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Related Conditions

WOMEN AND MENOPAUSE

Menopause normally occurs between the ages of 45 and 60 and starts when the ovaries gradually stop developing eggs and there is a progressive decline in hormone levels, most notably, oestrogen. Menopause takes place over a 10 15 year period.

Menopause encompasses a range of physical and emotional symtoms and changes in the body, due to the decrease in the hormone oestrogen.

Perimenopause is the symptoms experienced by women during the period prior to menopause. When perimenopause begins, the ovaries decrease the production of oestrogen and progesterone causing irregular menstrual cycles. Eventually ovulation and menstruation stops and the production of oestrogens and progesterone decline dramatically.

Symptoms
Treatment
Progesterone
Oestrogen
Oestrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT)
Research
Links For Women


SYMPTOMS

Physical and psychological symptoms can occur with the onset of menopause:

        Physical Symptoms

      • irregular menstrual periods
      • hot flashes
      • night sweats
      • disturbed sleep patterns
      • vaginal dryness and shrinkage of genital tissues, sometimes resulting in discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
      • dry skin
      • more frequent urination or leakage of urine
      • more frequent minor vaginal and urinary infections

Menopause usually occurs at a time when other dramatic changes are taking place around you. Physical changes and external changes that are occurring around you can result in emotional and psychological stress:

        Psychological Symptoms

      • anxiety
      • depression
      • tearfulness, irritability
      • sleeplessness
      • less desire for sex
      • lack of concentration
      • more trouble remembering things

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TREATMENT

Menopause is a natural progression in your life cycle and may not need any treatment at all, although, because of the lowered hormones in your body, the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis is increased. Many women take ooestrogen replacement therapy (ERT) or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to prevent these diseases from occurring.

To help your general mental and physical well being you can:

  • Have a mammogram every 2 years between the ages of 40 and 50, and every year after the age of 50
  • Eat more foods that are high in calcium, such as dark green vegetables and nonfat (skim) milk and dairy products
  • Reduce saturated fats in your diet. Check labels for product content before you buy them
  • Get regular physical exercise. Exercise will help you fight depression and maintain good circulation, mobility, bone density, and a sense of well-being
  • Use birth control during sexual intercourse until your health care provider says that you may stop. It is not possible to know exactly when you will stop being able to get pregnant and it is important to avoid high-risk pregnancies
  • Wear cotton sleepwear to reduce discomfort from night sweats
  • Use a vaginal lubricating cream or jelly if intercourse is painful. This problem is usually caused by a lack of ooestrogen and should be discussed with your health care provider
  • Talk and share feelings with a friend or family member who understands what you are experiencing
  • Join a support group for women who have been or are going through menopause

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PROGESTERONE

            Lack of Progesterone

          • Headache
          • Low Libido
          • Anxiety
          • Swollen Breasts
          • Moodiness
          • Fuzzy Thinking
          • Depression
          • Food Cravings
          • Irritability
          • Insomnia
          • Cramps
          • Emotional Swings
          • Painful Breasts
          • Weight Gain
          • Bloating
          • Inability to Concentrate
          • Early Menstruation
          • Painful Joints
          • Asthma
          • Acne

            Excess Progesterone

          • Depression
          • Somnolence

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OESTROGEN

            Lack of Oestrogen

          • Hot Flashes
          • Shortness of Breath
          • Night Sweats
          • Sleep Disorders
          • Vaginal Dryness
          • Dry Skin
          • Anxiety
          • Mood Swings
          • Headache
          • Depression
          • Memory Loss
          • Heart Palpitations
          • Yeast Infection
          • Vaginal Shrinkage
          • Painful Intercourse
          • Unable to Orgasm
          • Lact of Menstruation

            Excess Oestrogen

          • Water Retention
          • Fatigue
          • Breast Swelling
          • Fibrocystic Breasts
          • Premenstrual Like Mood Swings
          • Heavy or Irregular Menstruation
          • Uterine Fibroids
          • Craving for Sweets
          • Weight Gain

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ERT

The benefits of ERT are that it helps to prevent osteoporosis, it can also help to reduce the incidence of heart disease in older women as well. ERT may also help to relieve the mood changes that occur with menopause.

The disadvantages of ERT are that it can increase a woman's chance of endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus). Studies have shown though, that women who are treated with oestrogen and progesterone are less likely to develop this type of cancer.

Another possible risk of taking ERT is that your risk of breast cancer may be increased. There are still studies being undertaken to show this, but you should discuss this with your doctor anyway.

A combination of oestrogen and progesterone may cause continued vaginal bleeding. This will most likely fade with time.

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Research

There is also a Health Translations Online Directory that enables you, health practitioners, and those working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to easily find reliable translated health information.

The Directory provides web links to online multilingual resources across the health sector including government departments, peak health bodies, hospitals, community health centres and welfare agencies.

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The factual information on this page was compiled from:
Dr Whitaker's Guide To Natural Hormone Replacement Dr Julian Whitaker (http://www.compoundingchemist.com)
Your Hospital (http://www.beryl.net/yourhospital) and
West Lindfield Pharmacy (http://www.compoundingchemist.com/)


COMMENTS
by people who are women and are experiencing menopause.

Please send us your comments and experiences with being a woman and going through menopause to share with others.

Hi guys

I thought I should let some one know about my experience and if you can let other women know, perhaps the penny will drop with them.

I was diganosed with bi polar 3 yrs ago. It was only until 6months ago that I could see a pattern forming in my moods. I start going down hill 10days before my period, irritable, unable to concentrate, moody. Then as regular as clock work 4 days before my period I seriously contemplate suicide, having done it unsuccessfully afew times, thank goodness( even once in hospital). I am a mess. Then on the 2nd day of my period I go back to being normal. In the last few months by keeping a diary it has become noticeable that I have similar symptoms the day before and day of ovulation. I'm a different person for 2 wks of the month.Taking progestrone tablets have leviated most of the problem and strategies with my family to help cope with what's left.

I have a husband, 2 children, a business and am actively involved in community groups. Probably as busy and stressed as most women. I have not had a "manic" episode in over 3 years. So now my mental health nurse is helping me to work things with the gyno.

Thanks

Tess

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