Menopause Uganda: Jane – Osteoporosis

I am a primary teacher at a local school in the suburbs of Kibuli, Kampala district with experience of 9 years. I am a mother of 6 children and aged 43 years. I love being around little children with whom I share different skills. I am the eldest of all the teachers in the school and slightly below the headmistress. I struggle standing for long hours because sometimes I feel weak in my joints most especially the knees and pelvic. When I sit for long I get paralyzed more often. With these pains, sometimes I remain home because I can walk very short distances. I am really in great pain that I can’t hold sometimes ending up staying in bed the whole day.

Sometimes I use a walking stick for support to avoid frequent falls.

I discussed with the headteacher so that I can get 3 days of leave per week but she refused and said that she will deduct my salary. Many times I don’t appear at school, my salary is deducted and I can’t have enough to keep me moving on a monthly basis. With my situation, the headteacher advised me to see a specialist in the main hospital.

The doctor asked me when I last had my menstrual periods and I told him its been a year since I last saw my periods. He concluded that I had transitioned from one stage to another and I had entered into Menopause. He said that my challenge was osteoporosis and it brings the weaknesses in the bones that can break easily if I fall. I asked the doctor what osteoporosis means and the How, When, Why, What happens, questions were popping out of me rapidly. The doctor told me that many women don’t know anything about menopause. They come in with the menopause challenges that have made them restless and can no longer support themselves or are uneasy about their lives.

After explaining to me the different challenges of menopause, I was given some exercises to do everyday. The doctor recommended me to a support group that sits every Wednesday at the health center in my community. Surprisingly, I found my boss, the headmistress, was a member in the group. On my arrival, they welcomed me and accepted me with whatever condition I was going through. In the group, we share our experiences of the past week, what activities we have done, we do some exercises and medical personnel does counseling, information and education sessions. We also have fun activities with teas and bites.

From these sessions, my life has changed in that I eat a balanced diet with more of proteins. I have reduced on the amount of meat intake and resorted to fish. I eat soya and its products with more of the roasted ones. With the high expensive medicine of HRT, some women are using the natural methods to challenge menopause. I do exercises more frequently more so when I am teaching as we now do warm ups before my lessons begin and walking has become part of my daily routines.

Nowadays, I am able to carry out my responsibilities as a teacher and can be able to complete a full week at school with no regrets and the support groups and Menopause Initiative Uganda give me hope to challenge menopause daily.

Written By:

Jennifer Vander Zalm

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