Many women are un­aware they have pre-menopause

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

LON­DON: Eight out of 10 women ex­pe­ri­ence early symp­toms of the menopause, re­search has found.

The menopause oc­curs when a woman has her last pe­riod. For decades, re­search has cen­tred on this point, which hap­pens in the av­er­age Bri­tish woman at the age of 52, and in the years that fol­lowed.

As a re­sult, women who still have monthly pe­ri­ods but ex­pe­ri­ence other symp­toms of the change can find it dif­fi­cult to get help.

The study found that pre-menopausal women in their 40s and early 50s ex­pe­ri­ence a wide range of symp­toms such as hot flushes, pain and ex­haus­tion.

For more than one in four the symp­toms are of­ten se­vere but re­searchers found many of those were be­ing ig­nored.

This is de­spite the fact that pro­vid­ing women in the early stages of the menopause with the nec­es­sary treat­ment is vi­tal in re­duc­ing their risk of de­vel­op­ing chronic ill­ness.

Life­style changes and ther­apy could pre­vent con­di­tions re­lated to the menopause such as heart disease de­vel­op­ing later in life.

Lead au­thor of the re­search, Dr Sioban Har­low, of the Cen­tre for Midlife Sci­ence at Michi­gan Univer­sity, said: “We were sur­prised to find a quar­ter of women in this rel­a­tively healthy co­hort re­ported a broad range of of­ten se­vere symp­toms prior to the on­set of the menopausal tran­si­tion.”

“We ob­served some women’s symp­toms get worse while others im­prove as they tran­si­tion through menopause, so this is a crit­i­cal life phase for in­ter­ven­tion.”

The phase is known as ‘pre-menopause’ when women are still hav­ing reg­u­lar pe­ri­ods but oe­stro­gen and pro­ges­terone lev­els have started to fall. The study pub­lished in Women’s Midlife Health found one in four ex­pe­ri­enced prob­lems.

The au­thors used a math­e­mat­i­cal model to group 3 289 women, aged 45 to 52 years, go­ing through the dif­fer­ent stages of menopause into one of six symp­tom classes.

In pre-menopause, 10% of them were clas­si­fied in the high­est symp­tom class – tend­ing to re­port a high in­ten­sity of most symp­toms of the menopause. They were fol­lowed by those with mod­er­ately in­tense symp­toms such as hot flushes, who num­bered 16%.

This com­bined 26% were de­scribed as “highly symp­to­matic” by re­searchers, and most in need of help.

Forty-four per­cent of women felt milder symp­toms, while just 20% ex­pe­ri­enced no symp­toms.

Har­low said: “In­creased at­ten­tion to the pro­mo­tion of phys­i­cal and men­tal health in early mid-life is needed, as women’s health needs and con­cerns ex­tend far beyond menopausal hot flushes.

“The way in which some symp­toms clus­ter to­gether may sug­gest un­der­ly­ing mech­a­nisms, such as in­flam­ma­tion, that put women at risk of dis­abil­ity.

“It is thus im­por­tant the health-care com­mu­nity pays at­ten­tion to the health needs of the quar­ter of women who are highly symp­to­matic prior to the menopausal tran­si­tion.” – Daily Mail

This is a crit­i­cal life phase for in­ter­ven­tion

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