Dolly parton sang it already in PMS Blues: ‘As soon as this part’s over, then comes the menopause.’ No more bleeding, hurrah? After the menopause, the oestrogen production drops dramatically: it declines with 80%. This can lead to serious health issues. To raise awareness for these issues, the 18th of October is World Menopause Day.
Literally, menopause means ‘last menstruation’. In the time before this climacteric (the pre- or perimenopause) the ovaries produce less female hormones. The hormonal changes caused by this lower amount of oestrogen can lead to a number of complaints. A small collection: heavy and/or irregular menstruation, hot flushes, night sweats, hairs on your chin, hair loss on your head, insomnia, fatigue, loss of libido, mood changes, anxiety, memory lapses, dry skin, vaginal dryness, joint pain. And that’s just a start.
The premenopause can last for up to ten years. Usually the stereotypical symptoms disappear in the time after the menopause – the postmenopause. That aside, some women still get hot flushes when they’re in their 70s. After the menopause, the production of oestrogen declines with 80%. The body tries to compensate this by producing oestrogen in fatty tissue (hello belly fat, bye bye slim waistline).
This years theme: sexual wellbeing
However, the dramatic decline can lead to serious health issues, like osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, dementia, cardiovascular diseases, depression and certain types of cancer. That’s why the International Menopause Society (IMS) advises all women aged 50 to visit their GP and talk about eventual health risks. And that’s also why the 18th of October has been chosen as World Menopause Day. Every year, this day has a different theme.
This year the awareness campaign concentrates on sexual wellbeing after menopause. In other words: the state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality after menopause. It is not uncommon for women to experience sexual problems which can severely impair their relationships, mental health, social functioning and overall quality of life.
This distress is the hallmark of female sexual dysfunction (FSD). The International Menopause Society is working to increase awareness of FSD and to provide a framework for practitioners to address sexual medicine concerns and published a White Paper. For more information see the IMS website.