Menopause – What Is It?
Medically speaking, menopause means that a woman’s menstrual periods have paused/stopped for one year. For a woman, it means that she has had her last period and she is no longer fertile. Although it is a completely natural process, and definitely not any kind of disease or illness, it sometimes can cause physical and/or emotional symptoms that can be very disturbing and can have a significant impact on everyday activities.
In many countries, the average age for a woman to reach menopause is 45-55 years, however, 1 in 100 women will experience it before she celebrates her 40th birthday, this is referred to as premature menopause. Sometime it may occur all of a sudden while most of the time, the period will start to become less frequent over months and years before they come to a stop altogether.
Menopause – What are the Common Symptoms?
During this transition, hormonal changes in the body can have profound effects on a woman’s menstrual cycle accompanied with common symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and trouble sleeping. The severity of these symptoms varies from woman to woman and can range from mild in most cases to severe in others. Some common symptoms many women experience around the time of menopause are:
- irregular or skipped menstruation
- sore or tender breasts
- weight gain
- reduce sex drive
- increased urination
- vaginal dryness
- memory problems
- dry skin, mouth, and eyes
- hot flashes
- racing heart
- stiff/painful joints
- urinary tract infections
Menopause – What are Common Forms of Treatment?
For many women, menopause is a normal event and the symptoms associated with it go away on their own after some time. However, if you are not so lucky and you experience uncomfortable symptoms that affect your quality of life, your doctor can advise any of the following treatments depending on the severity of the symptoms, your age, health conditions, and lifestyle.
- Hormone therapy – also called hormone replacement therapy (HRT) uses a combination of estrogen and progesterone hormones
- Vaginal Estrogen – estrogen can be administered directly into the vagina in the form of a ring, tablet or cream to address the vaginal dryness.
- Low-dose antidepressants – for the relief of hot flashes
- Vaginal lubricants – for vaginal dryness and addressing painful intercourse
- Biphosphonates – for treatment of osteoporosis
- Psychotherapy or CBT- for addressing psychological issues such as anxiety and depression
Menopause – Non-medical Treatments
The good news is that most of the signs and symptoms associated with menopause are temporary in nature and may subside or go away on their own or by using some non-medical treatments such as:
- home remedies
- alternative medicines
- lifestyle changes
Southbank Medical Centre