Uploaded by mumsa1 on May 14, 2012
In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 52.
In this article:
What is the menopause?
Advice & Support
How Chemist Online can help
What is the menopause?
A natural part of the ageing process, the menopause is a phase which indicates the end of your reproductive years. Think of it as your last menstrual period, where your periods gradually become less frequent until they stop altogether.
If you reach the menopause stage before the age of 45, this is known as early menopause. However, this is relatively uncommon.
Symptoms of the menopause include:
Periods becoming less frequent until complete cessation of them
Changes to the vagina and genital skin, where these areas become drier and thinner
Aches and pains in joints
Also, during or as a result of the menopause, many women develop depressive illness, as well as the aforementioned mood disorders. Please see contact details for the Depression Alliance at the Advice & Support section at the foot of this article.
As we have seen, the menopause is a natural stage in the ageing process. However, some things can cause an early menopause, such as:
Having a genetic predisposition (i.e. there is a history of early menopause in your family – the propensity to you having an early menopause is passed down from a previous generation, therefore)
Surgery to the ovaries (note: with age, your ovaries produce less oestrogen and stop producing eggs. Early menopause can occur as a result of your ovaries having been removed for some reason)
Radiotherapy or chemotherapy – as part of treatment for cancer (particularly if the radiotherapy has been used in the pelvic area)
Hysterectomy – removal of the uterus
Most women are able to ‘self-diagnose’ there menopause by being aware of their symptoms and what this indicates as they reach their early 50s. However, if you would prefer a confirmed diagnosis (or suspect that you may be going through an early menopause), make an appointment with your GP. After taking your medical history, he or she will ask you about your symptoms, and may carry out some hormone blood tests to establish whether your menopause is early or whether you are going through the menopause as a natural stage of the ageing process.
As you reach the menopause, one treatment option is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). This actively boosts hormone levels (i.e. the hormones that are reduced as a result of the onset of the...