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What is Menopause?

This is a biological process that occurs in every woman’s life. It marks the permanent end of monthly periods (menstruation) and fertility- no longer able to have children. During menopause , a woman’s ovaries stop making eggs and her body produces less estrogen and progesterone. Menopause is confirmed when a woman has no period for 12 months in a row.

What are the Symptoms?

Changes in Menstrual Cycle

Irregular period- period bleeding can be heavier or lighter than usual, and occasionally spot. Period may be shorter or longer in duration.

Hot Flashes

Many women complain of hot flashes as a primary menopause symptom. Hot flashes can be a sudden feeling of heat either in the upper portion of your body or all over. Your face and neck might turn red, and you may feel sweaty or flushed. The intensity of a hot flash can range from mild to very strong, even waking you from sleep. A hot flash generally lasts between 30 seconds and 10 minutes . Most women experience hot flashes for a year or two after their final menstrual period. Some will have them for longer, but they lessen in intensity over time.

Cold sweats

Many women suffer from cold night sweats during menopausal stages. They may wake up in the night feeling cold, shivering, and clammy. Cold night sweats can be very uncomfortable and can make women feel extremely unhygienic. sweats/ hot sweats

Vaginal Dryness

The decreased production of estrogen and progesterone can affect the thin layer of moisture that coats the vaginal walls. Women can experience vaginal at any age, but it is a particular problem for menopausal women. Signs can include itching around the vulva as well as stinging or burning. Vaginal dryness can make intercourse painful and may cause you to lightly bleed or feel like you need to urinate frequently.

Insomnia/ Sleeping problem

Sleeping disturbance can happen commonly

Frequent Urination or Urinary Incontinence

It’s common for menopausal women to lose control of their bladder, feel a constant need to urinate even without a full bladder or experience painful urination. This is because during menopause, thin vagina and urethra lose their elasticity and the lining thins. The surrounding pelvic muscles may also weaken.

Urinary tract infection

During menopause, some women experience an increase in the number of urinary tract infections (UTIs) contracted. Lowered levels of estrogen and changes in the urinary tract make it more susceptible to infection.

Decreased Libido

It’s common to feel less interested in sex during menopause. This is caused by physical changes brought upon by reduced estrogen. These changes can include a delayed clitoral reaction time, slow or absent orgasmic response, and vaginal dryness.

Vaginal atropy

This is a condition caused by the decline in estrogen production and characterized by the thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls. The condition can make sexual intercourse painful for women, which can ultimately decrease their interest in sex.

Depression and Mood Swings

Changes in hormone production affect the mental stability of women during menopause. Women report feelings of irritability, depression, and mood swings, and often go from extreme highs to severe lows in a short period of time.

Skin ,Hair, and Other Tissue Change

Loss of fatty tissue and collagen will make skin drier and thinner and will affect the elasticity and lubrication of the skin near vagina and urinary tract. Reduced estrogen may contribute to hair loss or cause  hair to feel brittle and dry.

 

What are the treatment for menopause?

Complementary therapies

There’s little scientific evidence to show that complementary therapies are effective in reducing symptoms of menopause.

Herbal remedies  such as evening primrose oil, black cohosh, angelica and ginseng  aren’t recommended because they may interact with other medications and cause side effects.

Some women have reported that relaxation therapies – such as yoga, aromatherapy and reflexology– reduce their menopausal symptoms, but there’s no scientific evidence to show that they’re completely effective.

Many women don’t need treatment for the menopause, with only about 1 in 10 seeking medical advice.

If your symptoms are mild, you may be able to manage them yourself, without medication. Read more about self-help for managing menopausal symptoms.However, medication may be recommended if your symptoms are more severe and they’re interfering with your day-to-day life.Treatment options include:

  • hormone replacement symptoms
  • tibolone (similar to HRT)
  • clonidine
  • vaginal lubricants
  • antidepressant

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

HRT is effective in treating many of the most common menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes and night sweats, vaginal symptoms and urinary tract infections
Long-term, HRT can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones), and combined HRT can reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer.HRT works by replacing the female sex hormone, oestrogen, which naturally begins to decrease as the menopause approaches. There are three main types of HRT:

  • oestrogen-only HRT  recommended for women who have had their womb and ovaries removed; if oestrogen is taken on its own, it can thicken the womb lining, increasing your risk of cancer
  • combined HRT  for women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms but are still having period (you take both oestrogen and progestogen)
  • continuous HRT  for post-menopausal women

HRT is available as a cream or gel, a tablet, a skin patch or an implant.

Tibolone

Tibolone is a synthetic (man-made) hormone that acts in the same way as HRT. It may be recommended as an alternative to combined HRT for post-menopausal women who want to end their periods. Like HRT, tibolone is effective in treating menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats, and it can also help prevent spinal fractures. It may also improve sexual problems, such as a decreased sex drive. Tibolone carries some small risks, including a slight increased risk of breast cancer, womb and stroke. It’s not suitable for women over 60 years of age.

Clonidine

Clonidine is a medicine that was originally designed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), but it has been found to reduce hot flushes and night sweats in some menopausal women.Vaginal lubricants is used for vaginal dryness

Antidepressants

Although antidepressant aren’t licensed for treating hot flushes, they are effective for psychological problems

What is Early menopause?

A premature menopause is where a woman under 40 years of age experiences the menopause.HRT and the combined contraception are recommended treatments, as they both contain oestrogen and progestogen.