Menopause

Menopause 2

What is

Menopause?

Menopause, perimenopause and postmenopause are stages in a woman’s life when her period stops. It marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Perimenopause is the first stage in this process and can start eight to 10 years before menopause. Menopause is the point or day when a woman no longer has menstrual periods for at least 12 consecutive months. Postmenopause is the stage after menopause.

Perimenopause is the time when we start to experience symptoms.

Anxiety , panic attacks and depression can all be signs of perimenopause and these vary between women but some women suffer so badly that the symptoms become debilitating. These symptoms can become so bad that they affect our work , relationships and emotional well-being in general.

Intense fatigue can be related to poor sleeping patterns and this affects many women with endless nights of looking at the ceiling. Restless nights and bouts of waking are very common.

Worsening premenstrual syndrome (PMS/PMT) is very common with symptoms like food craving, irritability and bloating and mood swings. All made worse by dipping progesterone levels.

Lack of libido (reduced or no sex drive ) happens with a lack of hormones including a lack of testosterone.

Hot flushes and night sweats can be an embarrassing physical symptom that are the most common symptom of menopause. Some women wake” drenched” in sweat having to change the sheets and nightclothes. This can disrupt sleep and have systemic effects on our relationships and work life.

Hot flushes can come from nowhere and sweep up through the body from the toes to the head. This can be particularly distressing for women at work and in social situations. Along with this can come heart palpitations, dizziness, and intense sweating.

Irregular periods are due to the body shutting down productively. You may experience lighter and less regular periods or heavier periods on the run up to the menopause.

Brain fog and concentrations issues can be extremely frustrating. Small tasks that were never an issue before can become a problem.

Vaginal dryness (Vaginal atrophy) happens when the walls of the vagina become thinner through declining oestrogen levels and this lack of oestrogen can make the natural lubrication of the vagina lessen.

Urinary complications such as recurrent urinary infections due to lack of oestrogen causing the walls of the bladder to be less elastic.

Joint pains again due to a lack of oestrogen can make joints feel achy and painful.

These symptoms do vary from women to women, but most of us will experience some of the symptoms. Oestrogen affects many systems in our bodies ; skin, bones, brain, heart and sexual organs.

How is the menopause diagnosed?

If you are 45 years old or over and are experiencing symptoms and or have irregular periods you don’t need a blood test to diagnose the menopause according to the Nice guidelines https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng23

If you are below 45 then you may need to have tests to determine your FSH levels, if this is higher than it should be then you are probably menopausal.

Menopause is a completely natural phase of every women’s life but some conditions can bring on an early menopause . Some of these include;

  • Hysterectomy
  • Cancer treatments
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Chromosome defects

GP guidance on the menopause can vary hugely depending on the practice but don’t be fobbed off. Get a second opinion if need be. Stories of women coming away from their doctors confused and upset by the lack of knowledge is common unfortunately.

Be persistent, ask for a second opinion and if you can go armed with a list of what you are experiencing it can be helpful.

For a complete list of menopause symptoms head here www.marvellousmidlife.co.uk

Anxiety , panic attacks and depression can all be signs of perimenopause and these vary between women but some women suffer so badly that the symptoms become debilitating. These symptoms can become so bad that they affect our work , relationships and emotional well-being in general.

Intense fatigue can be related to poor sleeping patterns and this affects many women with endless nights of looking at the ceiling. Restless nights and bouts of waking are very common.

Worsening premenstrual syndrome (PMS/PMT) is very common with symptoms like food craving, irritability and bloating and mood swings. All made worse by dipping progesterone levels.

Lack of libido (reduced or no sex drive ) happens with a lack of hormones including a lack of testosterone.

Hot flushes and night sweats can be an embarrassing physical symptom that are the most common symptom of menopause. Some women wake” drenched” in sweat having to change the sheets and nightclothes. This can disrupt sleep and have systemic effects on our relationships and work life.

Hot flushes can come from nowhere and sweep up through the body from the toes to the head. This can be particularly distressing for women at work and in social situations. Along with this can come heart palpitations, dizziness, and intense sweating.

Irregular periods are due to the body shutting down productively. You may experience lighter and less regular periods or heavier periods on the run up to the menopause.

Brain fog and concentrations issues can be extremely frustrating. Small tasks that were never an issue before can become a problem.

Vaginal dryness (Vaginal atrophy) happens when the walls of the vagina become thinner through declining oestrogen levels and this lack of oestrogen can make the natural lubrication of the vagina lessen.

Urinary complications such as recurrent urinary infections due to lack of oestrogen causing the walls of the bladder to be less elastic.

Joint pains again due to a lack of oestrogen can make joints feel achy and painful.

These symptoms do vary from women to women, but most of us will experience some of the symptoms. Oestrogen affects many systems in our bodies ; skin, bones, brain, heart and sexual organs.

How is the menopause diagnosed?

If you are 45 years old or over and are experiencing symptoms and or have irregular periods you don’t need a blood test to diagnose the menopause according to the Nice guidelines https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng23

If you are below 45 then you may need to have tests to determine your FSH levels, if this is higher than it should be then you are probably menopausal.

Menopause is a completely natural phase of every women’s life but some conditions can bring on an early menopause . Some of these include;

  • Hysterectomy
  • Cancer treatments
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Chromosome defects

GP guidance on the menopause can vary hugely depending on the practice but don’t be fobbed off. Get a second opinion if need be. Stories of women coming away from their doctors confused and upset by the lack of knowledge is common unfortunately.

Be persistent, ask for a second opinion and if you can go armed with a list of what you are experiencing it can be helpful.

For a complete list of menopause symptoms head here www.marvellousmidlife.co.uk