The Menopause Exchange Blog

SIDE EFFECTS OF HRT

November 26th, 2021

Around 13 million women in the UK are peri or post-menopausal. And around 5% of 45- to 69-year-olds (around one million women) are using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to manage their troublesome menopausal symptoms. Continuance, however, is poor, with many women stopping HRT within a year. Some have concerns about using ‘hormones’ and the potential risk of breast cancer or cardiovascular disease, while others experience side effects and stop their HRT without talking to their doctor or nurse. Read the rest of this entry »

FREE MENOPAUSE NEWSLETTERS FROM THE MENOPAUSE EXCHANGE

November 25th, 2021

We are e-mailing our quarterly newsletters for FREE to anyone with an interest in the menopause, midlife and post-menopausal health.

The Menopause Exchange newsletters contain easy-to-read articles written by healthcare professionals (such as gynaecologists, GPs, consultants, specialist menopause nurses,  pharmacists, dieticians and complementary therapists) and major medical charities. We provide impartial, practical information on menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, self-help and lifestyle tips, HRT, prescribed medicine alternatives to HRT, complementary therapies and medicines, nutrition, exercise and health topics such as a man’s guide to the menopause, menopause in different cultures and diabetes and the menopause.

Back Issues – Special Offer

We have suspended sending back issues by post and accepting cheque payments. If you would like back issues we can email them to you at a reduced price of £6.00 for four issues and £12.00 for nine issues. Please pay by PayPal or email us your full name and email address so that we can organise a PayPal invoice for you.

Norma Goldman BPharm. MRPharmS. MSc.
Founder & Director of The Menopause Exchange.

WORKPLACE MENOPAUSE POLICIES AND GUIDANCE

November 25th, 2021

I ’ve been presenting talks and workshops in the workplace for 21 years, and more recently webinars. An important focus of interest over the last two years has been the preparation of a menopause policy or guidance for employees and employers.

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MENOPAUSE RELIEF THROUGH YOUR PHARMACY

November 24th, 2021

Community pharmacists are a vital part of the healthcare team. During the pandemic, their role has become more prominent, as GPs haven’t always been able to offer face-to-face appointments. Read the rest of this entry »

MENOPAUSE ‘ASK THE EXPERTS’ QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

November 2nd, 2021

The following ‘Ask the Experts’ questions were sent in to The Menopause Exchange by our members, the answers were provided by our ‘Ask the Experts’ panel and included in issue 87 (winter 2020/21) and issue 88 (spring 2021) of The Menopause Exchange newsletter.  If you would like to read the questions and answers in the latest issue of The Menopause Exchange newsletter sign up for FREE emailed newsletters.

What do follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels indicate, and what are the normal levels for women in the perimenopause, at the menopause and after the menopause?

Mr Nick Panay, consultant gynaecologist, replies:

FSH is a hormone made by the anterior pituitary gland in your head. It triggers the release of oestrogen from an ovary. When oestrogen levels fall at the menopause, FSH levels start to rise by a mechanism called “negative feedback” to try to make more oestrogen. But, because the follicles that make oestrogen (and eggs) eventually run out, oestrogen levels remain low. FSH levels remain higher than normal for many years but eventually start to drop. FSH levels vary during your normal menstrual cycle so it’s important that the timing of your blood test is recorded according to the day of your cycle. FSH levels usually remain below 10 International units per litre (IU/L) except at ovulation when levels can increase to more than 20 IU/L. In the perimenopause, FSH can change in a more exaggerated way, although levels usually remain below 40 IU/L. At the menopause, FSH levels are typically more than 40 IU/L and can even be more than 100 IU/L. After the menopause, FSH can remain higher than normal for many years, although eventually levels fall to below 10 IU/L due to the loss of the negative feedback. In the past, FSH was measured to confirm the diagnosis of menopause, but the NICE Menopause: diagnosis and management guideline published in 2015 advised that an FSH test wasn’t required to confirm menopause in women aged 45 years or higher once their periods have stopped and they are experiencing typical hot flushes and sweats. Read the rest of this entry »

EASING VAGINAL DRYNESS

September 21st, 2021

Many women struggle with vaginal dryness (atrophy) during the menopause. Vaginal dryness is caused by the thinning, drying and inflammation of your vaginal tissues, and can happen as your oestrogen levels fall. Doctors often describe the condition as the genitourinary syndrome of the menopause (GSM).

