Middle Aged Women

I always wondered why my mom once walked out of the house in the middle of a dispute with my father. One minute she was speaking normally — and the next, we saw her emotions escalating, and she barely had any control of herself.

She became angry and then started complaining that no one understood her or even cared for her. I was appalled and couldn’t make out what was going on with my once peaceful and grounded mother. Incidents like these kept happening quite often in our home, and I felt unsettled, not knowing when to expect my mom to act this way.

After some time, all the women who were close to my mom’s age seemed as if they were always on edge. I couldn’t help myself but wonder what had got into them, as I had never seen them act this way before.

Naturally, I started to sympathize with my father and the rest of the men for having to go through this and held these outbursts against my mother and other women. However, it wasn’t until later in life when I realized that these wonderful women were experiencing a phase in life.

Women suffer in their middle age and go through many hormonal changes. They are perceived as being cold and emotionless. Family members feel that the very women who cared for them don’t look after them anymore. In these difficult times couples who have invested in their relationships survive and support each other.

Cultural differences are seen in eastern households, which handle these situations a little differently. Often in this region of the world it is thought that women of this age are becoming more assertive because their children have grown and they feel powerful.

In the east, people are not aware of any physiological changes that are taking place and are too shy to talk about such topics openly. Therefore, spousal arguments escalate in this phase of life, and men often find distractions outside of the home to avoid the stress they find there. Women make emotional decisions that they would not have made otherwise.

Once this phase is over, most women I have seen in my practice regret their decisions, and men also feel terrible for their behavior. On the other hand, in the west there is more awareness and understanding of the physiological changes that occur. Couples are able to communicate about their struggles.

However, many marriages end in divorce during this phase, and the emotional suffering is multiplied. Although all women have to go through this phase in life, with proper intervention the suffering can be minimized.

As a mental health professional I will share some tips so you can start to manage your menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms as they come.

However, if you feel that the situation is getting unbearable and you are having difficulty handling your situation, I urge you to seek help from a therapist. If you experience any of these symptoms and are between the ages of 40 and 51, know that you are at some stage of menopause. This can last from one to five years.

One primary symptom is insomnia, having trouble falling asleep, for 3–4 nights in a week. Sleep loss interrupts appetite regulation by elevating the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreasing the satiety hormone leptin. Feelings of anxiety and depression are seen in some women.

Many women experience hot flashes — brief but intense instances in which their internal body temperature drastically rises — due to a decrease in the estrogen and progesterone hormones.

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