Worried about the menopause?
The menopause is a natural stage of life. But hot flushes, mood swings and night sweats can make the menopause miserable for many women. London Medical’s top specialists are expert at supporting you through the change of life and providing advice and treatment so that your comfort, health and wellbeing are restored.
Menopause management at London Medical
You don’t have to put up with unpleasant menopausal symptoms. London Medical’s specialists have access to a range of up-to-date treatments to reduce discomfort and make the change of life a little more manageable.
Entering the menopause
The menopause is the time when the monthly period stops. It happens naturally when the ovaries can no longer produce the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The periods usually become less frequent over a few months or years and then stop completely.
The menopause typically happens between the ages of 45 and 55. However, one in a 100 women may experience a premature menopause before the age of 40. The menopause can also happen suddenly when the ovaries are removed or damaged by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Recognising the menopause
Some women sail through the menopause, while others suffer severe symptoms. However, three quarters of women will experience some changes, which can have a significant impact on physical and emotional wellbeing.
The menopause is defined by the final period, but symptoms can begin many months or years before that. This is known as the perimenopause and can be underdiagnosed and dismissed by doctors. Women often experience:
- Hot flushes
- Sweating at night
- Vaginal dryness and discomfort or pain during sex
- Insomnia and disturbed sleep
- Low mood, depression and feelings of anxiety
- Decreased sex drive
- Forgetfulness and problems with concentration
Symptoms can continue for up to four years after periods stop, but the menopause doesn’t have to be a struggle. The specialists at London Medical will listen to your concerns, fully assess your hormones and your health, and offer treatment to ease any discomfort or distress.
The menopause can often be diagnosed from your personal history and symptoms. London Medical offers a hormonal analysis. A blood test can measure the levels of a number of different hormones, including follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH) and oestradiol or oestrogen.
This test gives a more detailed picture of your hormonal health and is particularly important for women in the perimenopause whose periods are continuing or those who have had a premature menopause.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
HRT is given to replace the hormones that become depleted at the time of the menopause. It can be given as tablets, patches, gels and implants. Your consultant at London Medical will have the experience and knowledge to work together with you to prescribe the right treatment for your needs and your lifestyle.
Many women are concerned because of media scare stories about the treatment. However, HRT can make a real difference to the quality of life. Dr Anne Connolly from the Royal College of GPs said: ‘There are numerous potential benefits to be gained by women taking HRT, with the improvement of their menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats, and reduced libido.'
The consultants at London Medical keep a close eye on the latest research so that they can fully inform you about the pros and cons of treatment. Studies have shown that when HRT is started within ten years of the start of the menopause, it reduces the risk of osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and death from all causes. HRT is not the only way of managing menopausal symptoms. Specialists may also recommend:
Alternatives to HRT
- Some women do not want to take HRT, or have other health factors that could make treatment risky. There are alternatives. The specialists can advise on lifestyle measures, suggest natural therapies or prescribe medication to help improve your mood or address other symptoms.
– testosterone decreases as women grow older. A low dose of testosterone can boost libido and improve energy, mood and concentration.
Topical vaginal oestrogen
– Oestrogen preparations applied to the vulva and vagina can treat dryness and stop sex being painful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people are understandably concerned about the potential risk of breast cancer. Women who have had a hysterectomy can take oestrogen only HRT and do not have a greater breast cancer risk. Women who take combined HRT may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. However, it is similar in size to being slightly overweight or drinking a couple of glasses of wine each evening. If you have any concerns, talk to your specialist or the expert pharmacists at London Medical.
Dr Rakesh Amin
Rakesh is educational lead for endocrinology and diabetes at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Dr Harvinder Chahal
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