The two vital hormones in the female body are estrogen and progesterone. The balance of these hormones with respect to each other define what a feminine body looks like physically over the years.
The journey of womanhood starts at infancy after which she evolves into a small baby girl; she then steps into adolescence being a bubbly teen and gradually matures into a strong magnificent woman. After this, she may choose to become a mother in which her body goes through a series of transformation to be able to carry the baby in uterus for nine months; and eventually she ages, and her body takes the form of a graceful old lady. During this entire process the various stages are defined and controlled mainly by these two key hormones.
Menopause is a natural phenomenon and the average age for its onset is 45 years. When it knocks on the door of a woman’s life it should not elicit fear but should rather be embraced – for it is as natural as any other life stage. So far, most women would have provided for and done the best for her family, but now it is her time to shine. I have seen innumerable cases of women who have given up their careers to nurture and provide for her children and in my opinion caring for their offspring and helping them grow into independent, responsible adults is not a simple job. And while she is tending to her children and many a time along with a full time/ part time job, she evolves as a person as well.
When a woman is in her mid-40s, if she is pursuing a career, she would be excelling in that; and mostly, her children would’ve finished studying and to some extent would’ve settled in their own lives. These familial changes however can lead to the ‘empty nest’ syndrome developing slowly in her mind, at career she may be experiencing mid-career crisis and her emotional state gets further complexed with the onset of menopause.
Menopause happens when the body gradually stops producing female hormones and menstruation ceases. In addition to their reproductive and other functions, female hormones are necessary for regulation of bone metabolism. This is why some women may end up with osteoporosis. Also, the entire chain of endocrine glands is disturbed and unsettled, especially the pituitary, thyroid and gonad glands. Some women may also experience menopausal syndrome, characterized by hot flashes, retention of water and mood swings. Some may even have insomnia.
The following recommendations will help you move through this natural stage of your life gracefully and comfortably:
- Menopause is often a time for middle-age related anxieties and disappointments due to changes in one’s own physical and emotional states, losing older family members, children leaving home etc. Hence firstly, it is important to understand, acknowledge and accept that menopause impacts one’s mental health .
- The extreme mood swings experienced during menopause can be quite unsettling and perturbing for a woman who is going through it. One way to overcome this state is to keep themselves busy by restarting their careers or engaging in something that they love doing and find fulfilling. It can be a simple hobby, volunteering activity, reconnecting with friends or seeking professional support.
- Physical exercise is also very important as it releases endorphins that makes one feel elevated and positive. Meditation and/or Sun salutation can also ease the emotional confusions.
- During menopause the body is incapable to retain calcium sources. Due to this, women must obtain this from consuming foods which are rich in calcium and also minerals like B12, iron, zinc, magnesium etc. Calcium helps in increasing the bone mass and, hence prevents osteoporosis.
- Also, the need for vitamin E soars 10 to 50 times over what was previously required. Hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms of menopause often disappear when 50 to 100 units of vitamin E are taken daily. A medical practitioner needs to be consulted to identify the correct dosage levels for oneself.
Menopause can be a pleasant affair if we focus on building bodily health and a positive mental outlook. From puberty to menopause, a woman is somewhat of a slave to her female glands. But menopause relieves her of this bondage to her femininity and going forward she can experience some of the happiest, care-free days of her life. All she needs to do is reconnect with herself.
I would like to introduce the recipe of Jowar (Sorghum) cookies which are loaded with calcium and various micronutrients. Jowar has a layer which contains anti-cancer properties and fights the free radicals which are responsible for pre-mature ageing.
*Jowar cookies image copyright with Jolly Vin
by Jolly Vin
Makes about 12 medium-sized cookies
- 1 cup jowar (sorghum) flour
- 2 cups powdered coconut
- ½ cup powdered jaggery
- 2 cups crushed almonds/ mixed nuts
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 3 tablespoons milk or water
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Add milk or water as required to make a dough like consistency.
- Make round cookies.
- Bake them in pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.