What is the menopause?
The menopause, or change of life, as it is also known, refers to the time in a woman’s life when the menstrual periods become less regular and eventually stop altogether. With the menopause can come a number of changes, both physical and emotional, and for some women these changes can be quite pronounced and difficult to deal with.
If you are one of the many women who are finding some of the symptoms difficult to cope with, a gynaecological appointment can be very reassuring. There are various ways in which we can help and when you come for your consultation we can talk through your personal situation and discuss what is best for you. One of the treatment options that you may be keen to talk about is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and we can give you plenty of information on this much talked about subject and answer your questions.
The expression ‘the menopause’ literally refers to the last menstrual period. However, when we talk about the menopause, we are talking about the phase in life when normal regular menstrual periods associated with ovulation start to become less regular, ‘the peri menopause’, up until the point where the periods stop altogether.
Symptoms of the menopause
Many women experience certain changes at this time, most classically the development of some hot flushes and night sweats and sometimes dryness of the vagina. However there are many other symptoms which can become a nuisance for some women. These changes can include poor memory, loss of confidence, mood swings, change in the quality of skin, hair and nails, along with poor sleep and loss of energy.
Click here to read about the treatment(s) involved in treating Menopause. If you would like more information or wish to make an appointment regarding menopause, please get in contact.
Ways you can help yourself
Of course the menopause is not a disease as such, and is a natural state that every woman will experience. Many women will choose to go through their menopause without the need for any medical advice. Simple things like attention to a healthy diet, taking plenty of exercise and avoiding excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption can certainly help women to manage with their menopausal symptoms. Some women will use a variety of different natural remedies to try and help with their symptoms, although these have quite variable levels of success when subjected to proper research.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Perhaps the most contentious area of treatment for the menopause is the use of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Most of the symptoms of the menopause are caused by lack of oestrogen as the ovaries cease to function normally. Replacement of this oestrogen gives excellent relief in terms of classical menopausal symptoms.
Many women have come to fear the possibility of HRT because of information that they have gathered from TV, from magazines or from what they have heard from friends. For these women there is a conundrum. On the one hand they may be suffering from very troublesome symptoms for which HRT seems to offer the most effective form of treatment. On the other hand, they are concerned whether the treatment is going to be safe and appropriate. This is where a trip to see your gynaecologist can be of great value.
Deciding what is right for you
We can look at your individual circumstances and talk to you about the different options that are available to you. Many patients, when they have had the full story explained to them, are surprised at how small the risks of HRT are, when compared with the benefits that can be provided. Breast cancer risk is always a concern, so it is reassuring to know that in the first few years of HRT most experts agree that there is no increased risk at all.