The Menopause / Change of Life

The Menopause / Change of Life

The menopause, also called “the change of life“ is defined as the end of the last menstrual period. Research into the menopause is relatively recent. One hundred years ago, when life expectancy was shorter, most women did not live long after the menopause and so little was known about it. Most women go through the menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, but in some cases this can vary significantly.

The menopause occurs when the ovaries no longer respond to the controlling hormones, released by the pituitary gland of the brain. As a result, the ovaries fail to release an egg each month and to produce the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. It is the fall in the levels of these hormones in the bloodstream that give rise to the symptoms of menopause. Almost all women notice early symptoms while still having periods. This stage of gradually falling and fluctuating hormone levels is called perimenopause, and often begins in the early 40’s.

Symptoms may include:

  • Irregular and or heavy periods
  • Breast pain
  • Hot flushes
  • Night Sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling down
  • Irritability / mood swings
  • Leaking of urine
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches
  • Lower sex drive
  • Panic attacks
  • Concentration / memory problems

There is no treatment for menopause itself but there are treatment options for the symptoms associated with menopause. If you are experiencing severe symptoms which are effecting you and / or your family members your GP will be able to discuss these options with you.

For further information – visit www.whc.ie /menopause www.feelingflush.ie A HSE booklet “Menopause A Guide“ is available by calling 1850 241 850 or online at www.healthpromotion.ie