Don’t Pause at Menopause

Every woman has to go through the menopausal transition period usually at the age of 40–50 years. The underlying hormonal changes during this period, most importantly changes in the concentration of estrogen cause the initiation of many physical and mental anomalies. There will be drastic decrease in the concentration of the female hormone or Estrogen during this phase. Due to this reason changes occur in the pattern of estrogen signaling in the amygdala and hippocampus region of the brain. These changes cause mood swings, depression, anxiety disorders as well as changes in sexual behavior. Additionally estrogen also influences other bodily functions relating to cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. Hypoestrogenism i.e. lower levels of estrogen can also enhance sedentary habits, which lead to deposition of lipids and accumulation of higher amount of body fat. Hence women are more susceptible to cardiac problems and other bone related disease such as osteoporosis during this phase.

Researchers have been studying the hormonal change patterns and other associated symptoms in pre- and post-menopausal women with the aim of making this transition period easy to understand and tackle. A healthy diet with regular physical activity is indispensable at this stage along with medical counseling if required.

Recently it was found that daily consumption of whole cereals including corns, quinoa etc. provides the much needed nutrients with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and lipid metabolizing activities. Food items rich in proteins, fibers, tocopherols, carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin are highly recommended to menopausal women.

Studies on menopausal women also demonstrate that the symptoms of previously existing diseases such as schizophrenia, OCD and PTSD increase many fold during this phase. Thus it becomes imperative that the physicians should consider the underlying factors of menopause while deciding the psychiatric medication for menopausal women.