It was about 3pm on the 20th of December. My cousin had called and intimated me of the crippling health challenges his wife had been experiencing lately.
They had gone from one primary health institution to another and visited two referral health institutions, one at Ilesha and the pioneer teaching hospital in Ibadan.
As a tradition, they knew I would be visiting for Christmas from the 22nd of December to spend the Yuletide season with family and friends.
I got home in the evening of 22nd and surprisingly, my cousin was there with a grand welcome ushering me into the apartment, not knowing that his wife was seated in their car parked outside my home.
When my luggage had been taken in and I settled in, he excused himself to get his wife from the car. Behold, madam was walking like an aged woman when few months ago, she had celebrated her 59th birthday.
There and then, I asked what the problem was. Face downcast and in tears, she opened up, explaining how she had lost all her savings, and how she didn’t understand her plight any longer.
“My health has deteriorated. I sweat more even when others are feeling cold,” she said. “I sweat a lot at night and find it difficult to sleep. Sometimes, I am cold in the night and Baba Ibeji [referring to her hubby] will cover my body with all the wrappers in the house. Yet, I’ll be vibrating like a grinding machine. Few minutes after that, I’d start feeling hot.”
She continued, “My joints ache more these days, and my arms feel disconnected from their sockets, not to mention severe dizziness that keeps me from going to the market without someone accompanying me.”
I turned to the husband, “What other health challenges do you perceive she’s suffering from apart from the symptoms mentioned?”
Her husband pointed out that the problem started after the celebration of her 59th birthday. “She has totally abstained from engaging in sexual intercourse with me, which has me in bewilderment,” he said, adding that all efforts to help her have failed.Do you know the signs of menopause? Educate yourself about this inevitable stage in the life of every woman. Click To Tweet
“Suddenly, she has become more erratic and highly irritable. I have questioned if she is the same Iya Ibeji I married eons ago for she has changed. She quarrels with everybody at home and talks brashly without remorse.
“At first, I thought it was a spiritual attack, so we began moving from one church to another seeking remedies and solutions, but it was an effort in futility. Later on, I thought it must be a mental disorder. Like I explained on the phone, we had gone from primary health institutions to teaching hospitals but the results turned out the same.
“So we decided to meet you and seeking alternative medicine. “What type of sickness is this? We call it hot and cold sickness. Do help if there’s a way out of this problem. I don’t want Iya Ibeji to die.”
I didn’t want to waste the hot pounded yam that had been set before me. So I told them to wait till I finished dinner.
Six of Iya Ibeji’s friends had come to check on her and to confirm if I had proffered a solution to her problems. They greeted me and sat with their friend of old.
One of them, Iya Eni, said, “Excuse me sir, sorry to distract you in between your meal, but I must report my failing health as well. I am having symptoms similar to those of Iya Ibeji. In fact, my situation is far worse.
“These days, I cry like a baby. I find myself crying at any slight thing. It gets worse at night. There was a particular day that I cried from 10pm till dawn. On that day, my husband had shown me the balance in his account and transferred every Kobo into my account, but that didn’t stop me.
“Sir, am I about to die or am I running mad already because I feel that way. I have lost all confidence in my person lately. I have always been the most sociable teacher in my school but that rests in the past now. I’ve become incredibly shy and hate public outings and social gatherings.
“My memory is almost gone. If I pull off a dress now, it’s hard remembering the dress. Even remembering the names of my pupils is a herculean task. However, one thing I am thankful for is the level at which my energy has increased tremendously. I can wash clothes from morning till evening as long as time permits. But I have headache on a daily basis.Although it comes with many symptoms, menopause itself is not a disease but an inevitable biological process in the life of every woman. Click To Tweet
“About two weeks ago, I thought I was going to die. My heart was beating so fast I thought it would pop out of my body. This is my major problem and anytime this happens, I have to suspend whatever I’m doing and sit quietly till I get myself back. You can see the towel I carry around. I sweat more than any woman I know. My knees sometimes appear to have disappeared with too much pain. Is this a sickness or an end time thing?”
Another friend of Iya Ibeji quipped, “We have been on it for about fifteen months now. I don’t have any feelings of physical pain or discomfort but I want sex all the time. I wasn’t like that before and I hope I am not turning into an asewo now. My sense of attachment to my husband has intensified badly. I am more jealous and highly possessive than ever. Apart from these, I am cool and happy.
By this time, I had finished consuming my pounded yam with efo riro. I moved from the dining room to discuss further with Iya Ibeji and her friends in the living room. When I smiled and warmly welcomed them all, their countenance changed bearing a more serious look.
I smiled more and told them that all they were passing through are signs of menopause. And it’s not a disease but an inevitable biological process in the life of every woman. Menopause signifies when reproductive hormones comes to a halt.
Leye Popoola is a naturopathic doctor and the Chief Executive Officer of Nature Healing Alternatives, Lagos, Nigeria. You can contact him on +234-803-306-9864 (Hot line and WhatsApp) or send him an email via egbonlale[at]gmail.com.