Early warning signs of the menopause approaching are irregular periods due to fluctuating levels of oestrogen. This typically starts, in most women, around the age of 40-45 and signals the perimenopause – the lead up to the menopause. During the perimenopause, some women may experience heavy bleeds that will require a visit to the doctor for advice about the various treatment options.
In most women, symptoms of their menopause will start between 45 and 55, with the average age in the UK being 51. Many women will hardly notice any uncomfortable or inconvenient effects of the menopause. However, those less fortunate may be subjected to a range of problems such as; hot flushes, sweating, sleep disturbances, mood changes, dry skin, loss of sex drive and osteoporosis.
If medication is not something for you, you may choose to look into alternative treatment to relieve some of your menopausal symptoms.
There has been a lot of media coverage over the past few years about HRT. The two issues that are usually raised are heart problems and cancer.
An experienced doctor would weigh up the risks and benefits of taking hormone replacement therapy. If you are at risk of oestrogen sensitive cancers or heart problems, your own GP would talk you through the associated risks and help you to choose treatment which is safe and suitable for you.