I found that the advice and information on www.woman2womanhealth.co.uk was very helpful. The Times, February 3 2007
An Introduction to the Menopause
Menopause happens to every woman between the ages of 50+ and 55+. It occurs at an earlier age if she has undergone gynaecological surgery, e.g hysterectomy. Unlike other changes that affect our bodies, such as pregnancy, menopause is something about which we have no choice.
The expectations that you have about the menopause will depend greatly on your own sense of worth and identity. Research has shown that the better a woman feels about herself and her life, the easier time she will have during the menopause.
- What is the menopause?
- What does it mean to ‘go through the menopause’?
- How do I know if I am in my peri-menopause?
- Why do hot flushes happen?
A. The menopause is your final menstrual period. Determining the date of your menopause can only be done retrospectively after you have been free of menstruation for a year.
A. Unless you have had a hysterectomy, cessation of menstruation is an erratic process; periods may come late or early, may be short or long, light or heavy - or vanish for months and then suddenly reappear. It can take between two and five years to complete and enormous changes will take place in your body as it acquires a new balance with lower levels of hormones. This process is called the peri-menopause.
A. The signs that herald its arrival are varied, but you will become aware of physical changes, such as irregular periods, flushes and night sweats. At least 80% of us experience hot flushes to some degree.
You can assess your situation by printing and completing this menopausal symptom chart.
A. Because of changes in our hormonal levels. Hormones are chemical substances which circulate around our bodies via the bloodstream. Of especial importance to us are the three hormones produced by the ovaries :
Fluctuating hormone levels vary throughout our lives, influencing our moods, activities and sensitivities. Many hormones affect the urges, desires and feelings which are yours, and nobody else’s.
This is why we women respond to menopause in a uniquely individual way, as you can see by correspondence I received when writing my books.
I get hot flushes all the time, night sweats which wake me up, breast tenderness, memory and concentration problems, weepiness, mood swings, generally feeling wretched etc etc. On one occasion I have gone out leaving a gas ring on, and I have difficulty remembering conversations. I think my husband thinks I am going mad, and occasionally it does feel like that! - Sarah (Glasgow)
I got a warm feeling at the base of my spine that would radiate up to my shoulders. The night sweats were very trying, and I moved into the spare bedroom until they stopped - Jane (Southampton)
There is no quick-fix solution to distressing menopausal symptoms but I hope you will find my website helpful.