Physiopsychological Correlates in Menopause

The word “menopause” derives from the Greek menos (month) and pausis (a cessation, a pause), and it is used to indicate the end of the female reproductive function and in some cases the unfortunate beginning of a variety of physical and psychological problems (Walsh, 1912). In fact, with the last menstruation (which indicates the beginning of menopause), a woman undergoes physical and psychological changes that can threaten her health and mental stability increasing the risk of physical and psychological disorders (Buehler, 2006). Among the phenomena that accompany menopause, important changes happen in a woman’s body. Breasts may swell, sometimes excessively, or become flaccid and their new shape may ignite hope or create disappointment. In the most severe cases, breast withering can cause severe frustration and create a sense of inadequacy and fear, by providing dramatic evidence of aging (DeSoto, 2003). With menopause the entire body is transformed, often
becoming a stranger. For many women the mirror becomes an enemy to avoid, a merciless enemy that shows new aspects of the body that no woman wishes to see (Mishra & Kuh, 2006; Shaw, Ebbeck, & Snow, 2000).