Menopause

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Almost every woman will experience the menopause, when their monthly periods stop and they’re unable to have children in the usual way.

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It’s a natural process that typically occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55 and is brought about by a decline in the amount of the hormone oestrogen being produced by the ovaries.

Many women will also experience a range of unpleasant symptoms as their bodies adapt to these changes, but fortunately, there’s more ways than ever to make the menopause easier to deal with.

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menopaue symptoms

Symptoms of Menopause

While most women experience the menopause in their early 50s, it can occur much earlier and it’s not clear what causes this.

It can also occur in women whose ovaries have been affected by treatment for another medical condition (like chemotherapy or radiotherapy), or those who’ve had a hysterectomy.

Symptoms of the menopause will kick in before the process begins, sometimes occurring years beforehand. These typically include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Hot flushes
  • Sweating, particularly at night
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety, low mood and sometimes, depression
  • A reduction in sex-drive
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating

The above list is far from exhaustive, however, and there can be a variety of other, less common symptoms that affect women in the run-up to their menopause.

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Treating symptoms of the menopause

It’s recommended that you speak to a GP if you’re experiencing any troubling symptoms related to the menopause, or if you think you’ve started going through the menopause and you’re under the age of 45. While your symptoms will usually be enough to determine whether or not you’re menopausal, in some cases (particularly where the menopause kicks in before the age of 45), blood tests may be required to measure hormone levels.

There are a range of ways to address the symptoms of the menopause, including:

Lifestyle changes: Exercise and a healthy diet aren’t just generally good for your health,, but can help to relieve several symptoms associated with the menopause, including mental health issues.

CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy): This is a kind of talking therapy, which has been found to help women suffering from the range of mental health problems that can be triggered by the menopause.

HRT (hormone replacement therapy): The decline in oestrogen being produced by your ovaries can be eased by supplementing it from artificial sources. HRT can be administered in a variety of ways, including implants, tablets, gels and patches that you put on your skin.

Vaginal dryness: This can be addressed using a range of moisturisers, lubricants or creams containing oestrogen.

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woman after treatment

See a doctor about the menopause

If you’re experiencing troubling menopause-related symptoms, see a doctor online now. Our GPs can discuss what you’re going through, provide expert medical advice on how to deal with particularly challenging symptoms and if needed, prescribe medication to help make your menopause easier to deal with.

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