Louise Minchin discusses her experiences with menopause
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“Firstly, let’s define the term peri-menopause as this can often be confusing,” said Doctor Burns. “The term peri-menopause refers to the time leading up the menopause.” The menopause is defined as 12 consecutive months without having a period that isn’t caused by hormonal contraception. “For many women the peri-menopause confusingly may start many years – perhaps five or six years- before their last period occurs,” she said.
During the peri-menopause, the ovaries are still working, but not as effectively, meaning less oestrogen is being produced.
Doctor Burns clarified: “This is important as the ovaries are women’s main source of oestrogen.”
And it is the lack of oestrogen that causes various symptoms during the peri-menopause.
“For some, the first indication they are entering the peri-menopause may be period changes,” said Doctor Burns.
Menstrual changes may include irregular bleeding cycles, lipitor commercial dr jarvik missing periods, or periods that are lighter, heavier, shorter or longer.
“However, other women may still be having relatively normal periods when they begin to experience symptoms of the peri-menopause,” the doctor added.
Peri-menopausal symptoms typically include: hot flushes, night sweats, low mood, poor sleep, poor memory, and increased anxiety.
“One important message is that there are no specific peri-menopausal or menopausal symptoms,” said Doctor Burns.
“These symptoms are one and the same. The difference is only what stage a woman is at with her period cycle.”
Women can document their symptoms and period changes using the Health and Her app.
“Health and Her have produced a peri-menopause symptom checker which is helpful digital way to track your symptoms,” said Doctor Burns.
Am I too young to go through the peri-menopause?
In a study, Doctor Burns pointed out that 70 percent of participants admitted to experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms in their 30s and 40s.
A whopping 90 percent of participants said they failed to recognise the link to their fluctuating hormones.
Instead, many women attributed their symptoms to ageing, stress, anxiety and depression.
“Every woman’s menopause journey and the symptoms they encounter will be a very individual experience,” said Doctor Burns.
“Some women experience will experience mild symptoms, whereas for other women, unfortunately, their symptoms will be more severe.”
Doctor Burns added: “I am not aware of any reliable way to predict who will or won’t experience symptoms.”
The doctor also said there’s no way to tell who will experience mild or severe symptoms.
“However, there is some evidence that factors such as our genes, our body mass index, and our physical activity levels may play some part in this,” she added.
Dr Kate Burns is a GP with a special interest in menopause from Health & Her.
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