Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive lifespan and is a gradual process that happens when a woman’s menstrual periods have stopped for a year. A woman is born with a fixed number of eggs in her 2 ovaries; the number of eggs declines with each menstrual cycle and menopause occurs when there are none left in the ovaries. Menopause typically occurs at an average age of 51, but can happen anytime between 45 to 55 years of age.
MENOPAUSE AND BEYOND
(Above 50 years)
The decline of hormones begins a few years before the onset of menopause. Known as the peri-menopausal period, it is characterised by the following:
- Changes in period flow
- Irregular menstruation
- Increase in pre-menstrual symptoms
- Dip in concentration and memory loss
- Weight gain
- Decline in libido
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
The aforementioned may last for several months or years until menopause is over. Menopause also increases the risk of chronic conditions including heart disease or osteoporosis, due to the loss of protective effects by female hormones.
A natural and healthy condition for most women, menopause approaches include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Specific treatments for symptoms linked to menopause (vaginal rejuvenation, anti-depressants)
- Non-prescription medication
- Preventive medication or supplements for chronic conditions brought about post-menopause
These approaches help improve function and delay symptoms of ageing.
(Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Urinary Incontinence)
Pelvic floor disorders are caused by weakened pelvic muscles or tears in the connective tissues holding the pelvic organs (bladder, bowels and reproductive organs) in place. It is commonly caused by strain during previous childbirths, ageing or increase in abdominal pressure. Muscles may be unable to hold the organs in place and they drop into the vagina causing a pelvic organ prolapse.
The symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:
- Urinary incontinence
- Bulge or sensation of heaviness in the vaginal area
- Pain during sex
- Pelvic pressure
- Lower back ache
Pelvic floor dysfunction may be prevented by exercises that strengthen the pelvic muscles, inserting a pessary to support the prolapsed tissue, or hysterectomy for severe prolapse cases.
Sexual dysfunction and vaginal discomfort may occur with the onset of menopause.
A drop in estrogen levels during menopause may lead to decreased libido, lack of hydration and thinning of the vaginal walls, causing dryness and irritation or pain during sex. These changes can be managed with vaginal rejuvenation, a non-invasive laser treatment with no downtime that helps restore vaginal function and reduce vaginal discomforts.
Read more on Vaginal Rejuvenation.