What you need to know:
- Much as many women who are about to reach or those who have reached menopause may experience some symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood changes and weight gain, among other, some women may not suffer any symptoms
I am 56 years old and until recently, I weighed 59kgs. However, I am now 87kgs but need to lose the extra weight. How do I safely go back to my ideal weight of 59kgs? Pelusi
At 56, it is likely that you have already stopped getting your periods (menopause). If a woman spends at least one year without getting her period, she is said to have reached menopause, which usually occurs at an average age of 50 years.
Much as many women who are about to reach or those who have reached menopause may experience some symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood changes and weight gain, among other, some women may not suffer any symptoms.
The weight gain experienced is usually around the abdomen and is mostly blamed on a fall in the female hormone oestrogen levels, age-related muscle loss and lack of exercise.
Many women may prefer to eat sweet or fatty foods, leading to weight gain, especially for a woman who has started menopause. One, therefore, needs to stop taking foods such as cookies, pies, cakes, ice cream or eat them in moderation. One should also avoid taking alcohol, which contains useless liquid calories.
Healthy eating, even for a woman who is not in menopause, is important because apart from contributing to proper health, this may give the body the much-required nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D to improve thinning of the bones that may accompany menopause. One should, therefore, add to their diet plenty of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, and low-fat dairy products.
Also, regular physical exercise such as walking, dancing, aerobics and swimming for at least 30 minutes every other day can be a helpful for anyone in menopause or those approaching menopause, including those who require losing extra weight.
If these do not help, one can find out from their doctor if menopausal hormone treatment may be required.
Can I safely travel while pregnant?
I am pregnant but would like to travel to South Africa to spend some time with my husband. Are there any dangers to this? Asha
Many Ugandan women who are pregnant will tell you they have to inevitably fly across borders for business purposes or for their new offspring to acquire citizenships of the country where the children have been born.
If a woman has a healthy pregnancy, occasional air travel is almost always safe but depending on the airline, there are restrictions to air travel, especially close to delivery. Travel may not be recommended if a pregnant woman has pregnancy complications including a history of miscarriage or vaginal bleeding, severe anaemia and high blood pressure or diabetes that is not well controlled, requiring a mother to talk to their doctor for guidance before travelling.
Most airlines may not allow a pregnant woman to fly after 36 weeks of pregnancy and may require a letter from the health provider that indicates the age of the pregnancy and whether flying is advised.
Early in the pregnancy, there are fears of the unwanted cosmic radiation exposure linked to air travel at high altitudes. This may be unhealthy for those pregnant mothers who fly often but for those flying occasionally, this may not be a big problem. Also, early in pregnancy, a woman may be suffering from morning sickness (nausea and vomiting), which may hinder travel.
The best time to travel then is mid-pregnancy (14 to 28 weeks) because during this time, the morning sickness in many women has abated and a woman’s energy has returned.
It may be uncomfortable for a pregnant woman after 28 weeks to sit in a fixed small place for a long time and a sedentary woman then may among others, risk deep vein thrombosis or blood clots apart from easily delivering on the plane, which is always devoid of maternity services.