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 All about the Menopause

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Dawnie
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Number of posts : 4628
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PostSubject: All about the Menopause   Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:42 am

Menopause is the point when your periods stop for good. It's a natural
part of ageing, signalling the end of your reproductive years. The
average age of natural menopause is 51, although this varies from woman
to woman and can happen earlier or later. It may also be brought on by
surgery, drugs or radiotherapy.

What is the menopause?



The menopause happens when there are no more eggs in your ovaries.
Your eggs stimulate your ovaries to produce oestrogen, so there is drop
in the levels of oestrogen in the blood when the eggs in your ovaries
run out. This fall in hormone levels disrupts your menstrual cycle and
produces the other symptoms that are associated with menopause.


When does the menopause happen?



The menopause usually happens gradually. For a few years before
menopause, your periods may become irregular, happening every two to
three weeks to every few months. There may be a change in the amount of
bleeding - slightly heavier periods are more common.
If you have started noticing these changes or other menopause
symptoms (see Symptoms of Menopause), you are said to be
perimenopausal. The perimenopausal stage lasts around four years and
starts on average at 47. You are considered to be through the menopause
when it's been a year since your last period.
Women who smoke go through the menopause an average of two years
early. Menopause is likely to happen later in women who have taken the
contraceptive pill or given birth.
Surgery that removes the ovaries causes an immediate menopause.
Surgery to remove the womb (hysterectomy), some types of radiotherapy
and some types of chemotherapy can also result in menopause.
When menopause happens before the age of 40, it's considered a
premature menopause (or early menopause). You should see your GP for
advice if you are under 40 and you begin to get menopause symptoms.



Symptoms of menopause



Although some women have no symptoms other than the ending of their
periods, eight in 10 experience menopause symptoms. These can include:



  • hot flushes - eight in 10 women experience flushes

  • night sweats

  • palpitations (a feeling of a thumping heartbeat in your chest)

  • mood changes such as irritability, depression or anxiety, although it's
    possible that these are due to life changes rather than the menopause
    itself
    "

  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia), due to night sweats or mood changes

  • thinner, drier skin, hair and brittle nails

  • aches and pains in your joints

  • loss of interest in sex (libido)

  • weight gain

  • headaches

  • vaginal changes - dryness, pain during sexual intercourse and increased risk of vaginal infections

  • urinary changes - inability to control urination (incontinence) and increased risk of urinary infections

The reduced levels of hormones can increase the risk of various health problems in the long term. These include:


  • osteoporosis (loss of bone density) - the bones may become brittle and break more easily

  • heart disease, increasing the risk of having a heart attack

  • stroke

  • weight gain, which increases the risk of heart problems

  • weakness of the pelvic floor and vaginal muscles


Treatment of menopause



Physical activity


Regular exercise can help improve some symptoms of the menopause,
including hot flushes and night sweats, difficulty sleeping and mood
changes.
Physical activity that stresses the bones, such as running and walking, can slow down the loss of bone density. Physical
activity can also help protect against heart disease and stroke. The
recommended amount of physical activity is at least half an hour of
moderate intensity physical activity on at least five days each week.

Diet


Your diet should include enough calcium and vitamin D, which help
keep bones strong and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. You need at
least 700mg of calcium per day, which you can get from milk, other
dairy products, tinned fish with bones such as sardines, and leafy
green vegetables.
Our skin produces most of the vitamin D we need when it's exposed to
sunlight. In the diet, vitamin D is found in oily fish, eggs and some
fortified breakfast cereals. Make sure your diet includes plenty of
vitamin D if you are indoors a lot of the time, avoid the sun or cover
up your skin completely.
Eating more than 1.5mg of vitamin A per day may increase the risk of
osteoporosis. High levels of vitamin A are found in liver and liver
products such as pate, so you should only have these once a week, or
eat small portions You are more likely to gain weight around your waist
after the menopause. This puts you at a higher risk of heart disease,
diabetes, breast and endometrial cancer, so it's important that you try
to keep at a healthy weight for your height.

