HYGIENE OF THE MENOPAUSE.
Diet; Constipation; Stimulants;
the Kidneys; the Skin; Turkish Baths;
Massage; Exercise; Profuse Menstruation; Hemorrhage; Mental Therapeutics.
“’Tis the breathing time of day.”
Hygiene of the Menopause.— The changes which occur in all the organs of the body at the time of the menopause are retrograde, and therefore just the opposite of those which occur at the time of puberty. This fact should be borne in mind in the matter of alimentation. All that is now needed is to make the repair equal to the waste.
Diet.— Unless the woman is taking a great deal of active exercise, it is better to diminish the amount of meat eaten, and to increase the vegetable food and take more fluids. Unless the effect of the meat eaten is counterbalanced by active outdoor exercise, it produces an excess of waste matter, which accumulates and causes biliousness, and sometimes rheumatism and gout. A vegetable diet is less taxing to the excretory organs than an animal diet.
Indigestion is at this time of life apt to appear in the form of fermentation, which may assume the gastric or intestinal type. The chief causes of the formation of gases are the lessened peristaltic action of the intestines, the increased tendency to congestion of the liver and to obstinate constipation.
All dishes rich in sugar, as cake, candy, preserves, and jelly, should be indulged in with moderation; or where there is a tendency to fermentative indigestion, they should be wholly avoided.
All dishes known to be difficult of digestion, as hot breads, pastry, cheese, fried dishes, and rich salads, should be cut off the menu, since these readily overtax an already weakened digestive system.
If there is a hereditary tendency to rheumatism or gout, the disease is most apt to take on an active form at this time. In either case the manifestation of the disease indicates an excess of uric acid in the system, and a diet becomes a necessity. Pickles, all highly spiced articles of food, and vinegar must be omitted from the bill of fare. The vinegar may be replaced in salad-dressings by lemon juice. Tomatoes, rhubarb, strawberries and grapefruit are contra-indicated; also all articles of food rich in sugar.
In chronic cases animal food cannot, as a rule, be excluded from the dietary, but must be limited in quantity. Fish, eggs, and fowl may be eaten, also a moderate amount of lean meat in the form of beef, lamb, and mutton. Milk may be indulged in freely. The diet should consist principally of easily digested fresh green vegetables. The amount of tea and coffee should be limited. All malt liquors, sweet wines, and champagne must be absolutely prohibited.
Constipation.— A daily free evacuation of the bowels is essential to good health. Where constipation exists, and the woman is full-blooded, with a tendency to a rush of blood to the head, saline laxatives are indicated. But if the woman is constipated and anemic, cascara sagrada is a better laxative; while cod-liver oil acts as a laxative and at the same time improves the quality of the blood.