Menopause

Menopause

What is it?

The menopause is causes by an alteration to a woman's balance of sex hormones which causes a woman stops producing eggs and no longer has a monthly period. Sometimes periods suddenly stop, but for most women they become less and less frequent until they finally stop. This means that she in unable to have children. In the United Kingdom, the average age that the menopause occurs is 52 but it can also occur when a woman is in her 30s or 40s.

Symptoms

Signs may include hot flushes, vaginal dryness and mood swings.

Diagnosis

There are home testing kits available that can check hormones to provide an indicator of whether or not you have reached menopause. These work by measuring the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) in the urine. Although these tests are fairly accurate regarding the levels of FSH, they should not be relied upon to establish if you have reached menopause. Doctors will be able to do further tests for a more thorough assessment.

Treatment and support

Menopause is a natural process and a lot of the time women do not have to get help to relieve the symptoms that accompany this process. There is treatment available for symptom relief.  However, in extreme circumstances when the hormone imbalance is interfering with every day life, your GP may put you on a course of hormone replacement therapy. This helps relieve the symptoms by replacing the oestrogen lost and can be taken in a number of ways including a tablet, a cream and an implant.

If you are feeling a bit bad, but do not feel that you need to seek medical attention, you'll be please to know that there are a number of lifestyle changes can relieve the symptoms. These include:

  • Eating healthily.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Giving up smoking.
  • Stress reduction techniques, such as yoga.

There are online forums where you can get further advice and support. These can be useful for discussing symptoms and remedies. It may be helpful to find out how others have dealt with the symptoms. There are also websites where you can compare supplements and products. The sites may include information on the effectiveness and safety of the remedies. Treatments that can be purchased online include vitamin and mineral supplements.

Although the symptoms can cause discomfort, many do not feel the need for medication.

In summary:
  • Menopause occurs when a woman stops ovulating and having a monthly period
  • Symptoms can be relieved with hormone therapy or herbal remedies
  • Although the average age that menopause occurs is 52, it can happen at an earlier or later time