Menopause Advice and Guidance
Dr Tina Peers, Women's Health specialist looks at the Menopause, including premature menopause, peri menopause and advice and guidance on treatment.
13 million women in this country are menopausal or post menopausal- some 30% of the adult population, and yet there is a general lack of understanding about the menopause and what can be done to help women.
The menopause occurs in all women when they run out of eggs. The ovary then stops producing oestrogen , progesterone and testosterone.
These hormones have extremely important functions in a woman’s body and thus, when they are not there, 80-90% of women will experience symptoms, and the protection that they give is lost. As our life expectancy is so much longer than it used to be, this can have very negative implications for a woman’s health and quality of life in her 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
Premature menopause is under the age of 40. This occurs to 1% of the female population and it is vitally important that young women who experience loss of their periods, are fully investigated and treated as soon as possible. Early menopause is between 40 and 45. Women in this age group, who think that they may be going through the menopause, should have blood tests to help diagnose this and should receive HRT. This is very important as they will be more at risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and dementia because of the early start of their menopause.
The peri menopause is when the hormone production starts to fluctuate and this may result in changes to the periods, multiple symptoms ( can be present even when periods are regular still) and can last 4-5 years. In many women these symptoms can be debilitating and cause 10% to stop working! Many women visit their GP and the vast majority are offered antidepressants when they really would benefit hugely from HRT.
The menopause should be referred to as Oestrogen Deficiency, in my opinion. This is what it is and women’s quality of life and health can be restored by taking hormone replacement therapy.
Oestrogen is responsible for maintaining a healthy strong skeleton, for keeping our coronary arteries clear of plaques, helping our brains function, replacement and repair of collagen- extremely important for our joints and muscles which will diminish by 2% per annum without HRT in spite of exercise (!), reduces the risk of bowel cancer and reduces depression and the rate of suicide, both of which increase in peri and post menopause.
Hormone therapy reduces the death rate from any cause (all cause mortality).
I believe that the 2 most significant and important health decisions a woman will make in her life are her choice of contraception to control her fertility and taking HRT.
Not only will HRT improve the quality of her life now but also into the future, by reducing her risk of osteoporosis by 70%, heart disease ( heart attacks and strokes- the biggest cause of death in women) by up to 60%, dementia by up to 60%, bowel cancer by 30%, reduce her risk of Parkinson’s disease, maintain vaginal and bladder health and improve her libido.
The new body- identical HRT, available from GPs and Menopause Specialists, does not have the same effect on the breast as some older HRT preparations.
In fact, we have 5 years of data to show that natural micronised progesterone does not increase the risk of breast cancer- we think that it may actually slightly reduce the risk.
Women are becoming more aware that they do not need to suffer in silence, with their menopausal symptoms often causing them to feel like they have ‘lost’ themselves, making work difficult and putting strains on relationships!
We offer individualised advice and care for women - which is of paramount importance and which not only can literally give them their life back but also improve the quality of their lives in their middle and old age - something that is totally dependent on their state of health.
For more information on my practice and the services I offer, please take a look here.