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UNDERSTANDING MENOPAUSE & ANDROPAUSE
Menopause Society of Nepal (MESON) – a Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme – has been actively involved in different interactive awareness sessions, free health camps, international conferences and advocacy programmes since its inception in 2012 focussing on menopausal problems and reproductive health among diverse individuals and societies. Among their group of renowned gynaecologists are Dr. Sushila Shrestha, Dr. Achala Vaidya and Dr. Swaraj Rajbhandari who are also the members of Bihani.
Bihani Social Venture has become an important partner for MESON in organising events and awareness sessions collaboratively on significant issue of ageing. Commemorating the World Menopause Day, Bihani in collaboration with MESON recently organised ‘Understanding Menopause and Andropause’.
Menopause is natural
Menopause is a natural phenomenon in the latter stage of life. Every woman has to go through it when they are no more able to conceive or menstruate. Usually, it occurs between the ages of 40 and 60 with different signs and symptoms like sweating, hot flashes, mood swings, etc. and occasional health problems.
As per the latest research conducted by MESON 2017, “The average age of menopause in Nepalese women is 48.7 years. But majority of the people think that ageing is more of the change instead of menopausal health problems.” On the other hand, the global population is ageing with more women entering menopause and living beyond post menopause.
Changes due to Menopause
Every human being is different and so will their experiences be. According to Dr. Achala Vaidya, Chief Consultant/Gynaecologist, Norvic International Hospital and President Elect of MESON, “There are three stages of the change: first perimenopause, then menopause and postmenopause. The common symptoms are mental and emotional (depression, poor memory, emotional outburst, etc.), vaso-motor problems (hot flashes, night sweats, etc.), menstrual irregularities (irregular periods), urinary and vaginal changes (dryness, itchiness, etc.).”
What is Andropause?
Andropause is a newly coined term for ‘male menopause’. “Most of us are still unaware about the term but men go through a similar phenomenon with identical symptoms like mood swings, sleep disturbance, forgetfulness, osteoporosis, fatigue, weight gain, declining sex drive and self-confidence,” says Dr. Swaraj Rajbhandari, Chief Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Nidan Hospital and Former President of MESON. Normally, it occurs between the ages of 40-55 years but as early as 35 and as late as 65 years.
Memory Loss…Is this Ageing or Menopause?
As per research by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), “Memory problems may be more related to normal cognitive aging, mood, and other factors than to menopause or the menopause transition. Maintaining an extensive social network, remaining physically and mentally active, consuming a healthy diet, not smoking, and consuming alcohol in moderation may all help prevent memory loss.”
Whom to visit? Gynaecologist/Andrologist or Geriatric?
It is a great privilege to have a specialist for every ailment. But when we do not have the expert or feel confused, then friends and family members are the best option suggests Our Bodies Ourselves which empowers women by providing information on health, sexuality and reproduction. When speaking to friends, relatives, and other men or women, you understand that while health care professionals have expertise regarding diagnosis and interventions, only you can figure out what is important to you.
Integrating Post-Menopausal Syndrome in Family and Society
Most people are still practicing traditional norms and customs in rural and remote areas. Although there are different diagnosis, therapies, treatment, medicines with advancement in science and technologies in the 21st century, considering lifestyle management with daily exercises, healthy balanced diet, sanitation and cleanliness serve as simple reminders time and again. Dr. Sushila Shrestha, President, MESON, Chief Gynecologist and Obstetrician Consultant, Valley Maternity Nursing Home and Visiting Consultant to Madhyapur Hospital advises, “Developing hobbies and creating a happy-go-lucky life are the best remedy while ageing healthily and gracefully.”
Suman Rai is the Social Activities Coordinator at Bihani Social Venture. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bihani is a social venture born out of the need to create a positive outlook to life and living meaningfully with focus on individuals above fifty years of age (but not restricted to it) who want to re-engage, re-explore and re-live a new beginning or create a rewarding life second half of their lives based on their past experiences.