The sad truth: Women are conditioned to think that going into menopause is “the end” for them. In school, we learned that menopause is when our menstrual cycle would cease. This also means that you won’t be able to bear children anymore, hence, creates the stigma that it’s the first sign of old age. As Medic8 would describe, women fear this stage in their lives because they’re “often seen as old, unattractive and less of a woman after the menopause. Plus this [is] coupled with the fixed image people have of a crazy, hormonal harridan hardly helps matters.”
First of all, it’s sexist to make a woman feel like she’s lesser after she’s experienced menopause. After all, the end of our menstrual cycle is inevitable (the average age among Filipinas is 48 years old) and our worth shouldn’t be measured by our child-bearing ability and looks. That said, there’s really no need to be afraid of it, and there are ways to stay healthy and make the experience a little easier for you. Here’s what we learned from the menstrual health forum we attended recently.
Take collagen for your health, not just your skin
Collagen is a must to keep skin firm and healthy, and also improve your athletic performance. But aside from that, Dr. Ma. Carmen Quevedo, chairperson of the Philippine Board of OB-GYN, said it’s also important certain conditions. “That’s uterine prolapse,” she pointed out as the photo was flashed in front. “It happens when the body doesn’t produce enough hormones and collagen after menopause. So it’s important that you take [collagen supplements] when needed.”
Also, not-so-fun fact: 30 percent of women experience collagen loss after menopause. If you want easy consumption daily, you can take My Daily Collagen which is a mango drink formulated with collagen. Available at Mercury Drug.
For the weak bones
While we should be mindful of our bones as early as now, it’s certainly more important to do it once you reach a certain age. “Older women might get osteoporosis after menopause,” Dr. Quevedo said. So another supplement that’s recommended is calcium—usually in capsule form—to keep bones from getting brittle. Available at Healthy Options.
Work out to restore balance
Menopause might cause your energy to drop so you might not be able to do the strenuous workouts you’re used to. But Dr. Quevedo still suggested that you do light exercise like tai chi and walking. You can also practice yoga at home. “It’s just so you can restore the balance you’ve lost,” she explained.
Don’t ignore hot flashes
It’s normal for women to experience hot flashes after menopause. According to Dr. Quevedo, this happens due to the drop in estrogen. However, you shouldn’t ignore this because it might be a sign of cardiovascular disease and brain cells dying. Mayo Clinic suggests that you ask your doctor about possible treatments and what estrogen medication to take to lessen the hot flashes.
Continue sexual intercourse
One of the biggest concerns of menopause is the decrease in vaginal secretion, making the vagina dry and painful. This is why many women lose interest in sex because it’s painful for them. But Dr. Quevedo recommended that women should continue having sex with their partners because “it stimulates secretion and keeps the vagina moistened.” She also advised to use lubricant during sex, as well as estrogen (ask your OB-GYN about this) for the vagina.