Information On The Menopause
The menopause is the name given to the end of menstruation (periods). It is also sometimes referred to as ‘the change of life’. In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 52. The menopause occurs when the level of oestrogen (female sex hormone which regulates menstruation) falls, meaning the end of egg production (ovulation).
A woman is said to have reached the menopause once she has not had a period for one year. After this point, she can be described as post-menopausal. The length of time leading up to the menopause is known as the peri-menopause.
During the peri-menopause, the biological and hormonal changes that are associated with the menopause begin. As a result of these hormonal changes, many women experience both emotional and physical symptoms.
Usually the first symptom of the peri-menopause is a change in your menstrual cycle. You may find that your period may not arrive for months at a time or that it starts to appear every 2-3 weeks. The amount of menstrual blood loss may also change with most women finding it slightly increases. The symptoms after that are generally:
- Hot flushes and night sweat
- Sleep disturbance
- Vaginal symptoms
- Urinary symptoms
- Weight gain
If you think you are experiencing menopausal symptoms, and finding them difficult to deal with, you should see your GP. They should be able to diagnose peri-menopause, or menopause, by considering your age, whether or not you are still having periods, and asking you about your symptoms. Once an assessment has been made you will be given a choice of treatment this can depend on your symptoms, medical history, and your own preferences. The various treatments for menopause are:
? Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
? Magnetic Therapy
? Complementary therapies
? Self help (e.g. regular exercise, avoid caffeine, smoking, and alcohol.)
For the majority of women, the menopause will last no more than a couple of years, although others experience symptoms for as long as five or six years. The extent of menopause symptoms can vary, but with a bit of help you can minimise the effects.