In the Philippines, menopause is seen as a normal part of life, a natural occurrence that’s part of the aging progress.
Culture plays a large part in this view. In Filipino culture, families usually provide steady physical and emotional support for the elderly, so that women do not view menopause as a big concern.
The average age that Filipino women go through menopause is 48 years. After menopause, the Filipino woman can expect to live another 20-30 years.
Filipinas feel that menopausal symptoms are not serious enough to warrant medical attention, with only 31% consulting a doctor for menopause-related conditions. Women talk about menopause with female relatives and friends.
The following are the symptoms of menopause as reported by Filipino women, with headaches being the most common and hot flashes the most infrequent.
- hot flashes
- painful sexual intercourse
- mood swings
- get tired easily
- more irritable
- libido tends to drop
- vaginal dryness
- joint and muscle pain
- easily confused
- sleep quite poorly
- weight gain
Positive and Negative Changes Brought About By Menopause
Filipinas view menopause with a more positive outlook, with only minor, if any, psychological concerns. They are more accepting of physical changes because, while there were some negative changes, there were also certain positive changes.
Negative changes include the menopausal symptoms listed above. On the other hand, these are the positive changes brought about by menopause:
- better sex
- relief from pregnancy
- relief from menstruation
- improved moods
- more energy and time
- greater freedom and happiness
Long-Term Effects Effects of Menopausal Symptoms
As mentioned earlier, most women consider some menopausal symptoms as natural occurrences that will eventually disappear. However, they should be worried about its lasting effects that can affect their quality of life.
In the long term, these symptoms can lead to poor health and will affect a woman’s well-being, and even the quality of her relationship with her husband. Men often complain about their partner’s mood swings and their lack of sexual drive.
Few realize that menopause can lead them to serious health issues.
Some women will have osteoporotic fractures, cardiovascular disease, depression, urinary disturbances and other conditions that can lessen the quality of life.
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Menopause
To stay healthy during and after menopause, it's important to know about this condition and learn how to reduce health risks.
Women shouldn’t simply dismiss menopausal symptoms as natural aging, and should know the effects of estrogen deficiency.
Estrogen levels decrease during menopause. Estrogen deficiency causes hormonal and biochemical changes that, in turn, lead to brain and nervous system changes. This is where irritability, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, night sweats, hot flashes, anxiety, stress, and depression come in.
To manage the discomforts and risk brought about by menopause, what women need to do is to start making healthy lifestyle choices.
They need to aim to be in excellent health so that when they enter the menopausal stage, there will be fewer complications to handle. They can do this by:
- eating a balanced diet
- taking calcium and vitamin D supplements
- not smoking
- reducing alcohol intake
- exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week
- controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease.
- having regular check-ups to track the symptoms
Doctors advise women to get hormone replacement therapy or HRT early on to experience its full benefits. Proper application of HRT can prevent most of these negative changes caused by menopause and may even lengthen a woman’s life.
It is important for women to visit their gynecologist regularly to get help in managing the symptoms of menopause. Ask about creating a preventive health and lifestyle plan, and agree on a medical treatment after weighing the pros and cons.
* Image courtesy of Alexander Dummer at Pexels.com