24 Jul Yoga and Menopause
Menopause is a natural phase in every menstruating woman’s life. It is an end to a woman’s period cycle, which can be retrospectively diagnosed after 12 consecutive months of amenorrhea. The period that leads to menopause, also known as peri-menopause needs attention to detect the symptoms, as this period can be quite debilitating for the woman. Around 20% women are believed to face severe menopausal symptoms, while 60% suffer mild symptoms and the remaining 20% have almost zero symptoms. Since, every woman’s physiology is different; some reach their menopause in late 30s or early 40s, while some don’t until their 70s. On an average most women will get their menopause in-between the age of 45 to 54.
Listed below are the common symptoms and signs experienced during the peri-menopausal period:
1. Hormonal change:Estrogen, the female hormones that are responsible for the sexual and reproductive development of women, starts to deplete which lead to most of the other symptoms of menopause. Though the drop in Estrogen level doesn’t affect the production of testosterone (male hormones that are produced in small amount in woman’s ovaries and adrenal glands) which results in development of coarse hair on chin, upper lip, chest and abdominal regions.
2. Hot Flashes:Hot flashes are the sudden feelings of warmth which are usually most intense over face, neck and chest areas. These can occur during anytime of the day, but during night you could wake up soaked in sweat which might be followed by chills, making it hard to go back to sleep. Sleep disturbance of this kind, results in lack of sleep and affects your mood and overall health. There have also been resultant cases of dryness and patchy skin.
3. Frequent Urination:Women may feel frequent need to urinate, even without full bladder, or may experience painful urination. This is caused due to lose of elasticity and thinning of tissues in urethra which is caused due to drop in estrogen level. There is also an increased chance of urinary tract infection.
4. Irregular periods:This is foremost sign that your menopause is arriving. It can range from irregular periods, different bleeding patterns to missed periods. When you face 12 consecutive months of amenorrhea- absence of menstruation it will mean you have reached your menopause.
5. Decreased Fertility:As peri-menopausal stage leads to your menopause, your ovulation cycle may fluctuate and your chances to pregnancy may also decline. Ovaries cease to function at the on-set of menopause. The reduced hormonal levels may also increase risk of heart palpitation, cardiovascular diseases, brittle bones, osteoporosis and more.
6. Low sex drive, Fatigue, Loss of memory and weak bones are other symptoms and menopausal discomforts.
Yoga advice numerous ways that will provide some level of relief and help in managing your menopause.
Following a pattern in your daily routine and a well executed diet plan plays an essential role in managing the symptoms of menopause.
To tackle lack of sleep due to hot flashes, start going early to bed. Switch off all kinds of electronics that may cause distraction to sleep at least 30 minutes before bed time.
Over-eating should be essentially avoided, follow the Japanese diet of eating till 80% full, which have numerous health and dietary benefits. Deep fried and fatty foods are a big no-no as they result in more fatigueness and bloated feeling. Also, moderate your sugar intake.
Walking is ideal to anybody aiming for healthy lifestyle, and so is the case for women during menopause. Soak in the early morning sun-rays.
Reduce caffeine intake and quit smoking. Androgens (male hormones) are present in higher level in women who regularly indulge in caffeine rich beverages and smoking compared to that in women who don’t. This leads to numerous disorders in women, like excess hair growth on various parts of body, and thinning of scalp hair.
A balanced diet which consists of oodles of seasonal fruits, organic green vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products makes for an ideal dietary choice. Fortify your breakfast with Calcium, Iron & Fibre-rich foods.
Make time for Yoga Asanas and Pranayamas in your daily routine to elevate your mood swings, it will also help in weight loss.
Stay hydrated. Affirm to twelve glasses of fluids each day; include lemon honey water, buttermilk, green tea and more in your daily fluids.
Sidestep from self-made doubts of Body shame and “What people will think?” Menopause is a part of every woman’s life. Deflect yourself from such thoughts by picking up new hobbies, whichever sparks interest in you. Emotional wellness is of foremost essentiality. The Yoga Institute pioneered techniques of Nishpandavhava and Anitya Bhavana to help with self development.
Beneficial Yoga Asanas:
All Yoga Asanas help in improving flexibility and muscle strength. The yogic postures advocating massage in the abdominal area, aid in digestion by improving gastrointestinal balance and hormonal functions. Additionally, by keeping metabolism in check also aids in weight loss.
Pavanmuktasana, Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Suptvakrasana, Hastapadasana, Chakrasana and Paschimottanasana are best known Asanas for flexibility and hormonal functions.
Beneficial Pranayamas or Breathing Exercises:
Practicing pranayamas on a regular basis benefit in allaying menopausal symptoms, stimulates emotional wellness and reduces stress & anxiety. Yogendra Pranayama I, II, III, IV and Anulom-Vilom are best known practices when it comes to emotional wellness.
Invest Time to Rest:
Stress overly aggravates the impacts of menopausal symptoms, making them extremely vile. Stress also triggers the release of Cortisal hormone, which aid weight gain. Thus, it is essential to rest and relax your mind.
Shavasana and Guided meditation are recommended by The Yoga Institute to alleviate stress levels.
Menopause is as normal as your menstrual cycle. We need to value and accept it as just another phase of life bestowed to us by nature. It’s time we accept all the possible menopause experiences without presumptions and judgment. Let’s refrain from indulging in un-solicitous advising and deprecating comments that pits us against each other. Support your sisters in their menopausal struggles and have each other’s back.