Nearly 40 percent of postmenopausal women said they experienced physiological or emotional changes after their period stopped, according to a survey conducted by the Health Promotion Administration.
A nationwide survey of women aged 40 to 59 conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2009, the latest for which statistics are available, showed that 58.1 percent identified themselves as postmenopausal or have irregular periods. Among the postmenopausal women, 39 percent said they experienced physical and emotional changes, the agency said yesterday.
Among the physical changes, 54.6 percent of the postmenopausal women said they had hot flashes, 41.5 percent experienced night sweats, 41.1 percent had insomnia and 31.6 percent heart palpitations.
Other frequently experienced symptoms include chest pain, headache, dizziness, vaginal dryness and fatigue.
As for psychological symptoms, 36.5 percent of the postmenopausal women polled said they experienced irritability or mood swings, 21.1 percent reported anxiety and 15.5 percent feelings of despair.
The agency said that although menopause affects all women, the experience varies, from the age of onset to the type and duration of symptoms they experience.
Physiological factors, personality, habits, nutrition and the surrounding environment are all contributing factors, it said.
Many menopausal symptoms that women experience are not simply the result of hormonal changes, but may be caused by external factors such as emotional stress, nutritional imbalance and lack of exercise, it added.
Health and Promotion Administration Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) reminded women that menopause is a natural event and not a disease that necessarily requires medical treatment.
She urged women to establish healthy life habits, such as sticking to a regular sleep schedule, having a balanced diet and doing regular physical activities, while avoiding tobacco and staying up late.
For those who experience severe menopausal symptoms, the agency said hormone therapy can be considered on the condition that it is prescribed by a physician after both its benefits and risks have been evaluated.