Is it menopause?

Is it menopause?

Posted on Apr 25, 2024

By Dr. Michelle Wellington, Member of the Australasian Menopause Society.

Many people are aware that the average age of menopause in Australia is 51. What most don’t know is that this is the average age of the last period, but not the time when your menopausal symptoms start! In fact our transition to menopause can take up to ten years, and that means that symptoms can start much earlier than this.

Often the first sign that something is up is the gradual change in your menstrual cycle. The periods can become closer together, heavier, or just a little irregular. During this time your hormones can fluctuate wildly, as can your symptoms. We have all heard of hot flushesLog Out but did you know that the following symptoms can be a sign of perimenopause?

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Reduced libido
  • Urinary frequency
  • Joint aches and pains
  • Palpitations
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Itchy skin
  • Weight gain

Sometimes these symptoms are mild but sometimes they can be debilitating. Untreated symptoms can sometimes contribute to problems in our personal and professional lives.

A healthy lifestyle is important when managing these symptoms but it is worth talking to a doctor about your options. Hormone replacement therapy got a bad rap in the early 2000’s because of a flawed study called the Women’s Health Initiative. We now know that hormone therapy can treat the above symptoms, resulting in improved quality of life but also can reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and dementia. There is a possible association with an increased risk of breast cancer which equates to one extra case per 1000 users. Obviously, it is important to understand your individual risk, but for the majority of patients the benefits of hormone therapy will outweigh the risks.

There are a number of doctors at Turn The Corner who are passionate about caring for women in midlife and are happy to talk to you about your individual risks and benefits of using hormone therapy.

To make an appointment with Dr. Michelle, or another of our practitioners, please click here.