WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

You have reached the ‘menopause’ 12 months after your final period, which usually happens in your mid-fifties.

It’s when ovulation stops and your oestrogen production reduces. The menopause actually happens gradually as you’ll notice your periods becoming less frequent over time with longer intervals between each one until finally they stop altogether.

For many, it’s the forerunner to the menopause, known as the ‘peri-menopause’ or menopause transition, that causes the most concern as it can affect you both emotionally and physically and can start up to 10 years before the menopause.

  • Emotionally, it can affect your memory and concentration, make you feel tired, depressed, irritable, moody, and less interested in sex.
  • Physically, you might go through hot flushes, sweats, chills, headaches, weight gain, palpitations, muscle pain, joint pain, urinary incontinence, disturbed sleep and thinning hair.
  • You might also notice a change to the amount of blood loss when menstruating and have a heavier flow too. So you may want to review your choice of sanitary protection.

Although you may feel a little low, at least you will be free from all those peri-menopausal symptoms and you no longer have to think about periods and contraception any more. In fact, this can be quite liberating.

As you won’t have the same level of hormones, it’s vital to look after your overall health. If you have any discomfort, pain, swelling or bleeding after the menopause, make sure you go and see your doctor straight away.

  • You might notice your vagina becoming drier as the walls of the urethra and vagina may become thin
  • The outward appearance of your inner and outer labia change
  • There is an increase and tendency for vaginal and urine infections
  • You might experience an urgency to pass urine or you might sometimes leak when sneezing or coughing
  • Osteoporosis – the decrease in oestrogen leads to thinning bones which are more susceptible to breaking
  • Heart disease – fatty deposits of cholesterol in blood vessels increase, which can cause heart attacks and strokes
  • Pro-lapse of the womb – when the uterus falls into or completely out of the vagina

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