Menopause is when menstruation ends due to the natural decline of oestrogen and progesterone and the cessation of ovarian function. It is diagnosed once a women had gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can occur anytime in your 40s or 50s but the average age in the UK is 52 years.
There are many physical symptoms that occur in the months or years leading up to menopause. This is known as perimenopause. Typically, perimenopause begins about 5 years before menopause, but a small number of women experience symptoms for up to 10 years before.
- irregular periods
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- disturbed sleep patterns
- irritability and mood changes
- depression and anxiety
- short term memory loss
- vaginal dryness
- weight gain
- thinning hair and dry skin
- increased hair growth on the face, neck, chest and upper back
After menopause women have an increased risk of the following conditions:
- Cardiovasular disease
- Urinary incontinence
- Sexual dysfunction
- Weight gain
- Psychological symptoms
- Depressed mood, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, lethargy and lack of energy
- Urinary symptoms
Effective treatments range from simple lifestyle changes to hormone therapy.
Lifestyle changes include:
- Manage hot flushes by dressing in layers, having cold drinks, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, keeping rooms cool.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol to improve sleep and hot flushes.
- Stop smoking.
- Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains and limit saturated fat and sugar.
- Treat vaginal dryness with over the counter water-cased lubricants.
- Take daily exercise to help with sleep, weight gain and help protect against heart disease and osteoporosis.
- Use relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or yoga.
You may be advised to take calcium, vitamin D and magnesium supplements to increase your energy levels, improve your sleep and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
For changes to depression and anxiety some patients may find antidepressants and/or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy beneficial.
Some patients report they find relief of their symptoms through homeopathy, acupuncture and reflexology.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
You may benefit from HRT if your symptoms are having an affect on your quality of life. HRT replaces the oestrogen hormone that is lost during menopause.
You will need a full assessment to determine your suitability for HRT. Your consultant will want to confirm menopause and understand your symptoms, and will assess the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. Your consultant will ask if you have a history of thrombosis or migraines and will want to know if there’s a family history of breast, bowel or ovarian cancer. As with any medication, HRT has benefits and risks and these will be outlined and discussed.
HRT preparations vary in strength and combinations. Your consultant will recommend either a combination of oestrogen and progesterone, known as combined HRT, or oestrogen alone. Combined HRT can be either ‘sequential’ or ‘continuous’. The difference is the progesterone is taken for 10 to 14 days a month only, leading to a bleed similar to that of the menstrual cycle, or it is taken continuously to avoid bleeding.
The most common way of taking HRT is oral tablets. Other routes include through the skin in the form of a patch or gel, or as a vaginal pessary, cream or ring.
Your consultant will discuss your options with you to help you make the choice that is best for you.
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a specialist Gynaecologist for an initial consultation, usually within 48 hours. Treatment and advice for managing the symptoms of menopause is available at One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire, which is perfectly suited for patients located in St Albans, Stevenage, Watford, Welwyn, North London and throughout Bedfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Menopause treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, X-ray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience