GOOD PRACTICE clinic did a few interactive presentations about Menopause in recent months.
We were guests at the British School Jakarta, JIS and New Zealand School Jakarta.
Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life. It usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age. The average age of menopause is 51 years and the symptoms can last up to 7 to 10 years!
- Menopause is when your periods stop due to lower hormone levels.
- It can happen earlier naturally, because of surgery to remove the ovaries or the uterus, cancer treatments like chemotherapy, or genetic reason.
- Perimenopause is when you have symptoms before your periods have stopped. Menopause is when you have not had a period for 12 months.
- The symptoms could be anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, hot flashes and irregular periods. Tiredness, poor concentration and vaginal dryness are also very common. These symptoms can start before menopause and carry on afterwards.
- Menopause and perimenopause symptoms can have a big impact on your life, including relationships and work.
- There are ways to manage the symptoms. Medications that can replace the missing hormones are available to help relieve your symptoms.
Changes to menstrual periods.
They become irregular and eventually they stop altogether. The mental health symptoms can include mood changes and low self-esteem. It can also cause problems with memory or concentration.
Hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, palpitations (fast heartbeat), headaches, muscle aches, weight gain, dry and itchy skin, reduced libido, vaginal dryness, recurrent urinary tract infections.
What can you do about it?
A healthy diet and looking after your mental health can help. Try to:
- Rest sufficiently. Consume calcium to keep your bones healthy
- Exercise regularly and relax with meditation or yoga
- Talk to others about your symptoms and talk to your GP (Good Practice)
- Refrain from smoking and reduce alcohol intake
How to ease hot flashes:
Use light clothing. Make your environment cool. Have cool showers and cool drinks. Avoid spicy food, caffeine, hot drinks, smoking and alcohol. Try to lose weight and exercise. CBT is also an option.
Vaginal moisturisers or lubricants can help. HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or hormonal creams or pessaries can also be beneficial.
Preventing weak bones
It helps to exercise regularly, eat healthily and be exposed to sufficient vitamin D. Taking HRT can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis, around the time of menopause.
HRT is the main treatment. It involves using Oestrogen to replace your own levels. If you still have a womb (uterus) you will need progesterone to protect your womb lining from the effects of oestrogen.
Treatment for menopause and perimenopause
The main medical treatment for menopause and perimenopause symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which replaces the hormones that are at low levels.
There are other treatments if you cannot, or choose not to, have HRT.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
HRT is a safe and effective treatment for most going through menopause and perimenopause. Your GP will discuss any risks with you.
HRT involves using oestrogen to replace your body’s own levels around the time of menopause.
If you have a womb (uterus) you also need to take progesterone to protect your womb lining from the effects of oestrogen. This is called combined HRT. HRT relieves most of your menopause symptoms. The risks of using HRT are usually small but should be discussed with your GP.
Oestrogen for vaginal dryness
Oestrogen treatment can prevent dryness and it can improve urinary symptoms.
If you cannot take HRT:
Medicines like Clonidine and Gabapentin might help. Your mood might benefit from antidepressants.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT can help with low mood and anxiety. Some physical symptoms like hot flashes and joint pain might also benefit from CBT. Talk to your GP to find out what is best for you personally.
This article was provided by Good Practice. It is important that you identify a clinic you are comfortable with. Good Practice registered patients from 77 countries. Our English-speaking team implements international guidelines. We provide highly personalised care. Try us!