Coming to us from Greek, ‘menopause’ literally means ‘end of monthly cycles’, but is generally used to describe the transition from routine menstruation to non-menstruation and beyond.
Menopause is a process of reduction in the production of female hormones (like estrogen) and of eggs by the ovaries, thereby reducing fertility.
Menopause usually affects women aged 45-50 years. However, the age to which women can maintain their fertility is variable and in rare cases women can enter menopause much earlier, for example after chemotherapy.
Many women aged around 40+ years begin to notice irregularities in their menstrual cycle that are indicative of hormonal imbalance. Known as ‘perimenopause’, the length of this transitional stage is variable, but can last several years. Once the production of estrogens and eggs by the ovary is exhausted a woman definitively enters into menopause.
Menopause brings with it the risk of long-term consequences for a woman’s health, including menopause osteoporosis (a bone disease that leads to increased risk of fractures), heart disease, blood clots, and Alzheimer’s disease.
During the perimenopause phase women may experience symptoms that will vary widely from one individual to another, but common symptoms are,
Some women do not suffer any of the symptoms listed above, but can still benefit from treatment to prevent the long-term health consequences of menopause, for example osteoporosis.
An annual gynecological check-up is recommended for all menopausal women and this should include an internal examination, ultrasound screening, Pap smear, and breast examination.
Further screening where indicated may include mammography, blood tests, electrocardiogram, and colonoscopy.
In consultation, Dr Naumann can discuss with you the benefits of annual screening for the health risks associated with menopause, along with the advantages and disadvantages of the various forms of preventative treatment available.
Preventative treatment with regard to menopause is very much based on personal needs and preferences and Dr Naumann is most sensitive to this fact.