Menopause is when a woman stops having period for 12 months. Prior to this, she may experience different symptoms such as
- Hot flushes
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Bloating or weight gain
- Changes in mood
- Irregular periods
- Tenderness or pain of the breasts
- Reduced libido
These symptoms vary from person to person. They can start from 6 years prior to the last menstrual period and some years after the last menstrual period. The average age for menopause is 50-51 years old. A woman suffers from menopause due to a natural and gradual decline in oestrogen and progesterone.
A woman may however experience menopause if she have had:
- Total hysterectomy
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
The treatment for menopause helps to relieve the symptoms and preventing or managing chronic conditions that come with ageing:
- Hormone therapy
Depending on personal and family medical history, a doctor may recommend estrogen in the lowest dose needed to provide symptom relief. If a woman still has a uterus, she’ll need progestin in addition to estrogen. Estrogen also helps prevent bone loss.
- Vaginal estrogen
To relieve vaginal dryness, estrogen can be administered directly to the vagina using a vaginal cream, tablet or ring. This treatment releases just a small amount of estrogen, which is absorbed by the vaginal tissues. It can help relieve vaginal dryness, discomfort with intercourse and some urinary symptoms.
- Low-dose antidepressants
Certain antidepressants related to the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may decrease menopausal hot flashes. A low-dose of antidepressant for management of hot flashes may be useful for women who can’t take estrogen for health reasons or for women who need an antidepressant for a mood disorder.
- Gabapentin (Neurontin)
Gabapentin is approved to treat seizures, but it has also been shown to help reduce hot flashes. This drug is useful in women who can’t use estrogen therapy and in those who also have migraines.
- Medications to prevent or treat osteoporosis
Depending on individual needs, doctors may recommend medication to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Several medications are available that help reduce bone loss and risk of fractures.