6 Things To Know About Menopause
Menopause is thankfully a topic that is being discussed more these days and breaking down the taboo of this wonderful - or not so wonderful chapter in a womans life.
I feel that women should know all the information so as they are best prepared.
For some women menopause comes with no or few symptoms. But for others, it can have a really negative impact. Mood swings like you’re a 17 year-old again. Then add in night sweats, hot flushes and vaginal dryness and if this isn't enough there's more.
But you don’t have to struggle your way through it. In today's blog, we will discuss the triggers and signs of menopause, how to prepare, the stages of menopause and hormone replacement therapy.
So what exactly is Menopause?
There is so much information out there, so let’s start with the basics.
It is easier to think of Menopause as being a 3-part cycle. Every woman will go through the menopause, with the exception of those who have had their ovaries removed before puberty.
First phase is perimenopause, followed by the menopause and then post menopause.
So, what is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the beginning of menopause. It usually starts in the late 30s or early 40s. It is the transition period from the fertile reproductive period to the non-fertile menopausal period. This is when your ovaries start to produce less oestrogen causing your periods to become irregular. This means your body is heading towards the end of its reproductive years.
There are no clearly defined limits to perimenopause but it usually lasts for about 4 years (stretching to as many as 8-20 years in some).
Symptoms of perimenopause (these are just a few and they are not the same for all women).
Irregular bleeding patterns
Poor sex drive
What is the Menopause?
Menopause is the end of the monthly menstrual bleeding. It usually happens in the late 40s or early 50s. During the menopause, the hormonal signallers which tell the uterus to shed its lining are in much shorter supply and oestrogen and progesterone levels drop rapidly and menstrual bleeding ends.
The menopause is defined as the end of one full year without menstrual bleeds and is actually a single point in time/ single day. Any time after this is referred to as post-menopausal.
Symptoms of menopause (once again, these are just a few and they are not the same for all women).
Watery vaginal discharge
Brain fog and memory loss
What is the Post Menopause?
Post menopause is the time after menopause. In this time, you have not had a period for more than 12 consecutive months and you are no longer ovulating. Some women still experience menopause symptoms in this time.
What triggers menopause
Menopause happens due to a change in the body’s sex hormones. It occurs when your ovaries stop producing as much oestrogen and stop releasing an egg each month. This often begins between the ages of 45 and 55.
Premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency occurs before age 40.
Early menopause is a term used before age 45. (2)
Any damage to your ovaries which causes oestrogen to stop producing can cause early menopause. This includes chemotherapy for cancer treatment or the removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy) (3)
Around 1 in 100 women experience menopause before the age of 40 although in the UK, the average age for a woman to reach menopause is 51.(1)
Preparing for menopause
Menopause is inevitable but it doesn’t have to hit you like a bus or be a stage in your life that you are worried about. Being healthy and prepared is the best thing you can do for your body.
In early stages of perimenopause it can feel like you're a teenager again in the sense that alongside your irregular periods, you may get tender breasts and bad PMS, finding yourself crying one minute and full of joy the next.
Here are a few life-syle changes which can help manage they symptoms:(2)
eat a balanced diet with plenty of calcium
take care of your mental health!
try stress management techniques
limit alcohol and caffeine
getting enough sleep
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Hormone replacement therapy is the treatment to help with the symptoms of menopause. After showing interest in HRT to your GP, you can usually start treatment as soon as you start experiencing symptoms usually with no tests needed. There are different types of hormone replacement available and you will get to choose whichever works best for you.
Benefits of HRT are that they relieve most of the symptoms of menopause like:
reduced sex drive
Types of HRT
HRT Hormones - most women will choose to take a combination of oestrogen and progestogen. although if you’ve had a hysterectomy (you no longer have a womb) you can take oestrogen on its own.
Ways of taking HRT:
HRT can also help prevent bone thinning which can lead to fractures (which is more common after menopause). Unfortunately many womens menopause symptoms are confused with signs of depression. Many surgeries now have a menopause expert in house and you can ask if this is available
HRT treatment plans - Much like a contraceptive pill the HRT medicine can be taken without stopping or used in cycles.
You can stop this treatment at any time.
Hormone replacement therapy isn’t your only option to manage the symptoms.
Bladder leaks and menopause
The loss of bladder control is due to hormonal changes which affects muscles strength in the pelvic floor.
The reduced levels of oestrogen can cause thinning of the lining of the urethra( the tube which passes urine from the bladder out of the body). Due to age the surrounding pelvic floor muscles may have weakened.
Bladder leaks may be a common thing during menopause and as you get older but it shouldn't be seen as normal!
Urinary incontinence is caused by a weak pelvic floor and our Secret Whispers Pelvic Floor Toner for Women is a must have product women need to have.
The Secret Whispers Kegel Kit comes with a 6-step programme on how to strengthen your pelvic floor which can prevent bladder leaks.
To learn about alternatives to HRT - You can read more HERE
#menopause #Oophorectomy #ovaryremoval #HRT