Aging is part of living. Every human has the drives of aging healthfully or living with sickness and poor quality of life. As women age, there health will be influenced by many factors such as changes in the home life, career, dietary pattern, physical activity, economic status, society and her environment (Melissa, 2016). The normal process of aging and these changes together with hormonal changes in the reproductive system affect the welfare of women. Menopause is one of the most common major signs of aging in women. The age at which a woman enters menopause varies worldwide due to genetics, race and environmental factor, and for most women menopause is first noticed in their mid-forties (R) woman can also go into premature menopause either naturally or Oophorectom but for most women first noticed menopause in their mid- thirties (R).
Menopause happens when there is decrease in production of natural sex hormone estrogen and progesterone by the ovaries. These hormones affect many aspect of a woman’s physical and emotional health. Changes in womens physiology in the years around menopause may raise the risk for certain health problems like heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis Also lack of estrogen and progesterone affect women’s energy level, memory, hormones, urinary and general wellbeing.
Transition to menopause does not only involve the gradual fluctuating hormone levels but also accompanying with a range of symptoms for several years (Pinkerton et al., 2009). Although there are common symptoms that many women experience, it’s important to know that each woman’s experience of menopause is unique (R). Symptoms of menopause, perceptions, and age of onset vary widely from woman to woman, region to region and by ethnicity. This is probably due to differences in lifestyle, diet, genetic, cultural, and social factors, also reproductive history and pregnancy (Edelman, 2010).
Nutrition has a major role in protecting health and slowing disease progression. Research is beginning to focus on the effects of optimal nutrition on the health and wellbeing of women around the time of the menopause. It is increasingly being found that good nutrition and optimising the intake of specific nutrients, together with small lifestyle changes can offer significant help in maintaining a healthy menopause and make a real difference to how women feel. Some risk factors associated with aging and menopause cannot be changed. However, healthy eating can prevent or reduce certain conditions that may develop during and after menopause. The impact of nutrition on the onset of menopause has a significant effect on the severity of the symptoms of menopause. Women who begin to address diet and overall health issues before perimenopause may find that the side effects are not as severe as those who do not follow an adequate diet and exercise course. The woman’s nutritional status is a huge support as she goes through different stages of life; good dietary habit can help reduce premenopausal symptoms. Breast cancer, heart disease, obesity and osteoporosis and chronic diseases that are common to women especially in menopausal stage which is usually associated with bad eating habit in the early years (Mahan et al., 2008).
1.1 Statement of the Problem
About 37.5 million women, ages 40 to 59, are reaching or are currently at menopause (R). An estimated 50 million women in the United States have reached menopause. Most will spend at least one-third of their lives in or beyond menopause (Mahan et al., 2008).The onset of menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 and by the year 2025, the number of postmenopausal women is expected to rise to 1.1 billion worldwide (NAMS, 2014). Average age of menopausal women in Nigeria is 49, which is slightly lower than the typical age of 51 for many North American, Australian, and Western European women, and their greater level of ignorance pertaining issues of menopause (Southin, 2012). Women feel uncomfortable or a kind of embarrassment discussing their experience of menopause which is consider as one of the last taboos in health (Adebowale,et al., 2016).
Very often a woman has not been informed in any way about this stage of life; at least in Nigeria, it may often be the case that a woman has received no information from her doctor or older female member of the family, or from their social group, there appears to be a lingering taboo which hangs over the subjects, as a result, a woman who happens to undergo a strong perimenopause syndrome with a large number of different effect, may become confused and anxious, fearing that something abnormal is happening to her. The natural and inevitable occurrence that takes place in a woman’s body can inflict many discomforts that interrupt the woman’s (and sometimes the entire family’s) quality of life! Nigerian first lady Aisha Buhari (2017) stated that Nigeria was one of the countries with the worst health records for children and women in spite of the efforts of the past Menopause and nutrition is an area perceive neglected by African researchers that requires a great deal of work particularly in some of the African tribes (Baloyi, 2013).
This study would be of benefit to all women irrespective of their age because menopause is inevitable every women alive and advancing 35years to 45years would experience the menopausal syndrome, therefore, when women become aware of how their bodies’ react to certain agents, they begin to understand the importance of menopause nutrition and exercise, looking to many quality years ahead.
The immediate family members of a menopausal woman, especially the husband and children and the rest would benefit from this research by understanding the entire host of changes that seem to come upon the female in perimenopause inflicting her with physical and emotional stress that interrupt sometimes the entire family’s quality of life. There is need for a study of this nature to serve as an avenue for nutritional awareness on the importance of nutrition in premenopausal stage and advising women on the types of food to consume in menopausal stage to promote longevity.
The study could benefit the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the women’s societies, the world health organization, UNICEF, ministry of women affairs in sensitizing the women on the impact of nutrition on menopause.