With determination and faith, midlife becomes a gift, not an affliction
Anxiety, fatigue, weight gain, hot flashes and decreased libido are signs of menopause. While this “third age” of a woman is generally dreaded, Muslims consider it “the age of maturity” that must not induce despair. Indeed, with her will and faith, a woman can overcome the possible physical and psychological changes perimenopause brings about
There is no doubt that menopause is a difficult stage of life, in psychological terms, as it signifies the fading of youth and the end of the ability to bear children. Marie Claude, a professor at Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, determined that the factors which affect the onset of menopause are hereditary. A woman should be able to estimate when she will have her final period if she knows at which age her mother reached menopause. There are also non-hereditary factors to consider, such as an imbalanced diet, poor social and economic conditions, tension and smoking, because tobacco can intensify the decrease of estrogen production.
The professor also states that the period of physical and psychological problems is an interim transition. Afterwards, the organs will become accustomed to the decreased hormone levels and create a new balance for the body to function normally. Some of those changes are:
1- Hot flashes
This afflicts about three out of every four women. It is a feeling of intense heat, accompanied by a visible redness in the face in about 10% of women. Hot flashes are stressful; a person suffering from them may also have night sweats. During this period, one should avoid caffeine, smoking and spicy food. If the flashes are severe, one should take some analgesic medication in addition to hormonal treatments. It is also advised to eat foods rich in vitamins C and E, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
2- Weight gain
Women often crave sugary goods, which is linked to hormonal changes and an increase in age. So, to avoid obesity, one should follow a healthy nutritional system, especially from the age of forty. Also:
- Avoid the habit of eating a bite here and there throughout the day, apart from regular meals.
- Avoid sweets because the sugar in it soon turns in to fats.
- Reduce the consumption of animal fats, instead preferring fish, fresh vegetables and fruit.
- Drink water frequently because it helps in secretion and moistening the skin.
- Practice a regular sport, such as walking, for a minimum quarter of an hour a day.
3- Decreased libido
During menopause, vaginal atrophy and a healthy shrinking of outer and inner genital areas takes place due to the absence of estrogen. Regular sexual activity is almost sufficient to preserve the moistening of the cells. Water soluble vaginal lubricants and vaginal estrogen which counters dryness are also helpful.
4- Dryness of the skin
A decrease in estrogen levels leads to a decrease in soft tissue moisture; consequently, the skin becomes very thin, dry and rough, and vulnerable to developing wrinkles. Further, the disturbance in the workings of the cells allows the appearance of pale spots on the skin. The solution is to:
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Drink water frequently and eat fresh fruit.
- Use an ointment for the skin that has estrogen.
This is a scientific opinion, regarding utilizing available remedial means. However, the most important thing is to seek the help of Allah The Almighty against the trials of middle age. One must also busy herself with acts of obedience, worship and remembrance of Allah The Almighty, seeking His reward.
If women try this out, in conjunction with the above recommendations, by the permission of Allah The Almighty, this stage of life will turn into a blessing, not an affliction.