MENOPAUSE, A CHANGE IN WOMEN'S LIFE TO BE TAKEN SERENELY

Menopause is still a taboo subject today, even though it is a normal and non-pathological physiological stage in women. This natural phenomenon is very specific in its female version since only in the animal kingdom, a few rare marine mammals such as the beluga and its cousin the narwhal experience this same process. In women, it corresponds to the definitive cessation of the functioning of the ovaries which results in the interruption of the production of its sex hormones (estrogens and progesterone) as well as the cessation of ovulation.

There is no single menopause, so there are as many menopauses as there are women. Some of us, the lucky ones, will experience only slight discomfort from this annoying episode, while others, more exposed, will be seriously annoyed or even disturbed by manifestations that are not only physical but also intellectual or emotional. We all, living in a well-assumed quarantine, still exist sexually.

As we approach our 50th birthday, the future is before us, and we praise it in this article.

MENOPAUSE, A STORY AS OLD AS EVE?

Menopause, from Antiquity to the 20th century

The story of menopause began a very long time ago. This cessation of menstruation and fertility has been talked about since antiquity but always in a negative way. In the 1st century, menopause was considered impure and toxic . Just that. A few centuries later, in 1515 under the reign of Philip of Spain, there was no hesitation in publicly accusing old women of witchcraft . In this politico-religious turmoil, 80% of the 30,000 to 50,000 victims of the Spanish Inquisition will be women burned on the mere suspicion of witchcraft.

It was only from the 18th century that the status of women doomed to menopause took on a better face and became a little less uncomfortable. The menopause, although dangerous for the woman who suffered it, was no longer perceived in this way for her environment; in question, alleged viruses that are sources of disease. Diderot, in his book L'âge critique , referred to menopause and its other discomforts as " long and dangerous illnesses which infected women at that age". It was not until 1821 that a French doctor, Charles de Gardanne, made his diagnosis, speaking for the first time of menopause to evoke this cessation of menses.


The 1970s, the time of women's demands

In the 1960s, Robert Wilson, an American gynecologist, drew up a negative, not to say dramatic portrait of menopausal women in his bookFeminine Forever . A way like any other to promote the hormonal treatments he advocated at the time to allow women to remain women despite the definitive cessation of their periods.

At home in France, still in the 1960s, Gérard Zwang, a urological surgeon, dared to write in his book Le Sexe et la Femme : "The woman is only truly female, penetrable, desiring and desirable from puberty to the sixth decade of his life. »   If this slogan has fallen into disuse today, it is nonetheless totally detrimental to the women of those times who were dared to remove all femininity and all social status without qualms.

In the 1970s, in the United States, the distressing observation of having to associate the resurgence of cancers of the uterus with the increasingly frequent use of progestins ended up highlighting the dangers inherent in hormonal treatment of menopause alone. . The promotions orchestrated by lobbies and laboratories, supported by an accomplice medical body multiplied until the 2000s and one of their opinion leaders, Henry Rosenbaum, did not hesitate to write on the first cover of his book Happy Fifties : “Current treatments allow postmenopausal women to remain beautiful, desirable and active. » A commercial way, very little medical and above all cavalier to affirm that without hormonal treatment, more feminine beauty, more desires, more energy.

This excessive medicalization in the United States finally provoked a most violent reaction across the Atlantic and thus gave birth to a great movement propelled by the book How I serve growing older. More than a book, it was the poignant testimony of postmenopausal women who claimed the right to live without hormonal treatment without being overwhelmed women without the slightest utility. Germaine Greer , famous feminist of the 60s and 70s, also had her moment of glory by harshly but precisely demolishing the entire medical profession in her works La Femme eunuch and The Chang .

In France, this medicalization was less. The feminist journal Remue-Ménage summed up the situation of postmenopausal women fairly well: “In this cloud of symptoms, we remember above all that there is no organic fatality . Rather the ravages of a social status of women still and always linked to procreation. »

WHAT IS MENOPAUSE?

Menopause is not a sudden phenomenon or a disease that assails women all at once. On the contrary, it is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the ovaries stop secreting the two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone . More than 14 million women go through menopause each year in France.

Menopause is truly "confirmed" when the absence of menstruation has been observed and effective for a full year, it is the definitive cessation of menstruation and ovarian function . Statistically and a posteriori , the woman is menopausal around 50-52 years.

With advancing age, the stock of oocytes decreases and the rapid fall in hormonal production becomes inevitable. From 400,000 oocytes at puberty, it approaches 25,000 around the age of 37-38 and it is at this age that there is a marked decline in the quantity of primordial follicles: the stock of oocytes does not is more than 10,000 to 40 years to collapse in full phase of menopause.

The end of menses is divided into three stages. The first, pre-menopause, is the period of transition to menopause. Its first manifestations vary greatly depending on the woman and sometimes appear 8 to 10 years before the actual onset of menopause. In your late thirties or early forties, the production of estrogen by the ovaries gradually decreases. It is one of the harbingers of pre-menopause which will last until the definitive cessation of menstruation. In the last year, the decline in estrogen will naturally accelerate: menstruation becomes irregular and female behavior changes. The pre-menopause ends as soon as the menopause will be effective, that is to say after one year without menstruation. It is an end of the cycle but also the observation of a proven and installed menopause . In the majority of cases, this observation is made in the late forties or early fifties.

Following hormonal fluctuations linked to the drop in production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone by the ovaries, menopause very often triggers reactions in the body (hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, drop in libido). Similarly, the decline in estrogen production should be taken into consideration and requires special monitoring since it directly affects cardiac function.

HOW TO LIVE WELL IN MENOPAUSE AND RELIEVE ITS SYMPTOMS?

