Menopause is when the ovaries stop functioning, and no longer produce eggs or hormones.
Menopause is when the ovaries stop functioning, and no longer produce eggs or hormones. The menstrual cycle will stop and there can be an impact on body, mood and much more.
When does the menopause occur?
Women can enter into the menopause at any age, although it often begins around the age of 48-51. If your period has stopped or become irregular for longer than 6 months, it is a sign of menopause- or early menopause if you are younger than 45.
What are the main symptoms?
Symptoms usually last for around 4 years, although some women experience them for longer.
- Menstruation changes such as irregularity
- Hot flushes
- Mood swings
- Loss of confidence
- Vaginal dryness, often causing painful intercourse
- Loss of libido
- Joint stiffness, aches and pains
- Reduced muscle mass
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
- Weak hair and nails
- Dry skin and dull complexion
- Loss of memory and concentration
- Premature ageing
The earlier on in the menopause you receive treatment, the more manageable your symptoms will be.
How is it diagnosed?
Your gynaecologist will be able to determine if you are menopausal by performing a variety of blood tests, examinations and ultrasound scans.
How is it treated?
The most effective treatment is HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). This restores your body’s normal balance of estrogen, progesterone and androgen hormones. HRT is available in the form of tablets, skin patches, a gel or implants, and comes in two types:
- Combined HRT (oestrogen and progesterone) is recommended for women who still have their uterus
- Oestrogen-only HRT is recommended for women whose uterus has been removed in a hysterectomy
What are the main benefits of HRT?
Taking HRT early into your menopause substantially reduces the symptoms:
- It stops hot flushes and night sweats
- It prevents loss of collagen in your skin
- It prevents you from experiencing extreme mood swings, depression and loss of confidence
- Your vagina will become moist, making sex pain free again and increasing your sex drive
- Your hair, skin and nails will appear healthier, nourished and revitalized
- Increased happiness, alertness and confidence
- Reduces risk of heart attack associated with menopause
- Reduces risk of brittle bones
What if I can’t take HRT?
If you cannot take HRT for medical reasons, soya capsules with natural estrogen-like effects are a good alternative.