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PLANT OESTROGENS

August 25th, 2021

Plant oestrogens (also known as phytoestrogens) are substances that occur naturally in plants. It’s thought that plants may use them as part of their natural defence against the overpopulation of herbivore animals by controlling female fertility. Plant oestrogens have a similar chemical structure to human oestrogen (one of the main female hormones), and are able to bind to some of the same receptors as your own oestrogens. This means they have an oestrogenic effect on your body, although it’s weaker.

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MENOPAUSE CLINICS

October 16th, 2016

Most women with menopausal symptoms are seen and successfully treated by their GP or practice nurse. However, sometimes they may need to go to a menopause clinic for special advice. This may be because they have had breast cancer, have medical conditions that make treatment difficult or have experienced a premature menopause. Sometimes a menopause clinic can offer treatments not available to GPs.

If you currently attend, or have attended, a menopause clinic (NHS/private), or you work at a menopause clinic, please email norma@menopause-exchange.co.uk with the clinic’s name and address details.

 

MENOPAUSE AND HEALTH GLOSSARY

October 23rd, 2012

Amenorrhoea: the absence or stopping of menstrual periods

Bilateral oophorectomy: operation to remove both ovaries

Body mass index (BMI): the weight of a person (in kilograms) divided by the square of the height of that person (in metres): used to indicate whether or not a person is over or underweight

Bone density: measurement of the bone’s mass in relation to its volume

Cervix: neck of the uterus (womb)

Climacteric: marks the transition from reproductive to non-reproductive state

Conjugated equine oestrogen: an oestrogen used in HRT which is obtained from mares’ urine

Corticosteroids: hormones produced naturally by the adrenal glands

Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA): method of measuring bone density

Endometriosis: a condition in which fragments of the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus

Endometrium: uterus lining

Endometrial hyperplasia: a thickening of the lining of the uterus, caused by overgrowth of the cells that line the uterus

Fallopian tubes: tubes which lead from the ovaries into the uterus

Fibroid: benign tumour of fibrous tissue and muscular tissue, one or more of which may develop within or attached to the outside of the uterus

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH): one of the female hormones produced by the pituitary gland

HDL: High-density lipoproteins

Hormone assay: a test or trial to determine the strength of hormones

HRT: hormone replacement therapy

Hyperthyroidism: an overactive thyroid gland

Hypothyroidism: subnormal activity of the thyroid gland

Hyperparathyroidism: an overactive parathyroid gland

Hysterectomy: operation to remove the uterus

Implants: small pellets inserted under the skin

Laparoscopic hysterectomy: an operation to remove the uterus through four small cuts on the abdomen below the navel

LDL: Low-density lipoproteins

Libido: sexual drive

Mammogram: a breast X-ray

Menopause: the occurrence of the last natural menstrual period

Oestrogen: a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries

Osteopenia: a degree of bone loss less severe than osteoporosis

Osteoporosis: loss of bone tissue, resulting in bones that are brittle and liable to fracture

Ovaries: a pair of female sex glands which produce sex hormones and release eggs

Ovulation: The process by which an ovum (egg cell) is released from the ovary

Pelvic floor: spans the area under the pelvis

Perimenopause: the time from the beginning of irregular periods until 12 months after your last period

Pessary: a device which fits into the vagina

Phytoestrogens: natural plant oestrogens

Post-menopause: the stage when menstruation has not occurred for a least 12 months

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): a group of symptoms experienced in varying degrees by women of reproductive age in the week before menstruation

Progesterone: a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries during the second half of the menstrual cycle

Progestogen: the synthetic form of progesterone

Prolapse: downward displacement of an organ or tissue from its normal position

Systemic: relating to or affecting the body as a whole

Testosterone: a steroid hormone formed by the ovary and adrenal glands

Unilateral oophorectomy: operation to remove one ovary

Urethra: the opening of the bladder

Uterus: a female organ which holds the developing unborn child. Also called the womb

Vagina: the lower part of the female reproductive tract

Vaginal atrophy: inflammation of the vagina and the outer urinary tract

Vaginitis: vaginal inflammation

Vasomotor symptoms: symptoms caused by the irregular function of the part of the brain that controls body heat (such as hot flushes and night sweats)

Vulva: the lips outside of the vagina

Withdrawal bleed: the breaking down of the lining of the uterus and shedding after stopping a course of progestogen

Womb: also called the uterus

Created January 2011
Updated January 2015
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