Dr Melanie Hattotuwa talks about The Menopause

Dr Melanie Hattotuwa joined the Blackburn Clinic in 2006 and now juggles caring for her two young children while working part time at the practice. She has a special interest in women’s health and paediatrics, although enjoys all aspects of medicine. Melanie feels that The Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life that is sometimes poorly understood, and has written the following article in an effort to improve understanding and reduce stigma associated with The Menopause.

What is the Menopause?

The menopause is defined as the time around a woman’s last period, which typically happens between the late 40s to early 50s. The average age is 51 years. At this time menstruation can be erratic (pre or peri -menopause) and it is usually considered to be the menopause once there has been at least 12 months of no vaginal bleeding. In less than one percent of women, this happens before the age of 40.

What happens in Menopause?

Experiences in menopause vary widely between different women and from culture to culture. All women however undergo the same basic hormonal changes. Ovulation ceases as the ovaries run out of eggs and the sex hormones of oestrogen and progesterone no longer are produced. The body then responds to these changes in a variety of ways:

- 25% of women do not have any symptoms of menopause

– 50% of women experience some menopausal symptoms

– 25% of women have more severe problems.

It is important to recognise that not all symptoms experienced at this time can be attributed to menopause. Some are just part of the normal ageing process.

To read the remainder of this article please view our Summer 2015/16 Newsletter.