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The Menopause

An Explanation...

As a woman approaches her late 40's and early 50's her hormone levels naturally decline, causing the ovaries to become inactive and menstruation to stop. This is termed the menopause or 'change of life' - the body adjusts to a new situation. This change is weathered easily by some but most women notice differences themselves. The changes are not sudden but may take place over a few years. They usually start when a woman reaches her mid to late 40's, but can begin as early as the late 30's.

Certain symptoms - caused mainly by the sudden fall in oestrogen - may continue for some time. Though these symptoms are perfectly natural, all women should be aware how they affect their health. Symptoms include -

 

 

Early Signs...

 

 

Intermediate Signs...

Intermediate signs may occur along with early signs.

 

 

Long Term Signs...

 

What can you do?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can often help with managing symptoms. It is very effective in combating the early, intermediate and long term effects of the menopause. Taking HRT will help prevent the occurrence of the usual signs, such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness and thinning of the bones, all due to a lack of oestrogen.

 

Definitions

What is an oestrogen?

Oestrogen is a hormone produced by the ovaries which ripens the eggs that are produced each month. In HRT preparations, low doses of oestrogen are used to replace the natural hormone that is no longer being produced by the ovaries.

What is a progestogen?

Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries, which helps prepare the lining of the womb each month for a fertilised egg. During the normal menstrual cycle, the drop in progesterone at the end of the cycle causes the lining of the womb to be shed - a period.

Progesterone itself is not used in HRT tablets as it is rapidly broken down by the body when taken by mouth, and therefore has little effect. In view of this, synthetic forms of progesterone, called progestogens, are often used in HRT preparations.

Women who have a womb will be prescribed an HRT preparation that contains a progestogen since this has been shown to keep the lining if the womb healthy and reduce the likelihood of developing endometrial cancer.

 

HRT Preparations

Tablets - they either contain oestrogen alone (if you have had a hysterectomy) or of oestrogen and progestogen (if you still have a uterus).

Creams - a plastic syringe-like applicator is used to deliver a measured dose of oestrogen cream into the vagina.

Pessaries/tablets - oestrogen impregnated pellets or tablets are inserted directly into the vagina using an applicator.

Vaginal Rings - a ring impregnated with oestrogen is inserted high into the vagina and worn continuously for 3 months.

Patches - HRT is absorbed through the skin from adhesive patches.

Gels - oestrogen-containing gel is rubbed into the skin.

Implants - pellets containing a 6-month supply of oestrogen are inserted under the skin of the thigh or buttock.

 

Body Maintenance

Breasts -

 

Cervical Smears -

 

Unusual Bleeding -

 

Discharge -

 

Urinary Problems -

 

Prolapse -

 

 

Looking and Feeling Good...

Eat Yourself Healthy

 

Regular Exercise

 

Smoking Wastes Good Health

 

Think Positive

 

Looking Good

 

Time to Unwind

 

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