The concept of climacteric has its origin in a Greek term that is translated into Spanish as “step” and is used to identify the life cycle before and after the loss of genital functions. It is a transitional period that lasts for several years and develops from a significant decrease in the ability to produce estrogens and the depletion of the ovaries.
According to DigoPaul, the climacteric, therefore, is related to the notorious inability to generate hormones, oocytes and follicles. The process is triggered before and after menopause (phase characterized by the permanent cessation of menstruation).
This stage takes place in the maturity of women and is considered a period of involution, since it appears associated with various physical and emotional manifestations. The climacteric involves both a biological and a social change: therefore, its characteristics will depend on the psychological condition of each woman.
The symptoms of this period identified as climacteric begin to be noticed in the cycle known as pre-menopause due to alterations in estrogen concentrations. The sensation of heat, sudden sweating, flushing of the face, fatigue and vertigo are related to vasomotor changes.
Other signs of climacteric arise from metabolic disturbances, such as urinary problems (infections and incontinence), vaginal dryness, osteoporosis and the development of cardiovascular diseases not related to age.
Finally, among the psychological symptoms of climacteric, irritability and decreased sexual desire can be mentioned.
For some experts, the male equivalent of climacteric is andropause, although in men it is more difficult to notice the symptoms.
The psychological impact of climacteric
The social environment, both direct and indirect, has a profound influence during this stage, putting it almost on a par with adolescence in terms of the magnitude of its impact on a psychological level. In societies where the elderly are the object of ridicule and disrespect, where machismo reigns and determines that women must stay fit and take care of their image above all else, climacteric can be emotional torture for people of any gender.
Always in the heterosexual sphere, which is probably the sector of society that suffers the most during these transitions, a woman who loses her attractiveness in front of men due to cultural impositions, must accept the harsh idea that her partner, probably her husband, begins to notice other women, generally much younger than her. Physical changes, the usual weight gain, the stylistic alteration that age brings about in systems that determine how a person should dress according to a series of factors, and the decrease in sexual desire, do nothing but undermine this assumption tie that was set three decades earlier.
On the other hand, the man is not the absolute winner of this (absurd) battle against age, since only a few, usually with full pockets, manage to fulfill their dreams of replacing their deteriorated wife with a teenager with curves sculpted by the gods. For their part, the supposed stronger sex must face changes in their body that bring them closer to feminine forms as if it were a nightmare that threatened to destroy everything they had achieved by… being born a man.
To conclude, the solution for not considering this stage of life as a misfortune seems to be to accept oneself with all that that entails. We are alive and growing old; some lose hair and others, vision; some suffer degenerative diseases and others retain their lucidity. All of this may seem random or unfair, but they are the rules and we must know and follow them to avoid frustrations and increase our chances of being happy.