Simplifying facts about Menopause
MD, MRCOG, FRCOG
DIRECTOR OBSTETRICS & GYNAECOLOGY
Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj
Menopause is when a woman stops having periods for a period of one year or more. It happens when ovaries stop producing hormones. Average age of menopause is from 45 to 55 years. It is called premature menopause if it occurs before the age of 40.
Symptoms can be hot flushes, night sweats, joint and muscle pain, vaginal dryness, mood changes, lack of interest in sex, brain fogging, insomnia. For some, symptoms are very mild but for some it can be distressing. Long term problem with menopause can be bone thinning disease called osteoporosis and heart disease.
A healthy lifestyle like exercise, yoga, meditation helps a woman to cope up with menopausal symptoms. Diet should be low in saturated fat and salt and rich in calcium and vitamin D to strengthen bones. Reducing alcohol intake and cessation of smoking can improve menopausal symptoms in addition to improving heart and bone health.
Menopausal Hormonal treatment (MHT) should be given to a woman with premature menopause till the age of 51years and those who have severe menopausal symptoms which are affecting her quality of life. MHT also protects against osteoporosis and osteoporosis related fractures if started in women under the age of 60 or within 10 years of the menopause. Vaginal dryness can be managed by lubricants and local vaginal hormones.
MHT is associated with a small increase in the risk of breast cancer however this risk is low compared to other lifestyle risk factors such as obesity and alcohol intake. This risk may be higher if MHT is taken for a longer time. MHT tablets are linked with a higher risk of developing a blood clot in women who are at risk of it.
Menopause is the natural transition in the life of a women. Consult your doctor for preventive health check-up and to discuss all the options available to make it comfortable.