Menopause, also known as the climacteric, is a time in women’s life when their menstrual periods stop permanently. The average age of menopause is 51 years and the age of menopause varies between 45 and 58.
Transition to menopause can take anything from 1-2 to 5-7 years. During early transition to menopause, the levels of oestrogen and progesterone often rise which causes breast tenderness, bloating, fluid retention, mood swings, sleep problems.
Can include hot flushes, mood changes, difficulties sleeping, vaginal dryness, painful sexual intercourse and osteoporosis. Some women notice changes in their hair and skin as they get to menopause.
Although irregular bleeding can be one of the “normal” signs of transition to menopause, it is necessary to contact your gynaecologist if you bleed more often than every 21 days, if your bleeding is very heavy, if your bleeding lasts for more than 8 days, if your bleeding occurs after 6 months without any bleeding. Such types of bleeding will require full doctors examination, gynaecological examination and pelvic ultrasound to exclude sinister causes of bleeding.
There are a number of interventions available to prevent and treat menopausal symptoms. A healthy lifestyle with reduction of stress factors, the practice of mindfulness, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol (avoiding red wine) and physical exercise are very important and work well in preventing and diminishing menopausal symptoms.
It is important to have regular general check-ups including blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, mammogram, bone density, cervical (Pap) smear. The doctor will also be able to make sure that symptoms you are experiencing are related to menopause and not caused by any sinister illnesses.
Dietary changes suggested for reduction of menopausal symptoms include avoidance of processed food, refined sugars, red meat, increasing fibre, complex carbohydrates, vegetables. Supplementation of with essential fatty acids, vitamin E and selenium for hot flushes, vitamin C for hot flushes, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium for bone health, vitamin B for dry skin and hair.
Hot flushes are usually caused by fluctuation of oestrogen levels. Some women experience no hot flushes at all, others may have a few, and some women experience hot flushes for even through to their 80th or 90th… Hot flushes are only treated if they interfere with the quality of life and daily activities. The best treatment of hot flushes is supplementation of oestrogen in form of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or bioidentical creams containing oestrogen. If you still have your uterus, oestrogen and progesterone will be prescribed together. If you don’t have a uterus, you can take oestrogen alone. Hormone therapy isn’t for everyone. Don’t take it if you've ever had breast cancer, uterine or "endometrial" cancer, blood clots, liver disease, or a stroke. There are other ways of treating of hot flushes for women who cannot take hormonal treatment, but unfortunately, they are not as effective as oestrogen supplementation. Other ways of treating hot flushes include antidepressant medication, (medication usually used to treat high blood pressure. Dietary changes may be helpful for some women.
Mood changes and sleep disturbances are also caused by changes in levels of hormones and the above-mentioned treatment for hot flushes will also work for mood swings.
Osteoporosis or thinning of bones is related to low oestrogen levels and the rate increases once women get to menopause. Taking calcium and doing weight bearing exercises prevents osteoporosis.
Vaginal dryness, pain during sexual intercourse and frequent urinary and vaginal infection due to thinning of vaginal skin are all caused by low oestrogen levels. The treatment is the use of KY gel during intercourse, use of oestrogen cream vaginally. A new very effective treatment for vaginal dryness is now available. Dr Novikova offers vaginal laser (Femilift) treatment for vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and frequent infections. You can find the details of Femilift vaginal laser treatment on Dr Novikova’s website.
Dr Novikova is highly experienced in treating all conditions associated with menopause.