I am 18 years old and most girls my age know and have experienced periods. Some months, they come and go like an old acquaintance; other months, they make you question the very reason for your existence. Basically, we have got used to it now and it is a terrible time of the month for most girls – or so I thought.
My mother is 48 now and she has been going through the menopause phase for almost a year now. Trust me when I say this, it is much worse than normal periods. Menopause is the stage in a woman’s life when her menstrual cycle is coming to an end and hence the hormonal production of the body goes all over the place – to put it in layman’s terms.
Menopause is different for each woman. For my mother, it has been long and painful. Imagine your period changes date, amount of blood flow and the number of days it lasts every month. That’s exactly what a part of menopause feels like. The other part being the intense mood swings, weight gain which you have no control over, hot flashes and disturbed sleep. Although you do have various medications to control these symptoms, they do manifest in some or the other way.
Menopause can even last for years in some women. In order to understand and provide women better menstrual care, we have to understand the various phases of periods in a woman’s life. It is not only the actual menstrual cycle which is difficult to go through but also the menarche (start of periods in women) and menopause aspect of it which make it much worse. It is absolutely amazing that so many people are coming forward to ensure better menstrual hygiene but to go a step further, we also need to ensure better menopausal care.
Very few women in India recognise and take of their menopausal symptoms. Most ignore it themselves or are disregarded as unimportant by their family. It is crucial for a woman to take care of herself in this phase by exercising and eating healthy food. Ignorance of menopause can prove to be harmful to the health of women due to the imbalance of hormones.
Menstruation is a reality and every girl going through it deserves to be taken care of irrespective of whether she is 13, 22 or 50.