Benjamin Franklin in 1789 wrote “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” He obviously was not a Gynecologist! Otherwise he would have added Menopause.This heralds a tremendous change in a woman’s life. Due to the waning and ultimately cessation of function of the ovary, the hormones namely estrogen and progesterone production ceases. It brings forth a multitude of symptoms experienced and has widespread changes in the body systems. They include:

  • Hot flushes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Menstrual problems like heavy, irregular periods
  • Mood swings, poor concentration and memory
  • Tiredness
  • Changes in libido
  • Skin changes
  • Increased muscular and joint pains
  • Loss of bone mass leading to increased risk of osteoporosis

For most women menopause occur around the 50 year age mark. There is however a wide distribution with changes that occur in the early 40’s to late 50’s. Some women have genetic predisposition to even earlier menopause. Whatever, the timing, it can cause a significant upheaval in a woman’s life and may affect their relationships with their partner or family.

In helping a woman manage this critical phase of her life, I believe the following are important:

  • Emotional support
  • Information to help her understand the reason for her symptoms
  • Exercise
  • Managing menstrual abnormalities like heavy, irregular periods
  • Correcting deficiency of vitamins like iron, vitamin D
  • Excluding other medical conditions like thyroid disorders
  • Checking for osteoporosis
  • Consideration of non-hormonal therapies
  • Judicious use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Involvement of the family doctor
  • Use of other support organisations or medical specialists

With the large varieties of therapies available, most women can now be supported through this phase of their lives with minimal disruption to themselves and their family. Whilst many of these issues can be easily dealt with by the family doctor, in other more complex situations, I can provide advice and options of care.