What is it?
Menopause is a natural event that occurs in women around the age of 50 when there is a decrease in the production of sex hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone and the ovaries stop releasing eggs.
There is a decrease in the function of a woman’s ovaries around mid-to-late 30’s and this is accelerated in her late 40’s along with greater hormone fluctuations. This transition period is called perimenopause and women often experience irregular and unpredictable menstrual cycles. This will often end around early 50’s marking menopause, but can occur as early as your 30’s or as late as your 60’s, however this is rare.
Menopause is said to have occurred if a woman has not had a period for more than 12 months.
- Irregular menstrual patterns
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
- Irritibility and mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Fluctuations in libido
During perimenopause and menopause, some women can lose as much as 20 percent of their bone mass due to the fluctuating levels of oestrogen which promotes the breakdown of bone mass. This will eventually even out five to seven years following menopause, however it is very important to keep bones strong and healthy.
The risk of heart disease is also higher following menopause as oestrogen helps to protect against the build-up of plaque in the arteries.
Ways to protect your bones and prevent osteoporosis include;
- Consuming the recommended amount of calcium per day
- Getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D per day
- Following a healthy, balanced diet full that is low in saturated fat and high in fibre
- Regular exercise
Talk to your GP and health care professionals about creating the best possible plan for you that best suits your medical and lifestlye needs.
*Information sourced from www.prevention.com
**Please note these are general recommendations only, and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor, health practitioner or pharmacist. We highly recommend that you contact your preferred medical practitioner for further testing if symptoms persist.