Women not seeking advice over menopause
Many women going through menopause in Britain do not contact a healthcare professional for advice.
Results of a survey commissioned by the British Menopause Society (BMS), found that the average woman suffers seven symptoms, including hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia and mood swings.
More than two in five women surveyed said symptoms of the menopause had been worse than they had expected, yet half admitted that they had not consulted a doctor.
Further, more than a third of women said they felt the menopause was something they just had to "put up with".
Accordingly, the BMS is concerned that women are missing out on advice about lifestyle changes that could ease their symptoms. They also add there is still very little awareness about treatment options and support available due to the pervading misconceptions.
Speaking at the BMS' annual conference on Thursday (18May16), Dr. Heather Currie said there is a common misconception about the menopause that it is simply a few hot flushes, but in reality in can cause other issues for women.
"Women often feel powerless, because they believe there are limited treatment options and support available, and these fears and misconceptions have persisted from generation to generation," said Dr Currie, according to Britain's Daily Mail.
What is the menopause?
The menopause refers to the time in every woman’s life when her periods stop and her ovaries lose their reproductive function. Typically, this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, and in the U.K. the average age is 51. In exceptional cases, women may experience the menopause in their 30s.
What causes the menopause?
The menopause is caused by a change in hormone levels. As women get older, the ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month, causing the body to behave differently. However, the body does not stop producing oestrogen overnight, and the process can even take several years, during which symptoms may arise gradually.
According to Britain's National Health Service (NHS), most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before periods stop and last around four years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer. The most common symptom is hot flushes occurring in three in every four menopausal women. Other symptoms women may experience may include night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, low mood or anxiety, reduced libido or problems with memory and concentration.
When to see your doctor
It's worth to your GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you're experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age. Your GP can usually confirm whether you are menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you're aged in your early 40s. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle both during and after the menopause can help to minimise effects, though some women may choose to hormone replacements to treat the menopause.