KUWAIT: The officials attend the press conference where the awareness campaign was announced. —Photos by Abdellatif Sharaa
KUWAIT: The officials attend the press conference where the awareness campaign was announced. —Photos by Abdellatif Sharaa

CAN launches prostate cancer awareness campaign

KUWAIT: One of the most challenging phases in women’s lives is when they reach menopause. Although this phase is a natural transition, it plays a major role in shifting women’s hormones, emotions and physical changes, and it is often encountered with misconceptions and uncertainties. To gain better understanding about women’s menopause phase, Kuwait Times spoke to Dr Mona Youssef Abdullah, Consultant in Internal Medicine and Oncology, University of Toronto, Canada.

What happens during menopause?

Dr Mona explained that menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s life characterized by a decrease in the level of the female hormone (estrogen). It typically occurs around the age of fifty, but this age can vary. With the cessation of menstruation, women experience physical changes, emotional fluctuations, and hormonal disturbances.

What are the common symptoms?

“Symptoms of menopause vary in severity and type from one woman to another, but commonly include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, headaches, vaginal dryness, joint and muscle pains, dry eyes, and sleep problems. In the early years of menopause, night sweats and hot flashes are among the most common symptoms experienced by women,” Dr Mona explained.

Dr Mona Youssef Abdullah
Dr Mona Youssef Abdullah

How can women deal with symptoms?

According to Dr Mona, there are many ways to manage and alleviate these symptoms, including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which is considered a hormonal treatment to supplement low estrogen levels in women. Other methods include using natural herbs and supplements proven effective in reducing symptoms, such as black cohosh or soybeans. However, it is important for women, especially those with conditions like a history of estrogen-dependent breast cancer, to consult their specialist before starting any treatment, as these options may not be suitable for everyone.

“It’s worth noting that some methods to alleviate symptoms do not require prescription medication. Women may turn to antihistamines or cold medications containing soothing ingredients like diphenhydramine to reduce hot flashes. Non-medication methods such as taking warm baths before bedtime can also be used as external heating sources or heating pads,” she added.

Is it true that menopause leaves an impact on women’s emotions and body parts?

“Indeed, women may experience psychological changes or mood swings during this period, and they may be more prone to depression than at other times. These symptoms may be due to the critical period and the associated sleep disturbances caused by hormonal changes, or they may occur for other reasons unrelated to hormonal changes.

Mood swings can impact her general psychological state, manifesting as increased anxiety, discomfort, or fear of this critical period due to lack of preparation and acceptance. Therefore, women need emotional support and acceptance from family and friends during this phase. Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and accepting this stage of life are also beneficial, as over time, the severity of these symptoms tends to diminish significantly,” Dr Mona advised.

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