Most people know that menopause means the end of periods and the start of symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and low libido. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that there are a significant number of other menopause indicators that often go unnoticed.
In fact, the reality is that there are many, many more symptoms that people are not aware of, or don’t have an accurate idea of them because of the myths that surround menopause.
Thankfully, intimate health specialist at The Cranley Clinic, Dr Shirin Lakhani, is on hand to shatter those myths and reveal the hidden symptoms of the menopause that so often get forgotten and missed and how they can be identified and beaten:
- Vaginal itching
- Itchy skin
- Pain in the vagina especially during intercourse
- Hair Loss
- Skin Change
- Bones aches
- Dry eyes
- Muscle weakness and loss
- Jaw pains
- Changes of feeling in the tongue
- Burning mouth
- Chest pains
- Periods changing in frequency and flow
- Change in bowel activity
- Feeling teary
Dr Shirin Lakhani explains: ‘It’s vital to remember that symptoms of the menopause vary hugely from one woman to the next, as does their severity. For many women the hormone changes bring about symptoms which have a huge impact on their sex lives, especially decreased libido, painful sex and vaginal dryness. Hormone shifts make the tissues in your vagina become thin and dry and this dryness in turn can add friction during sex. Your vagina also stretches less, which can make it feel tight.
There are also a lot of myths that exist around the menopause, including ideas that you can’t have sex, you won’t get pregnant and so forth. Dr Lakhani is keen to shed light on these common misconceptions and increase awareness.
‘Despite what some people think, you can continue to have sex during and after the menopause, however the symptoms can often make sex more painful and less pleasurable, which is why many women find that it negatively affects their sex lives so much,’ she explains.
‘There are however a number of effective treatments available to treat the symptoms associated with sexual dysfunction. PRP Therapy with treatments like O-Shot have shown to have a positive result in treating atrophy as well as incontinence while hyaluronic acid injections and localised oestrogen can also effectively offer relief from symptoms. HRT and BHRT (Bioidentical hormones) can offer significant support in rebalancing your menopause. BHRT are plant-based and promoted as a more natural, gentler form of HRT. Derived from plants such as Mexican yams, they have the same structure as the hormones made naturally in the body and, like conventional HRT, combat the menopause by raising levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone.'
Women who are going through the menopause or perimenopause should also continue to take contraception until they haven’t had a period for a year, this is because they are still fertile whilst having periods, albeit often irregular ones.
For information on perimenopause and menopause visit the NHS website or visit your GP if you're struggling any of the issues mentioned in this feature.
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