Hormone replacement therapy


Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) replaces some of the hormones that
are reduced during and after the menopause. It usually includes a
combination of oestrogen and progesterone, rather than just oestrogen.
This is because taking oestrogen on its own increases the risk of
cancer in the lining of the womb. You can have oestrogen-only HRT if
you have had an operation to remove your womb (a hysterectomy).
Combined HRT (oestrogen and progesterone) comes in tablets and
patches. Alternatives include skin gels and implants. Vaginal creams,
pessaries or a vaginal ring may be helpful for vaginal problems such as
dryness.
HRT can have side-effects, including tender breasts, heavier
periods, water retention, weight gain, depression and irritability.
Changing the type and dose of HRT may reduce the side-effects. You can
ask your GP for more information and advice on different forms of HRT.

Benefits of HRT


The long-term benefits of HRT are a reduced risk of osteoporosis,
and, for combined HRT, a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. Other
benefits include:


  • relief from hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness

  • it may improve sleep by reducing night sweats

  • maintenance of vaginal muscle tone, which may help to reduce urinary incontinence


Risks associated with HRT


Taking HRT for a long time may slightly increase the risk of developing certain conditions, including:


  • breast cancer

  • endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the womb) or ovarian cancer when you take oestrogen-only HRT

  • a blood clot in your leg vein (deep vein thrombosis)

  • gallstones

  • stroke and possibly heart disease

You should talk to your GP about weighing up the benefits and risks of taking HRT.

Non-HRT treatments


Other treatment options include the following.
For hot flushes and night sweats:


  • other medicines that include hormones, such as tibolone (containing a steroid plus hormones), or progesterone-only medicine

  • non-hormonal medicines such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors
    (SSRIs) eg paroxetine - two-thirds of women find that these reduce hot
    flushes

  • practical steps such as keeping cool and avoiding possible triggers such as spicy food, caffeine, smoking or stress

For loss of libido and vaginal dryness:


  • vaginal lubricants

  • medicines containing the hormone testosterone

For mood disturbances, your GP may recommend counselling or
antidepressant medicines. HRT is not recommended if depression, anxiety
or other mood disturbances are your only menopause symptoms.

Complementary therapies


There isn't enough evidence for doctors to recommend taking
phytoestrogens (naturally occurring oestrogen-like compounds found in
plants), but some studies have found that one type, called isoflavone,
may reduce hot flushes. However, there may be an increased risk of
endometrial cancer. Dietary sources of phytoestrogen include roasted
soy beans, soy milk, tofu and miso.
There is little scientific evidence to show that herbal remedies are
effective. However, some women may find they help relieve symptoms.
Examples include black cohosh, angelica and evening primrose oil.
Bear in mind that herbal remedies are medicines, and should be used
with care as they can have side-effects and interact with other
medicines. There is no statutory regulation of herbal medicines at
present, so you can't be sure that a herbal medicine definitely works,
what it contains or whether it was produced properly. However, the UK
government is in the process of introducing a system to regulate both
herbal medicines and medical herbalists.
You should ask your GP or pharmacist for advice if you decide to try
any herbal treatments.
Other complementary therapies that promote relaxation, exercise, and
wellbeing (such as aromatherapy, acupuncture, yoga and reflexology) may
help reduce symptoms in some women.

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PostSubject: Re: All about the Menopause   Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:14 am

doctor thinks i could be starting that as my periods are everywhere and i get the flushes i have to wait another month to see how i am then go for a blood text Rolling Eyes

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PostSubject: Re: All about the Menopause   Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:06 am

you could be sounds like you are hun some people can start as early as 30.see what the doctors say good luck hun cuddles awww what us poor woman have to cope with Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

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Location : liverpool
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PostSubject: Re: All about the Menopause   Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:19 am

i know but just think no more periods to worry about will be great lol!



but yeah have to wait and see

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