Menopause is a period of natural physiologic adaptation which occurs in women when the finite numbers of ovarian follicles are depleted due to decreased levels of reproductive hormones. This decrease in reproductive hormone levels may be mild and present with no obvious disturbances in some women while in others, severe and unbearable health and psychological challenges may demand medical intervention. This study is aimed to explore the psychological effects and health challenges of menopausal symptoms in middle aged women in a rural community of Nigeria. Utilizing a random sampling technique, one hundred and twenty middle aged women (n=120) age 40 to 55 years were recruited for the study. The descriptive survey used a semi structured questionnaire to obtain data from consenting participants. Result shows that women experience various psychological challenges: 77 (64.2%) expressed feelings of sadness and 68 (56.7%) felt easily irritated. Health challenges were hot flushes, night sweats, fatigue, low libido, dizziness, weight gain, irregular menstrual period, arthritis and heart problems. There is need for women to be educated prior to this period and health care providers should communicate optimally, support and empower middle-aged women through this period of transition.
Key words: Menopause, transition, middle-aged, psychological effects, health challenges.
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