What are the symptoms of menopause?

Symptoms vary between women, and some common symptoms might include fatigue, hot flashes, changes in mood (anxiety, irritability or depression), vaginal dryness, irregular periods, bloating, breast tenderness, sugar cravings, headaches, bladder leakage, aching muscles and joints, recurring infections, or difficulty sleeping.

What is perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the first stage of menopause. It usually begins in your mid to late 40s when your ovaries produce less sex hormone. It usually lasts 3-5 years, but may last up to 10 years. During this time, hormone production can fluctuate, and you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, hot flashes, changes in mood, vaginal dryness or difficulty sleeping. Periods often become less regular, and sometimes heavier, during perimenopause.

Do all women experience the same symptoms?

Symptoms vary greatly between women. Some women may experience many symptoms and other women may experience very few. The severity of symptoms can vary between women as well, so it’s important to have a doctor who can help you with an individualised health plan.

Can laser gynaecology treatment help with menopause symptoms?

Laser gynaecology treatments can help with symptoms such as bladder leakage, dryness, and painful sex. Laser treatments stimulate collagen remodelling of the internal tissue and synthesis of new collagen fibres for contraction.

Contraction and strengthening of collagen fibres helps to better support the bladder and prevent leakage. Additional collagen fibres also enable a greater holding ability of mucosa for a more lubricated internal environment, and thus, more comfort, especially during intercourse.

Should I take Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) can include pills, patches, suppositories, creams or troches prescribed by a doctor. HRT can relieve many symptoms of menopause, but there can also be risks associated with it, such as increased risk of breast cancer. Every patient is unique, so it’s best to discuss your family history, potential risks and benefits of HRT with your doctor before making any decision about HRT.

Is there a natural alternative to Hormonal Replacement Therapy?

Bio-identical hormonal replacement therapy is a form of HRT that uses compound hormones derived from plants.

Herbal supplements such as black cohosh, primrose oil and flaxseed may help to reduce hot flashes and sweats.

Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise can make symptoms easier to tolerate. Psychological therapy and mindfulness or meditation exercises can also help.

What are Non-Hormonal Treatments for Menopause?

Non-hormonal treatments are prescription medications that can help relieve some of the symptoms of menopause if you choose not to use HRT for medical or personal reasons. They are usually prescribed off-label, meaning that they are prescribed for something different to what they are listed for by the Australian Theraputic Goods Administration (TGA).

For example, low doses of antidepressants or epilepsy medication can be used to relieve severe hot flashes, sweats or changes to mood.

Many non-hormonal treatments are still relatively new. While medical research has shown a fair success rate, it has also shown a high placebo effect. As with any medication, you should discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor before making any decisions.

How will I know when menopause is over?

Menopause ends when the body ceases production of oestrogen. The average age for this is 51 and it can be signalled by a 12 month period without menstruation.