Menopause: An OverviewMenopause is said to have occurred when a woman has stopped menstruating for 12 continuous months as a result of lowering oestrogen levels. It can take up to 10 years to reach this point. This a period of time is known as perimenopause, in which many women start to show menopause symptoms. It is around the age 50 (median age is 51 years old) when a woman begins to experience menopause symptoms, but a small percentage of women experience it earlier, from age 40 onwards.
Signs & SymptomsThere are a plethora of menopause symptoms however, the most common symptoms consist of:
- Body odour
- Breast tenderness and loss of breast fullness
- Burning mouth sensation, and dry mouth
- Dental problems & metallic taste in the mouth
- Hair loss or thinning hair
- Dry skin
- Vaginal dryness and itching
- Fatigue and inability to concentrate
- Sleep problems or insomnia
- Mood changes
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods and/ or skipped periods
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
Questions or concerns over menopause symptoms?
Many women are concerned with the symptoms that cause more feelings of distress or disrupt daily life such as experience fatigue. More recently, there are more concerns from research suggesting women who have two or more serious menopause symptoms are at greater risk for heart disease and stroke. Apart from this the loss of oestrogen production can also lead to other health issues, some of which can be quite serious.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have any questions or concerns, it is recommended that you speak to your gynaecologist. Both myself, Dr Lisa Joels, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and my colleague, Dr Madhavi Manoharan, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (OBGYN) are experienced menopause doctors, working from our dedicated Women’s Health Suite here at the Grand Pavilion in the Cayman Islands. A lot of the time, women would not think there would be a relation to menopause with the symptoms above until they begin to notice irregularities in their periods, emphasising the need for greater awareness of menopause, what it can involve and to reach out for more information and support.
Every woman’s experience with menopause differs, with some being asymptomatic and others having many symptoms which occur frequently and are quite severe.