Dr Fred Achem, a Nigerian gynaecologist, said on Wednesday in Abuja that the best period for women to have children is between the ages of 18 and 25 years.
Achem who is the President, Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetrics of Nigeria, said that the age bracket is the period women are most fertile.
He, however, added that women have the capacity to remain fertile until they are 36 years old.
According to the gynaecologist, everything about a woman’s fertility is determined by the ova with which she begins her reproductive cycle.
He said: “It is these eggs she is going to use to have her children between the ages of 15 years and 45 years, at which menopause is supposed to start.’’
He said some women experienced premature menopause, however.
According to Achem, from age 36 years to 40 years, the ova begin to tire out, thereby making the release of the eggs more difficult.
He said that one of the signs of premenopausal period was the increase in the days of the woman’s menstrual cycle from 28 days to at least 35 days.
“The regular body shape begins to sag and the hormones which are supposed to be balanced and working correctly do not do so any more and eventually, it gets to a point where there is no single egg left in the ovaries and one final period just comes.
“In all, these women begin to feel more tired, they become restless, lose appetite, they become very irritable, what doesn’t cause a quarrel, causes a quarrel.
“Beyond all that they have hot flushes, or you are sitting in an AC, you feel like throwing your shirt off, the bed is wet at night from sweat, body cavities begin to dry up, sexual intercourse becomes a difficulty, you lose interest in sex and the vaginal becomes dry and scaly.
“Beyond the genitals there are also organic changes in the heart and also the blood vessels of the body, particularly the bones; the bones begin to thin out, therefore, women in the menopause are more prone to fractures. This is something they should watch out for.’’
The gynaecologist added that women approaching menopause should be regularly assessed and monitored properly by their gynaecologists.
Achem added that family members, particularly husbands should be supportive, saying support from the husband goes a long way to mitigating the effect of the changes caused by menopause.
He said: “It is important that women who suffer from menopause symptoms be treated and addressed tenderly.
“So that if they have escaped the pain and the difficulty of child birth, they should be able to enjoy the period of rest rather than continue to be burnt by the flame of menopause.’’