When they reach the age of menopause, most women choose not to follow any therapy. However, they may be offered hormonal treatment for menopause which combines a supply of estrogen and progesterone . Hormone therapy therefore seems to be a priori the most effective treatment for alleviating the symptoms of menopause, in particular hot flashes, the risk of osteoporosis and vaginal dryness. Vigilance remains essential in the choice to be made .

According to several American studies ( Women's Health Initiative ) or English ( Million Women Study ), it seems that certain hormonal treatments increase the risk of cardiovascular accidents, venous thrombosis, myocardial infarction, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Other studies ( KEEPS ) seem to affirm the opposite as long as the THM is correctly established.

Wouldn't the most natural treatment ultimately be to review one's way of life ? From a health and dietary point of view, it is better to stop smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, consume a balanced and quality diet, practice regular physical activity and use intimate moisturizing lubricating gels or quality vulvar serums. , formulated without endocrine disruptors and only with natural ingredients .

With menopause, a woman begins a new stage in her life. The first symptoms and disorders related to this phenomenon must be seriously taken into account: although bone loss, a source of potential fractures, remains silent, the bones become fragile. Cholesterol increases and the walls of the arteries eventually deteriorate. A blood test at regular intervals is therefore essential to avoid any unpleasant surprises. The most severe hot flashes and too frequent night sweats can be harbingers of potential cardiovascular events and should be seriously considered. Finally, an annual gynecological check-up and a mammogram every 2 years will reassure you or warn you in time in case you need to take additional treatment.


Best solutions for hot flashes and night sweats

  • Physical activity including walking and swimming (in the post-fifties, sport naturally promotes the production of estrogen from the adrenal gland, which helps to compensate for the hormonal deficit).
  • Little or no alcohol
  • No or few spicy foods
  • No or little soy in your diet (prefer tofu and dairy products).
  • No unnecessary stress
  • Quit smoking
  • And to compensate for all these deprivations: homeopathy, phytotherapy, acupuncture, tantric massages and balneotherapy as reinforcements.


The preferred solutions for intimacy disorders: vaginal dryness, intimate discomfort, kiss of desire

  • Strengthen your perineum to reduce urinary leakage (precise contraction and relaxation exercises alternating with geisha balls can be of great help. You can consult our article dedicated to strengthening the perineum .
  • Use long-acting intimate lubricants to reduce the dryness of the vaginal mucous membranes (to be renewed very often to avoid infections and signs of discomfort). We recommend our moisturizing natural intimate lubricant.
  • Do not give up sex, prefer a slow and progressive excitement with foreplay to naturally lubricate your vagina.
  • Multiply the treatments and moments of well-being such as massages , caresses, and intimate foreplay.


Preferred solutions for body modifications: loss of elasticity, brittle hair and nails

  • Prefer dishes based on vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid (grape seed and walnut oils).
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (they provide vitamins and antioxidants).
  • Do not expose yourself to the sun's rays which can be harmful.


Our greatest researchers continue to discover the qualities of phytoestrogens associated with a balanced nutritional diet in the diet of postmenopausal women. These natural estrogens are easily found in cereals and, for the record, in very large quantities in the plates of postmenopausal Asian women. In terms of vitamins, a multitude of micronutrients are very beneficial for post-menopausal women, but three of them stand out: vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus .


Best solutions for memory: vitamins and minerals

  • Your vitamin D needs: 400 to 800 IU/day.
  • Your phosphorus needs: 1500 mg/day without hormone therapy for menopause and 1000 mg/day in case of HRT.
  • Your calcium needs: get as close as possible, after a blood test, to the proportion of 2 units of calcium for one unit of phosphorus to increase the amount of calcium in the bones (which we do not find in our daily diet not fairly balanced with a common ratio of 1 to 4).

Post-menopause, heading towards a new life

For centuries, menopause marked for all women the end of a positive existence and the beginning of physical, physiological and psychological problems treated in a very incomplete way. The hormonal life of women is much more fluid than that of men: ovarian cycles, maternity and possible subsequent breastfeeding , menopause are all intimate and family events that punctuate more or less intensely their personal life and she had to take it into account, even if it meant sacrificing herself. Today, things have changed a lot and menopause is considered as an episode of one's existence, nothing more.

The actual age of the ovaries does not correspond to the age written on the identity card. It is therefore possible and valuable to calculate the ovarian age in a woman and thus know her ovarian reserve (quantity of oocytes available at a perfectly defined time) in order to assess her potential fertility . Confronted with her ovarian age, the woman could therefore try to favor the best options with more ease in her future maternity plans. So, doesn't it seem legitimate to imagine that, in the future, a blood test for the anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) of women could be offered? This would make it possible to predict the age of his menopause in the long term? Good or bad idea, you tell us.

There is a life before and a life after the end of the cycles: the post-menopause demands, better, it tends towards a new balance of life that only you can put in place.

Also, some symptoms will be barely noticeable, others will be more severe. Our advice: monitor all possible dysfunctions on the bone side because menopause increases the risk of osteoporosis in women. On the other hand, there is no need to worry about a possible lack of muscle tone and loss of elasticity of your skin, which you nevertheless take the greatest care of. Everything will be back to normal quite quickly with the sport that you will resume gently and the use of your favorite intimate hygiene products that you already favor before the menopause.

Use hormone therapy if you consider it necessary for your health and turn even more to herbal medicine , which contains extraordinary plants that can preserve your health for a long time. So, go for isoflavones , lignans and coumestans but above all heading towards an eternal sexuality that only asks to be shared, sublimated and intensely experienced.

To optimize the second part of your life, a single watchword: sport, a diet rich in supplements, care for intimate well-being, lots of self-love and confidence. Physical exercise and very specific food intake are two very simple steps to take. As for the intimate serum for the vulva , it is your safest and most natural ally for your comfort and your life as a woman in the making.