“What is menopause?” Effects and causes

Menopause can cause physical discomfort and mental depression. Many people may be wondering, “What should I do during menopause?” In this special feature, we ask obstetrician and gynecologist Miho Takao for tips on understanding the physical and mental changes that occur during menopause and living positively.

Table of contents

  • Profile of Miho Takao
  • Menopause is a dynamic body change due to menopause 
  • Let’s know about female hormones correctly
  • Women who tend to put up with menopausal discomfort
  • I can’t stand it from menopause! Use it as an opportunity to rethink your way of life

Profile of Miho Takao

Profile of Miho Takao

Doctor of medicine, specialist in obstetrics and gynecology. After completing graduate school at the Jikei University School of Medicine, she worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Jikei University Hospital, and worked at the Women’s General Outpatient Clinic at the Tokyo Rosai Hospital. In addition to being involved in outpatient gynecology, she also supports female athletes as a member of the Japan Sports Agency’s National Sports Science Center Female Athlete Development and Support Project. She is also a certified yoga teacher. Her books include “The Kindest Menopausal Textbook [Complete Manual for Menopause] ” (Sekai Bunkasha Holdings), ” How to Live as ‘I am Me’ in an Era Where the Heart Tends to Be Unsteady” (published by Nikkei BP).

Menopause is a dynamic body change due to menopause

Menopause is defined as the 10-year period of five years before and after menopause. The average age for Japanese women to reach menopause is about 50, so menopause generally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. During this period, women undergo dramatic changes compared to men.

“The word ‘menopause’ itself has a negative connotation, but there are many things that can be done to deal with menopausal discomfort. Yet, without any countermeasures, it’s like riding a roller coaster. Many women are defenseless like this,” says obstetrician and gynecologist Miho Takao.

Why do menopause cause such dramatic changes? The first reason is that the ovaries stop working. Come to think of it, it’s unthinkable for one organ to stop working at all, except at the end of one’s life. Of course, men should never experience this.

“In the past, when the ovaries lost their function, the timing of menopause was almost equal to life expectancy. But now we live in an era where we can live longer, and we have to continue to live for several decades after the ovaries stop working. That’s why. It is desirable to capture women’s lives from a long-term perspective, such as ‘before menopause’, ‘menopause (especially the two years before and after menopause)’, and ‘post-menopause’.”

Let’s know about female hormones correctly

“The ovary is an organ that only works for a limited period of time,” says Takao.

As the ovaries fail to function, the female hormones estrogen and progesterone are no longer produced. Female hormones stabilize the function of the autonomic nervous system, promote collagen production, and keep blood vessels, bones, joints, and brains healthy. As a result of the decline in ovarian function, is it unavoidable to some extent that various physical and mental disorders occur …?

“Actually, rather than the decrease in female hormone secretion itself, the sudden ups and downs of hormone secretion are more distressing to women. Menopause, when you get tired easily, is a turning point in your life.You need to take proper measures, slow down your life when you turn a sharp curve, and make a safe turn.”

Women who tend to put up with menopausal discomfort

Women who tend to put up with menopausal discomfort

I want to spend my menopause calmly, without panicking or making noise. However, some people suffer from painful symptoms. Despite this, Ms. Takao points out that there are many women who push themselves, saying, “I’m not the only one.”

“No matter how painful menopausal symptoms are, they are not life-threatening. That is why many women endure them. Menstrual cramps, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), and postpartum depression are all the same. I endure it because I think it will be fine if I let that period pass.’ But don’t you think that the time you endure is a waste?”

Many menopausal women have been spending time on things other than themselves, such as caring for children, husbands, and parents. In addition, it is the age when you may be placed in a position of responsibility at work. It is said that such self-sacrificing people tend to have stronger menopausal symptoms.

“It is wonderful to have the desire to help others, but on the other hand, it can be said that you put priority on other people and did not take care of yourself very much. It’s not uncommon for menopausal symptoms to have progressed considerably by the time you realize it,” says Takao.

I can’t stand it from menopause! Use it as an opportunity to rethink your way of life

There are many things you can do about menopause, unlike a while ago when you had to put up with it. The hurdles to see a gynecologist have also come down considerably. Menopausal symptoms can be dealt with through lifestyle changes, self-care, and gynecological treatment, or you can rely on medicines such as hormone replacement therapy and Chinese herbal medicine. The choice is yours.

“After menopause, the talisman called ‘female hormones’ disappears, and various health problems that didn’t exist before will appear. After passing the corner, a beautiful view of a calm horizon awaits.In order to enjoy your post-menopausal period in good health, would you like to use the menopause as an opportunity to review your lifestyle?”

Next time , I will tell you about the physical symptoms and changes that occur during menopause and after menopause.

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