summersdale Publishers, 2014.
100 Best Foods for Menopause
Call No.: English 641.563 ONE -[COO]
All rights reserved. New York, NY: Love Food, 2015.
Menopause - Singapore Health Hospitals and Doctors
http://www.singhealth.com.sg/PatientCare/ConditionsAndTreatments/Pages/Menopause.aspx on April 2016.
This article is first published on Time of Your Life: Good Reads for the 50plus magazine, published by the National Library Board (NLB). Read the magazine here[FS1]
Availability of book titles can be found by using the NLB’s catalogue at http://catalogue.nlb.gov.sg/,
 1 MANAGING MENOPAUSE. – The role of the GP. https://www.kkh.com.sg/AboutUs/Publications/Documents/Managing%20menopause%20-%20the%20role%20of%20the%20GP_SD%20Jan-Feb14_V62_I1.pdf on April 2016.
[FS1](Insert link: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Browse/TimeofYourLifeGoodReadsforthe50plus.aspx)
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