World Menopause Day: 'Women are suffering in silence', expert says

Dr Rebecca Lewis talks to presenter Sameena Ali-Khan about the menopause

Menopause happens when a women has gone 12 months without a menstrual period, it can have a big impact on a persons life, including relationships and work.

Dr Rebecca Lewis, who is a menopause expert, has spoken to ITV News Central saying there are useful tools which can help to track symptoms.

She said: "It is difficult sometimes to diagnose on the perimenopause.

"I'd always recommend people to look at the 'free balance app', because you can track your symptoms and get a health report which immediately the GP can see at a glance that these symptoms might be due to a lack of female hormones due to the menopause.

"There's a lack of education (on hormone replacement therapy - HRT) in the healthcare professionals and understanding how important HRT is and how important to know how safe HRT is for women, and women to understand their symptoms and know it's due to menopause."

What is menopause?

  • Perimenopause means "around menopause" and refers to the time during which a female body starts to make the natural transition to menopause.

  • This is usually when symptoms start.

  • Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycle. You are said to have reached it when you've gone 12 months without a menstrual period.

  • Menopause occurs when women stop having periods and their oestrogen levels fall. 

  • It usually happens between the age of 45-55

Symptoms range from hot flushes to heart palpitations to memory loss and can have a big impact on day to day life.

What are symptoms of menopause?

There are more than 34 symptoms of perimenopause (the transitional period before menopause).

They include:

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Brain fog

  • Palpitations

  • Joint pain

  • Night sweats

  • Itchy skin

  • Anxiety

  • Burning tongue

  • Irregular periods

What you can do to help menopause and perimenopause:

  • Make sure to get plenty of rest, including a regular sleeping pattern.

  • Have a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

  • Do relaxing things like yoga, tai chi or meditation.

  • Eat calcium-rich food like milk, yoghurt and kale to keep bones healthy.

  • Speak to other people going through the menopause.

  • The NHS advise people going through the menopause not to smoke or drink more than the recommended alcohol limit.

Treatment for menopause:

  • The main medicine treatment for menopause and perimenopause symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

  • HRT replaces the hormones that are at low levels.

  • There are other treatments if you can't or choose not to have HRT.

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