What is menopause?
Not every woman has menopausal symptoms, others may experience some of the following:
Most of the physical effects associated with the menopause are due to oestrogen deficiency. Pubic hair becomes thinner, the labia flatten and the vaginal secretions decrease which can cause difficulty and discomfort during sexual intercourse. Changes to the skin and vaginal bacteria can also result in bladder infections (cystitis).
Loss of bone bulk and osteoporosis is a natural feature of ageing, but loss of oestrogen speeds up the process in women after the menopause.
The psychological effects of the menopause can also vary. Some feel they have come to the end of reproductive life, viewing the menopause as a significant stage in ageing. Others feel free from the worry of pregnancy, the troubles of the monthly periods, and perhaps the continuous use of contraception.
The most common treatment for post-menopausal difficulties is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the main aim of which is to replace natural oestrogen. As with any treatment, there seem to be both advantages and disadvantages.
Disadvantages of using HRT may include:
The use of HRT can be a complex decision which should only be undertaken after extended discussion with your doctor.
It is not the only option available and alternatives can be discussed to suit your personal circumstances.