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Menopause

Menopause

 

Menopause is a life stage that generally occurs in women in their late 40’s or 50’s.  It is a result of hormonal changes where oestrogen levels decrease and androgen levels increase, and is officially declared when there has been an absence of menstruation for more than 12 months.  Every woman will experience menopause and its side effects differently, but on average menopause lasts approximately 2 to 5 years.

 

 

The most common symptoms of menopause include:

  • Hot flushes,
  • Cold chills (often following hot flushes although sometimes women only experience the chill),
  • Heart palpitations,
  • Perspiration,
  • Hair loss,
  • Sleep disturbances,
  • Anxiety and depression, and
  • Osteoporosis.

 

 

Hot flushes
Hot flushes are one of the most common menopausal symptoms as the hormonal imbalance affects the temperature regulating centre of the brain. Hot flushes are when there is a sudden, intense feeling of heat - generally in the face, neck, arms and sometimes the whole body. Intensity of the sweats can range from mild to severe and similarly the frequency and duration can vary between individuals as well.

 

 

Mood swings
The hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone impact emotions and mood. Acute fluctuations of these hormones during menopause can consequently cause erratic mood swings, and women often find themselves reacting to situations with uncharacteristic anger, irritability or stress.

 

 

Osteoporosis
Low oestrogen levels during menopause result in calcium being less readily stored in the bones thereby increasing the risk of osteoporosis. In fact, one in three women over the age of 50 will experience bone fractures as a result of osteoporosis. Common fracture points are the hip, wrist, and spine. Be careful as after you’ve had one fracture, you are at increased risk of additional bone loss, further fractures and joint pain.

 

 

Management options
You cannot stop or prevent menopause, but the goal of management is to minimise symptoms. Options will depend on the individual but generally include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight (using a well balanced diet that is rich in calcium, healthy fats and fibre),
  • Exercise (to improve bone strength, mobility, mood and relaxation), and
  • Adequate sleep.

 

If symptoms persist, speak to your local health care practitioner.

 

 

Disclaimer
The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.

 

Sources

Menopause Centre
http://menopausecentre.com.au/menopause-symptoms-index

 

Jean Hailes
http://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-management

 

 

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