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How to adjust to life after menopause

Readers Lounge By Gardy Chacha
Menopause comes with physical, emotional and psychological changes (Shutterstock)

If you're nowhere near age 45 years, menopause is probably very far from your mind, but according to health professionals, perhaps you had better start paying a little more attention to your body:

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Menopause comes with physical, emotional and psychological changes, says Dr Ndegwa.

It would be imperative, she says, to therefore adjust accordingly to the changes.

a) Vaginal lubricant: Vaginal dryness, says Dr Ndegwa, is a common phenomenon in menopause. “Even the way the vagina looks and feels changes,” she says. “The vagina thins and flattens.” Lubricants, she says, would be important during sexual intercourse – to avoid pain and injury while also making sex enjoyable.

b) Calcium supplements: Menopause comes with decreased levels of oestrogen. The hormone, Dr Ndegwa says, protects bones from erosion and hence growing thin. Low oestrogen would mean, therefore, greater risk of osteoporosis – loss of bone density. To avert this, Dr Ndegwa says, it would be important to take calcium supplements.

c) Psychosocial support: According to Dr Ong’ech, irritability is a common symptom among women going through menopause. “The woman experiences mood swings in varying degrees,” he says. Mwangeka confirms that mood swings are commonplace in menopause. Mood swings, she notes, are also punctuated with emotional turmoil. “I would advise any woman who feels like she needs to talk to someone to go ahead and seek that help,” she says.

d) Hormone replacement therapy: Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment to replace female hormones in decline, like oestrogen. When oestrogen levels go down during menopause, testosterone overrides it, says Dr Ndegwa. “When this happens, some women develop beards [and hair that is traditionally male-patterned],” she says. HRT would mitigate against development of such hair. But in absence of HRT, a woman can still seek other hair removal methods.

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