The menopause marks the time in a woman's life when her menstruation stops and she is no longer fertile. The menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman's oestrogen levels decline. However, around 1 in 100 women experience the menopause before 40 years of age. This is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency. Common symptoms include:
• hot flushes
• night sweats
• vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
• difficulty sleeping
• low mood or anxiety
• reduced sex drive (libido)
• problems with memory and concentration
HOW IS MENOPAUSE DIAGNOSED?
Tests are not usually required to diagnose menopause and the signs and symptoms and the age of the woman is enough to determine this condition. Blood tests to check hormone levels of oestrogen, follicle stimulating hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone could be sometimes recommended.
HOW IS MENOPAUSE TREATED?
Menopause requires no medical treatment. Medications may be given for a temporary period to relieve the symptoms. These include hormone therapy, vaginal oestrogen or anti-depressants.
DID YOU KNOW?
Menopause is a natural process that every woman undergoes but the symptoms vary in severity.