Menopause is simply the name given to the last menstrual period, but for most women it means much more than this. It is the phase in a woman’s life when ovaries stop producing eggs, when periods begin to stop and when hormone levels change. Menopause is something that typically happens between the ages of 47 and 53. It can mean hot flushes, no more periods, an end to a woman’s reproductive years – and is a natural part of a woman’s life.
Many women will move through the menopause without symptoms, and without need to seek medical help or intervention. However, if you need further information, or are having symptoms, it can be helpful to talk to your General Practitioner (GP).
Lifestyle changes relating healthy eating and exercise will make considerable difference at the time of the menopause. For some symptoms, supplements can help. Other women will make the informed decision to take Hormone Replacement Therapy. There is no ‘one size fits all approach’, so please do take advice.
For any woman who would like further information about the menopause, the following sites are an excellent resource. Please do take time to read through prior to talking with your GP.
In order to make an informed decision regarding menopause management, it is necessary to know your Body Mass Index (The body mass index (BMI) is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy.) and blood pressure. We have placed PatientPod in the waiting rooms of the Plympton Health Centre, Mudge Way site and the Ivybridge Station Road site, which can be accessed between 0800 and 1800, Monday to Friday without appointment, with the results automatically being placed into your notes. Please do attend either site prior to consulting with a GP.
Being post-menopausal can increase your risk of other health conditions, so it is important to attend your regular cancer screenings such as cervical and breast.
Other health changes post-menopause can include thinning hair, dry eyes, bone or joint issues like osteoporosis and arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and urinary tract infections. Please do take advantage of the NHS Health Check.
Your doctor may wish to perform further tests in order to ascertain your personal QRISK3, a prediction algorithm for cardiovascular disease, and exclude diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Please do be aware that you continue to require contraception during the perimenopause.
The general rules are to continue contraception for:
- One more year following the last spontaneous menstrual period if aged 50 years or over
- Two more years following the last spontaneous menstrual period if aged under 50 years
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health guidance states: In general, all women can cease contraception at age 55 as spontaneous conception after this age is exceptionally rare even in women still experiencing menstrual bleeding.
Getting in contact using the online (eConsult) consultation form via our website is the most efficient way, allowing you to offer as much information to your GP as possible, prior to your consultation. Please request general advice, using bleeding as the main symptom, and then use the free text box to add in your symptoms, ideas, concerns and expectations regarding the consultations. Combined with the information requested above, this will give your GP the best chance to offer you help.
Every patient registered at Beacon has a named (usual) General Practitioner who will be happy to talk to you about your menopause. However, Dr Louise Horrocks, based at the Plympton Health Centre site is developing a specialist interest in menopause management and would also be happy to consult with you should you prefer.