What to ex­pect

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - Life stage - IN­FOR­MA­TION PRO­VIDED BY DR ANNA FEN­TON.

Symp­toms:

Flushes and the sweats: Th­ese are the most well-known – they af­fect about 75 per cent of women and of that group a third to a quar­ter have se­vere symp­toms (10 or more flushes over 24 hours, with the need to re­move clothes, nightwear and bed­ding). Mus­cle and joint aches: Dr Fen­ton says th­ese are just as com­mon as flush­ing and sweat­ing, par­tic­u­larly for women of Chi­nese eth­nic­ity. This can in­clude stiff joints – es­pe­cially the small joints in the hands and the wrists – and mus­cle and lig­a­ment aches in the feet. Mood is­sues: From feel­ing low, to be­ing more anx­ious, to feel­ing ir­ri­ta­ble. Cog­ni­tive changes: Women de­scribe feel­ing woolly in the brain, not be­ing able to con­cen­trate, and hav­ing trou­ble find­ing words or re­mem­ber­ing names. Fa­tigue: This is of­ten at­trib­uted to menopause-re­lated sleep is­sues. Uri­nary and gen­i­tal is­sues: Vagi­nal dry­ness, blad­der in­fec­tions, loss of li­bido, changes in arousal.

Treat­ments:

Com­ple­men­tary ther­a­pies: Hyp­no­sis, cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­apy, mind­ful­ness, diet and ex­er­cise. Pre­scrip­tion ther­a­pies: MHT (Menopause Hor­mone Ther­apy) Other pre­scrip­tion ther­a­pies used to con­trol hot flushes in­clude: Oxy­bu­tynin – tra­di­tion­ally used to con­trol ir­ri­ta­ble blad­ders. Some an­tide­pres­sants – the SSRI fam­ily in par­tic­u­lar. Gabapentin – med­i­ca­tion tra­di­tion­ally used for nerve pain.

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