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Menopause literally means the last menstrual period. The climacteric, which is commonly known as the menopause, is the time period in which symptoms occur, and oestrogen production falls and ultimately ceases. Menopause usually occurs between 40-56 years of ages. (The average age in the UK is 51 years).


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  • Hot flushes

  • Sweats

  • Psychological disturbances (memory loss, concentration failure, depression and loss of libido)

  • Loss of bone minerals (osteoporosis)

  • Loss of breast tissue

  • Skin thinning

  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse & vaginal dryness

  • Urinary frequency

  • Urgency

  • Irregular menstrual disturbances


Lifestyle changes as well as herbal and complimentary therapies can be useful for the self management of menopause. However if the above symptoms cannot be managed, they may be best treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This may be either a combination of oestrogen and progesterone, or oestrogen alone if the patient has had a hysterectomy. With most HRT drugs in patients who have not undergone hysterectomy, menstruation will continue until the woman stops taking the drug, but there are drugs that provide hormone replacement without causing bleeding. However there are a number of concerns expressed by women about HRT. For example, the possibility of an increased risk of breast cancer and deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs), the possibility of gaining weight, and the possibility of an increased risk of stroke/cardiovascular disease, and the increased risk of ovarian cancer with oestrogen only products.

Premature Menopause

Premature menopause is when the onset of menopause occurs before the age of 40.

It affects approximately:

  • One in every 100 women under 40

  • One in every 1000 women under 30

  • One in every 10,000 women under 20

Premature menopause can happen for several reasons. In most women it can be linked to the body’s immune system mistakenly damaging the ovary, perhaps as a side effect of trying to fight an infection. If the ovary is damaged, it means that no eggs will be released and your period or menstrual bleed will cease. Another cause of premature menopause is genetic predisposition.

Premature menopause can be very emotionally distressing, since infertility can be a devastating consequence. However, in women who still have their womb or uterus it is possible to achieve pregnancy using eggs donated by an egg donor and using IVF (In Vitro Fertilization).

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