I will soon be 50 and a lot of my friends keep on giving conflicting meanings of the menopause. My period is now irregular and I suspect I must be starting menopause. My husband has insisted I should let him know when I start as he would not want to make love to me then because traditional chiefs from his village are not expected to sleep with menopausal women. I don’t intend to tell him when I eventually get to that stage but what exactly do I expect?
Amina, by e-mail.
Roughly, between the ages of 45 and 53, a woman normally becomes incapable of childbearing. Sometimes, the periods stop suddenly, but in some, they become scantly or irregular before they finally cease.
Many important bodily functions are controlled by various glands (including the ovaries) which pour hormones into the blood streams. These glands are under control of a “master” gland, the pituitary gland, which is connected with the brain.
At menopause, the ovaries gradually cease to function, and this often upsets the balance between the pituitary and other glands, so that it takes time for the
body to settle down to normal. Various unpleasant symptoms may result. Hot flushes due to excess of one particular hormone, are often troublesome.
There may be some weight gain, although this might be due to decreased physical activities and enjoyment of sweet food rather than the true glandular effects.
Minor mental upsets may occur. Depression is common at menopause and if it does not seem to improve with plenty of company and activities, see your doctor
in case treatment is needed. Migraines may also begin at this time, but fortunately, there are many forms of help from this. There is a lot of old wives tales attached to
the menopause just as you have some with having a period.
Instead of shutting your husband out, let him see that the onset of the menopause could be the beginning of a new love life for both of you.
Not only is there no fear of unwanted pregnancy, your husband would have to keep up with you as women tend to be randier during menopause.