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Hormone Replacement Therapy - The Facts

What is the difference between Peri-Menopause and Menopause?

It’s important to understand the difference between peri-menopause and menopause.  I’d like to say that peri-menopause is your body's way of gently leading you into the next stage of life, but let’s face it, there is nothing gentle about it! 

Peri-menopause can start as early as ten years before you are in full menopause, which is why it’s so easy to misdiagnose. The menopause itself occurs when the ovaries finally stop producing eggs altogether and is judged to be complete when a woman has not had a period for 12 months. The symptoms that cause so many women difficulty generally occur during the peri-menopause - the years leading up to full menopause.

We often hear stories where women feel they are too young to go through the menopause which makes it easier for us to accept it when a doctor diagnoses us with simple depression or anxiety, mistaking the symptom for the problem.

Paying...

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I SEE YOU!

To the woman who woke up this morning and had to fight the urge to put her head back under the duvet. Who maybe groans a little when she rolls out of bed because everything aches.

To the woman who doesn't recognise the face in the mirror, who feels a little sad as she watches as the water runs down her body in the shower, whose hair is losing its colour and whose clothes suddenly feel a little tight around the middle.

I KNOW YOU!

To the woman who dashes about to get her family off to school/college/work, who puts on the radio while she works around the house so that she doesn't feel lonely. The woman who feels strangely invisible as she walks along the street.

To the woman whose career has lost its shine, who feels overlooked as younger colleagues are promoted above her. The woman who has a hot flush as she's giving a presentation and wonders if anyone has noticed, who struggles to concentrate at the end of the day:

I SEE YOU!

To the woman caring for elderly parents, constantly...

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Peri-menopause: the symptoms

Are you “there’ yet?

According to Menopause Specialist, Dr Louise Newsom, around a quarter of women report few symptoms associated with menopause, or if they have any, they do not impact their lives to any significant degree. Which means, or course, that 75% of us are affected by the natural, physical process of declining hormone levels as we head towards our 50s.  

Symptoms associated with the menopause usually begin several years before menstruation stops.This transitionary phase, known as the peri-menopause, is when the ovaries begin to produce less oestrogen. 

According to the NHS (the UK’s National Health Service), the average time symptoms are experienced is 4 years, though about 1 in 10 women experience them for up to 12 years. 

The menopause itself occurs when the ovaries finally stop producing eggs altogether and is judged to be complete when a woman has not had a period for 12 months.

Common symptoms (“officially”...

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Sleep

How well do you sleep? 

  • Do you drop off like a well fed baby and stay asleep all night?
  • Or do you toss and turn, then, when you finally drop off, end up awake several times during the night? 
  • Are you constantly kicking off the covers, then finding yourself freezing?
  • Wake up in the night and need to change sweat-soaked nightclothes?
  • Make frequent visits to the bathroom?
  • Do you feel refreshed in the morning?
  • Are you sleepy during the day?

A change in sleep patterns is one thing that many of us start to notice as we enter peri-menopause. Whereas previously we might have slept happily for 8 hours a night, suddenly we start having trouble getting to sleep and/or trouble staying asleep on a regular basis.

“I used to sleep like a log from 11-7. Now I’m lucky if I manage 6 hours total, and that will be interrupted by at least one trip to the loo!  It drives me crazy because it definitely affects my concentration at work.” Sally. 

Sometimes,...

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