What is menopause?
Menopause is a normal stage of life that women pass through as they age, usually around the age of 50. It describes the changes she goes through just before or just after she stops menstruating, marking the end of her fertility. It may also occur as a result of surgery, treatment of a disease, or illness.
What are the signs and symptoms of menopause?
The first sign of menopause is usually irregular menstruation. There are a number of other symptoms, including:
– Mood swings.
– Night sweats.
– Hot flashes.
– Lower sex drive.
– Vaginal dryness.
– Trouble sleeping.
– Weight gain and slowed metabolism.
– Thinning hair.
– Dry skin.
What causes menopause?
Menopause is due to the natural decline of a woman’s reproductive hormones. The average age for the onset of menopause is 51 years old. In some cases, it can start at an earlier age and this can be attributed to genetic factors, autoimmune disease or is sometimes unexplained.
Other causes of menopause are usually related to surgery or the treatment of disease or illness that may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a hysterectomy.Enquire with our gynaecologists.
Did you know?
Despite the reality that the management of menopausal symptoms can be facilitated by consulting a medical professional, a recent study of the Singaporean population has shown that, management practices in response to menopause were diverse and rarely involved accessing health professionals.¹
What are the possible complications of menopause?
Women experiencing menopause can be more susceptible to the following conditions:
– Heart disease.
When should I see a specialist for menopause?
If you are entering the age bracket for the onset of menopause and you are experiencing any of the common symptoms of menopause, it is advisable to seek medical help. A referral to a specialist can help you find advice on how to ease your symptoms.
How should I prepare for my appointment?
Before your appointment, think about the symptoms you are experiencing and put together a timeline of how long they have been present. Prepare also the questions you would like to ask your doctor.
How do specialists diagnose menopause?
In general, the symptoms of menopause are indication enough, but to be sure, your specialist will probably order blood tests to check your level of estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone, as these decrease as menopause occurs. He/she may also check the thyroid-stimulating hormone, because an underactive thyroid can cause similar symptoms to those of menopause.
What treatments are available for menopause?
There is no cure for menopause, but there are some treatments available which help with the management of symptoms. Your specialist will advise you on the best options for you, based on your symptoms, medical history, and family medical history.
The main treatment is estrogen therapy which helps in preventing hot flashes and bone loss. Antidepressants may be also be discussed if you are unable to take estrogen. Other medications can help with managing vaginal dryness, high blood pressure, and night sweats.
Often lifestyle changes including a greater attention to diet, exercise, and stress levels can be helpful in managing the symptoms of menopause. Complementary medicine such as acupuncture may also be beneficial.Request an appointment with a gynaecologist today.
 Mackey S, Teo SS, Dramusic V, Lee HK, Boughton M. Knowledge, attitudes, and practices associated with menopause: a multi-ethnic, qualitative study in Singapore. Health Care Women Int. 2014 May; 35(5):512-28. doi:10.1080/07399332.2013.801482. Epub 2013 Jul 17.