Aching alterations

Proper lifestyle adjustments and specialised treatment can ensure smooth transition during menopause in women and andropause in men

Aching alterations

I turned 50 years old recently and have been facing a lot of mood-related issues. It began on and off after my periods became erratic and has now turned into a full-time struggle. I can't sleep well at night, cry at the drop of the hat, and feel low constantly. I am heading towards menopause I believe. Why do only us women go through this?

I am sorry that you are feeling this way. The silver lining is that this condition has a name, treatment, and specialists that you can see, plus there is also a lot you can do for yourself.

Menopause is the time of a woman's life that marks the end of their menstrual cycle. For a diagnosis, one needs to have gone at least 12 months without a menstrual period, generally in her 40s to 50s. All the changes occur due to low production of reproductive hormones. Menopause is a natural process but can also be induced after a hysterectomy.

Symptoms of menopause


⁕ Irregular periods

⁕ Vaginal dryness

⁕ Hot flashes

⁕ Chills

⁕ Weight gain

⁕ Slowed metabolism

⁕ Thinning hair

⁕ Dry skin

⁕ Loss of breast-fullness

⁕ Constipation


⁕ Sleep problems

⁕ Mood changes

⁕ Night sweats

⁕ Depression

⁕ Irritability, anger outbursts

⁕ Emotional lability

⁕ Mood swings

What is normal to feel after menopause? When to see a specialist?

While it is normal to go through these symptoms for all women, the degree of distress may be different for different individuals. Some have more physical symptoms, some more emotional, few have both. If the symptoms begin to affect your day-to-day life, your functioning, or you wish to explore other options of treatment then you must see a specialist.

What would a specialist do?

Gynecologists would obtain history, examine, perform blood tests like hormones, thyroid, lipid profile, blood sugar etc. and then formulate a plan for easing you into this new transition. An endocrinologist may recommend HRT (Hormone replacement therapy), which is offered to help ease the symptoms of menopause. However, there are certain criteria to be met for the same.

Other specialists: A psychiatrist can be seen for the emotional and behavioural component of menopause. Therapy, short courses of medication and lifestyle can help an individual to live their fullest.

Do men too have something like this?

Men may go through andropause. As males grow older, their testosterone levels begin to decline after 40 years and if they are low enough then andropause presents itself. It is less known as not enough people talk about it. Relatively few men may go through it much later in life and its severity isn't as much as that of menopause. Sometimes the signs and symptoms can be vague, varying from individual to individual.

Symptoms of andropause

Similar to women, men too can experience physical and emotional symptoms.

⁕ Mood swings, depression, irritability

⁕ Muscle loss, loss of bone density

⁕ Weight gain, fatigue

⁕ Gynaecomastia

⁕ Sleep issues

⁕ Lower libido, erectile dysfunction, poor sexual performance

Who can help and how?

Meeting the specialist like an endocrinologist can help diagnose you based on the history, blood tests for hormones and examination. The option of HRT can be explored to provide adequate testosterone levels.

Lifestyle changes for both the genders

Irrespective of which biological pause it is, your lifestyle is under your control. You can begin by making small tweaks to your life:

⁕ Exercise: Being active can help a great deal with both physical and emotional symptoms. Aerobic exercise helps and weightlifting can show immense benefit too.

⁕ Reduce/control alcohol and other substances: Cutting back on alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances is recommended.

⁕ Nutrition: Avoid artificial sugar, refined and processed food. Prefer whole grains and organic food. Go for at least three vegetables and two fruits a day.

⁕ Supplements: Adding calcium, vitamins, iron etc. to the diet can help.

⁕ Detoxification: Ensure that elimination is regular. Try to maintain an alkaline pH of the body.

⁕ Meditation: A calm zen mind can help you feel more like yourself.

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