Menopause is a natural transition in a woman's life from being fertile and producing oestrogen and progesterone, to no longer being fertile and no longer having to worry about contraception. Technically it is defined as the time the woman has her last menstrual period.
The withdrawal from oestrogen that occurs in menopause causes some women to have hot flushes, night sweats, low mood, dry vaginal epithelium, sexual dysfunction, more frequent urinary tract infections, not to mention thinning of hair, skin and bones and weight gain. So nature is not kind to women! Notwithstanding that, about a third of women fly through the menopause and have minimal symptoms; about a third have some symptoms that they can cope with and that pass and diminish over a year or two and about a third will have a miserable time and need treatment.
The average age is 51 but it can occur normally between 45 and 55.
Premature menopause, or menopause occurring before the age of 45 needs to be treated as the evidence is that bone and heart health can be affected if untreated and that means that Hormone Replacement Therapy is definitely recommended for women with early menopause.
For most women, HRT will not be necessary. However HRT has had very bad press in recent years and the dangers of HRT have been exaggerated, especially as a causative factor in breast cancer. In fact being sedentary, over weight and drinking alcohol are greater risk factors for breast cancer than most forms of HRT between the ages of 50 and 55. Women should not be denied HRT due to over stated claims about its risks as the risks are in fact small and if a woman is having a lot of the above symptoms, she may well need HRT for a few years under medical supervision of course.
The peri menopause is the two years prior to a woman's last period and sometimes women have fluctuations in mood and hot flushes during that time and also their periods may become more frequent or more irregular. If the woman has a Mirena coil in situ she may not have any menstrual periods and my wonder if she is in the menopause . There are quite reliable blood tests we can do to ascertain whether a woman is in the menopause or not and there is help available, even for women who are reluctant to take HRT.
The menopause clinic is one of the specialty clinics on offer in The Cremore Clinic. If you think you are suffering from menopausal symptoms you can ring (01) 834 4611 and book a Specialty clinic appointment.