Menopause Awareness: Understanding the Menopause and Wellbeing
Understanding menopause is key to enhancing women's physical health, emotional balance, and overall wellbeing.
Let’s talk about the menopause.
Menopause is a natural and inevitable phase in a woman's life, yet it remains a topic shrouded in mystery and discomfort for many. This lack of awareness and understanding can have profound effects on a woman's overall wellbeing.
Demystifying and understanding menopause is essential, not just as a biological event but also for its profound impact on a woman's overall wellbeing - both physical and mental. In the spirit of World Menopause Day 2023 this month, this blog delves into what menopause is, how and why it occurs, and why it's crucial to link menopause awareness with wellbeing.
The Menopause - What, How, Why?
What is the menopause? What is wellbeing? And how do the two link together?
Lets start by defining the menopause: the menopause, a natural phase in a woman's life typically occurring in her late 40s to early 50s, marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles.
This transition results from hormonal changes, primarily a decline in oestrogen production by the ovaries. Whilst there are typically a wide range of symptoms, according to the NHS Inform’s Menopause and Wellbeing guide, symptoms of the menopause may include:
Aches and pains
Anger and irritability
Loss of self-esteem
Loss of confidence
Low mood and feelings of sadness or depression
Poor concentration – often described as 'brain fog' and/or lost words
The transition into menopause is primarily driven by hormonal changes. Understanding menopause is essential, not just as a biological event but also for its profound impact on a woman's overall wellbeing.
We can breakdown menopause into 4 phases:
1. Decline in oestrogen: The ovaries, which produce oestrogen and progesterone, gradually decrease their hormone production as a woman ages. This decline in oestrogen is the primary driver of menopausal symptoms.
2. Perimenopause: Before reaching full menopause, most women go through perimenopause, which can last several years. During this phase, hormone levels fluctuate, leading to irregular periods and various symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.
3. Menopause: Once a woman has gone a full year without a menstrual period, she has reached menopause. At this point, oestrogen levels remain consistently low.
4. Post-menopause: The years following menopause are referred to as post-menopause. Many menopausal symptoms gradually subside, but women can still experience health challenges related to lower oestrogen levels.
This is a simplified breakdown of menopause - but demystifying it is the first step to understanding the condition and its links to wellness and wellbeing.
The Link between Menopause & Wellbeing
Now that we understand what menopause is and how it happens, let's explore why it is crucial to link menopause awareness to wellbeing.
Wellbeing can be understood as the holistic state of an individual's physical, mental, and social health, reflecting their overall quality of life and sense of contentment. Linking wellness to menopause is vital as it empowers women to navigate this natural transition with physical and emotional resilience, enhancing their overall quality of life.
We have put together a list of 5 important areas of wellbeing when it comes to the menopause:
1. Physical Wellbeing
Menopause can bring physical challenges, such as bone density loss, increased risk of heart disease, and changes in metabolism. Awareness of these potential health issues allows women to take proactive steps to maintain their physical wellbeing. This might involve adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, and discussing hormone replacement therapy with a healthcare provider if necessary.
2. Emotional and Mental Wellbeing Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can also affect a woman's emotional and mental health. Mood swings, irritability, and feelings of sadness are not uncommon. Open conversations about these changes can help women seek support, coping strategies, and mindfulness techniques which are essential for emotional wellbeing. If you are unsure about what Mindfulness is, check this out: What is mindfulness?
3. Social Wellbeing
Menopause can impact relationships, especially when partners and family members are unaware of the physical and emotional challenges women face. Raising awareness can foster understanding and empathy, improving social wellbeing for women going through this transition.
4. Workplace Wellbeing
Menopause awareness, wellbeing, and mindfulness in the workplace are gaining importance. There is a myriad of benefits of mindfulness at work. Providing flexible work arrangements, temperature control in offices, and understanding managers can significantly improve a woman's job satisfaction and overall wellbeing during menopause.
5. Self-Care and Self-Compassion
Finally, menopause is a time when self-care and self-compassion become paramount. Women need to listen to their bodies, acknowledge their experiences, and prioritise self-care activities that nurture their wellbeing.
“Wellbeing during menopause is not about avoiding change; it's about embracing it, finding balance, and nurturing your body and mind.” - Dr. Christiane Northrup
Menopause is a natural phase in womanhood - awareness about it is crucial for overall wellbeing. Understanding the physical, emotional, and social aspects of menopause can empower women to navigate this transition with grace and confidence.
Whether it’s at work, at home, or any time in between, menopause awareness is important. It's time to break the silence and stigma surrounding menopause and embrace it as a vital part of a woman's life journey, supporting wellbeing every step of the way.
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