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The menopause is the point at which a woman has her last period. It is difficult to predict exactly when this is, but generally when a woman has not had a period for 1 year the menopause is complete. Leading up to this time a woman may get menopausal symptoms even though she is still having periods. Women have a menopause because the ovaries have stopped producing eggs and the hormone called oestrogen.
Most women will have their last period between the ages of 45 and 55, but in some cases it can happen earlier or later. The signs and symptoms leading up to the last period will be different for different women. Some will have no signs except that their periods have stopped.
The menopause can occur in much younger women, but this is less common. If a woman has had a hysterectomy, even if she still has her ovaries, she may experience menopausal symptoms earlier than expected. The hormone oestrogen plays an important role in keeping bones strong. After the menopause bones can become gradually weaker, more brittle and more liable to break. This is called osteoporosis. Oestrogen also gives women some protection against heart disease. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and so reduce the risk of weakened bones breaking. HRT may also reduce the risk of heart disease
The signs and symptoms will vary for everyone and all women approach the menopause differently.
Some common signs and symptoms are:
It is possible though rare. You need to continue to use contraception for a period of 1year after your last period.
Women in their 40's and 50's often have many pressures on them such as work, children, parents. It is important to think about whether a symptom or problem is due to the menopause or due to another health problem or event in your life.
Sometimes the pressures of life and the uneven hormone balance of the menopause can affect your memory and your emotions. It may help to keep lists of things you need to remember and try not to take too much on. If you are feeling unable to cope or generally low and depressed speak to your doctor
If you are generally well and content you are less likely to have problems during the menopause. Any changes you can make to improve your general health, like a healthy diet or taking more exercises, can help.
There is an increasing interest in alternative therapies, but very little research evidence.
Even when your menopause is complete you will still need regular cervical smears. All women should check their breasts regularly. If you are over 50 regular mammograms (breast screening) is also important.
Many women may experience very few problems during their menopause. It can be the start of a new and positive phase in your life, but help is available if you are finding things difficult. You might want to:
Menopause clinic services include:
Why does anyone else need to worry about it?
Women often go through the menopause at a time when not only their own lives are changing, but so are the demands and pressures for everyone around them. This can mean it is difficult for family, friends and colleagues to appreciate and understand the difficulties some women experience with the menopause.
Some women may become tired and forgetful or find it difficult to cope with things they normally have no problem with. Many of these changes will be out of the woman's control. Your help, support and understanding can prevent them becoming a problem.
Menopause clinic at H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital offers a one stop management of this phase of a women's life, you can approach us for treatment of troublesome symptoms or for counselling