Since 2009 October has been celebrated as Menopause Awareness Month to raise the profile and education surrounding menopause and to promote the support options available for improving health and well being before, during and after this transitory stage of life.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is a natural part of the ageing process and occurs when a woman stops menstruating and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. This usually happens for women between the ages of 45 and 55 years of age and is reflected by decreasing oestrogen levels within the body. It is this fall in oestrogen that stops the release of an egg and therefore the ability to get pregnant naturally.
In the UK, the average age of a woman reaching menopause is 51. However, around 1 in 100 women experience menopause before the age of 40 years old. This is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency.
Usually, periods become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop completely. However, for some people, they can also stop suddenly.
Symptoms of Menopause
The range and severity of symptoms of menopause are wide-ranging due to the fact that oestrogen is a hormone that is utilised by many parts of the body.
The common symptoms of menopause include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, low mood and anxiety, reduced sex drive and problems with memory and concentration.
These menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before menstruation stops and can often last around 4 years following the last period, although some women report experiencing these for much longer.
Menopause Treatment Options
Most women experiencing menopause will experience a range of menopausal symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be mild and easily treated by lifestyle changes but for others, treatment options are required.
Some treatment options include hormone replacement therapy (HRT), vaginal oestrogen treatments, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and the promotion of a healthy, balanced diet.
Supporting You Through Menopause
Here at The Mayfair GP, we understand that experiencing menopause can feel daunting as it can impact many aspects of your life. There are many options available which we can tailor to suit your individual needs.
Get in touch today to book an appointment at The Mayfair GP for an initial consultation where your individual needs would be discussed in order to determine the next available steps. This may include further testing, prescribing hormone replacement therapy or a referral to a Menopause Specialist. We are also able to continue established prescriptions of hormone replacement therapy from gynaecologists. With a strong background in Lifestyle Medicine, we can also help with lifestyle choice options.