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How to stay healthy in menopause –Medical experts

An Ibadan-based gynaecologist, Dr. Gboyega Ajibola, has advised menopausal women to take lots of water and engage in moderate exercises to stay healthy.

Ajibola gave the advice in an interview in Ibadan on Thursday. He also counselled women in such stage to avoid smoking and to ensure regular consultations with their gynaecologist to prevent complications.

He warned that smoking could adversely affect the body and the lining of the reproductive organs.

“There are various medications in the market that claim to help menopausal women, but they may not do what they claim to do.

“Women should get the advice of their gynaecologist and use the prescribed drugs as directed.

“It is important that you see your gynaecologist to come to a full understanding of this phase of your life because knowledge brings power and liberation,” he said.

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He described menopause as a period of life that could be managed well and enjoyed, with the right information and management.

Sex in menopause
According to him, menopause is that stage in a woman’s life that marks the end of her menstrual cycle and she is unlikely to get pregnant; so she can freely have sex without any form of worry.

“On the average, a woman attains menopause when she is about 49 years old. The diagnosis is made when a woman has gone a whole 12 months without having her menstruation.

“Menopause also does not mean a woman should stop having sex. However, the hormonal changes to the vagina may cause pain during sexual intercourse due to lubrication problems.

“Local oestrogen creams are veritable solutions to this problem to make sex much more enjoyable again. Also, lubricants can be utilised to enhance lubrication.

Menopause does not mean a woman should stop having sex

“Due to hormonal changes, the lining of the vagina undergoes some changes, becomes thinner, sometimes predisposing menopausal women to abnormal bleeding from the vagina and making sex painful or less enjoyable.

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“The hormonal changes, which are the hallmark of menopause, also cause osteoporosis (a condition which causes the bones to be weak), predisposing older women to fractures and pain),” he said.

Common complaints by menopausal women
According to Ajibola, the common complaints menopausal women make include: hot flushes, a condition which makes a woman feels intense heat, especially around the face and the chest areas.

Such condition, he said, are very common at night and could often disturb the affected woman’s sleep.

“This is the most distressing symptom of menopause and may be self-limiting after the first five years of the onset of menopause,” he said.

lifestyle changes such as avoiding peppery food or hot drinks, as well as engaging in relaxing activities, such as music and painting, could help ameliorate menopause symptoms

He, however, explained that medications could be prescribed by gynaecologists to help with such a condition.

Also speaking with NAN, Dr. Olubukola Adesina, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the University College Hospital, Ibadan (UCH), noted that hot flushes could occur in the years leading up to the menopause.

“They are most common in the year after the last period,” she said.

Adesina explained that the condition might be mild or severe, as women experience them differently.

The gynaecologist advised that some lifestyle changes like avoiding peppery food or hot drinks as well as engaging in relaxing activities, such as music and painting, among others, could help in such situation.

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“If it is really bad and affecting daily activities, then drugs maybe necessary. Women in our environment, however, don’t really complain; they just think it is part of the changes in life.

“While some are non-hormoal, others are hormonal, but once it gets to that stage, affected women should seek care with their gynaecologist,” she said.

According to her, women in menopause do not need to stop sexual activities with their partners, saying that they can still continue to get satisfaction.

The medical expert, who noted that issues of vaginal dryness are common with menopause, recommended the use of lubricant. (NAN)

Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko
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