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The impact of menopause on quality of life

Let’s begin with trying to define what Quality of Life is.

I sincerely believe that it depends on who we are individually, our past, our aspirations, our education, where we live and much more.  We do not all have the same perception of a beautiful Quality of Life.

For a person the idea will be to have wine, eat caviar, have servants IS a beautiful Quality of Life.  For others, having a job that intellectually fulfills them IS a great Quality of Life.  For another 3 meals a day, an active sex life, feeling loved and appreciated by your partner and being healthy is far beyond what he can expect.

According to Psychologies.com: Quality of Life is defined as: The assessment of a person’s well-being, social integration and autonomy.

Quality of life (QOL) is an overarching term for the quality of the various domains in life. It is a standard level that consists of the expectations of an individual or society for a good life. These expectations are guided by the values, goals and socio-cultural context in which an individual lives. It is a subjective, multidimensional concept that defines a standard level for emotional, physical, material and social well-being. It serves as a reference against which an individual or society can measure the different domains of one’s own life. The extent to which one’s own life coincides with this desired standard level, put differently, the degree to which these domains give satisfaction and as such contribute to one’s subjective well-being, is called life satisfaction. – WIKI

In psychology and medicine: Quality of life is a person’s judgment of various aspects of their physical, social and psychological well-being. It can be assessed by standardized scales.

There is something for everyone when it comes to defining Quality of Life.  When our general well-being is managed by a chronic medical condition, we clearly feel that the level of Life Satisfaction has taken a toll.  We quickly realize that optimal health must be one of the major influencing factors on standardized scales.

What is Menopause

Cessation of menstruation and ovarian function as simple as it may seem, menopause is defined here in 8 words.  From these simple 8 words come a multitude of symptoms associated with the state of hormonal change in women.   Menopause usually occurs in the late 40s or early 50s: 52 years is the average age.

It is sometimes referred to, in a familiar way, as a retour d’age- French for return to age.  I rather agree with this term because in these specific circumstances the woman returns to the age when she could not have children.

It is therefore important to take the best care of this particular stage of a woman’s life, to relieve her of the symptoms of estrogen deficiency in order to allow her to fully enjoy this new phase of life, and consequently a get some life satisfaction.

Who suffers the side effects from Menopause

Would it be accurate to say that only women suffer from the side effects of menopause.  I would tend to say that we are ALL going through this period of hormonal change affecting women.

The facts are that during their lifetime, 100% of women will have the privilege of going through the pre-menopause, menopause and post-menopause period.

  • Seventy percent (70%) of them will experience normal, more or less pronounced menopausal symptoms, some hot flashes at night, some irritability, more or less severe sleep disorders, depressed mood, physical and emotional exhaustion, joint and muscle pain, urinary tract symptoms and vaginal dryness, and more.
  • Twenty percent (20%) of them will have an asymptomatic “gift menopause”; symptoms that are not very noticeable.
  • Ten percent (10%) of them will have, on the contrary, several years where their quality of life will be almost non-existent.

The spouse’s Quality of Life: He/she is kinda walking on egg shells.  Not to be too sure how to go about it.  Ideally, he or she would find out about this period through education, even basic education.  To this extent when the time comes for the woman to ask for help, or understanding and so on, from her lover, the path can be a little clearer.  Maybe talk about it a little bit to explain what’s going on, especially using clear words to imager such as: I have a hot flush, I am boiling!  I must confess that I allowed myself to say aloud; yes, it is indeed a very unpleasant feeling.  Communication remains essential between the two to get through menopause.

What about friends, children, co-workers, etc. etc. etc.

We’ve all met a woman who suffered terribly from the symptoms of menopause that her entire life collapsed.  The concordance on the life-timeline is rather bad.  This often corresponds to the moment when all the elements of her professional life are in place to allow her to benefit from her years of experience.  Emotional destabilization can be significant to the point where antidepressants are prescribed: Anxiety, lack of concentration, self-esteem, exhaustion, chronic fatigue.  Finally, all the ingredients to get on the nerves of our entourage.

Social life with friends and family can also suffer from side effects of menopause in addition to those of aging.

How long does menopause lasts

How long does this stage of change last?

I am answering this very question and a little more, in this 8 minutes PODCAST

Neither the beginning nor the end of this hormonal change is radical, sharp like a knive.  Pre-menopausal symptoms appear gradually and so does the reduction of symptoms in post-menopausal women.

An easy calculation: How old were you when you first menstruated?  Fifteen years old.  Well, the cycle of your hormonal change from beginning to end should be spread over a period of fifteen years.

Factors that influence quality of life during menopause

Managing symptoms by maintaining equilibrium in your body with all its fluctuations is in itself a challenge.  The following factors have a major influence on our quality of life: Diet & alcohol consumption – stress – spiritual connection – mental state – positive environment – medication – chronic disease, PMS (Pre-menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms), etc. By managing these factors, you will have every chance on your side to now enjoy a transitional quality of life.

Managing symptoms by maintaining equilibrium in your body with all its fluctuations is in itself a challenge.  The following factors have a major influence on our quality of life: Diet & alcohol consumption – stress – spiritual connection – mental state – positive environment – medication – chronic disease, PMS (Pre-menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms), etc. By managing these factors, you will have every chance on your side to now enjoy a transitional quality of life.

However, these methods do not take into account the other factors for which a simple pill solves all the problems.

In my opinion, society does not want to SEE menopause and that is why we have a multitude of instant solutions to make the symptom(s) disappear and all means are good! Women will go so far as to put their lives at risk to mask the symptoms of this chronic transitional disease.

And when you have the flu, are you embarrassed of having obvious symptoms?

Many women and their families have difficulty accepting this step. The promise of such publicized eternal youth contributes to the refusal to move on to the next stages of our lives.  All the physical changes that are so apparent reminds women daily of the point of no return – even if again several means are used to erase these physical changes.  The impact of menopause on women’s Quality of Life is immense but does not have to be negative.

We want to hide aging and all its physical and cognitive transitions.  As if aging automatically brings dependence.

The relationship between Quality of Life and menopause is simply that it is part of the game.  It will be up to you to determine to what extent you want to maintain a quality of life, all your choices are in your hands and they all have a direct impact on your wish.

the end of Menopause

Is there an end to this change.  We hear of women who, it seems, remain permanently in a period of hormonal change, as if the symptoms never cease.

The 70-year-old woman who keeps telling us I’m have hot flushes still!  Well, let’s apply our little formula: let’s say she had her first period at the age of 15, and started her pre-menopause at 58 (which wouldn’t be abnormal), we could deduce that she will finish her transition period at the age of 73.

After Menopause

The return to a equilibrium: the Quality of Life of yesteryear will never be the same because you have changed, you are entering another stage of your life and it can last another 25-35 years or more, that is why it is all the more important to maintain optimal health for this new stage.

Louise Therrien ND

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