Ah… The Menopause.
Things we dont discuss enough.
I was part of a live event last night hosted by Linwoods and Her.ie called What Women Want. Andrea Mclean from Loose Women was the host, journalist Roisin Ingle, nutritionist Jane McClenaghan and myself formed the panel. We discussed a wide range of issues but mainly the menopause !
Half the population of the world can potentially go through the menopause. Its part of life’s journey for most of us. And so we should open up the dialogue and discuss the difficulties faced by women. 80% of women will get the vasomotor symptoms, i.e the night sweats and hot flushes but what about the other issues…Libido issues, self-esteem issues, having the hot flushes in plain sight at work…. There are treatments/ little life hacks for all of these things, so don’t suffer alone, chat to your friends and definitely chat to your GP.
I wanted to pass on some interesting audience tips for some of the symptoms associated with the menopause, as well as diet and lifestyle advise plus the evidence for HRT.
Coconut Oil for vaginal dryness ! Suggest getting an extra tub rather than using the same one thats in the kitchen !!
WE briefly discussed the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and red wine in moderation leading to health benefits.
Soy + Flaxseeds contain phytooestrogens that can help with some of the symptoms associated with the menopause.
Black Cohash and phytooestrogen supplements work for some women.
Yoga has been shown to be effective for improving sleep during the menopuase and imporved sexual function.
Caffeine, alcohol and spicey foods can act as triggers for some women.
Testosterone for sexual symptoms.
Testosterone therapy is unlicensed in Ireland as of yet for the treatment of sexual symptoms in women. But there is increasing evidence to show that testosterone therapy improves the frequency of sexual activity, number of satisfying sexual episodes and interest in sex.
However, there is no long term data on the safety of this as of yet.
HRT/ Hormonal Replacement Therapy.
HRT- provides relief from vasomotor symptoms, vaginal atrophy, sexual symptoms, low mood and musculoskeletal symptoms.
If you have an intact uterus, i.e have not had a hysterectomy, the ostrogen + an intrauterine system such as the Mirena Coil supplying progesterone to protect the uterus is the way to go.
Topical oestrogens can be used for vaginal issues such as dryness/atrophy.
A study from JAMA, showed that after 18 years of follow up of the Womens Health Initiative, hormonal therapy use for 5-7 years was not associated with increased rates death from cardiovascular disease or cancer.
There is an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, as is the case with the pill. There is a small increased risk of a stroke. With oestrogen only HRT there is no increased risk of breast cancer, in fact the risk is slightly reduced. There is a slight increased risk of breast cancer with with combined HRT.
Other pharmaceutical options for menopausal symptoms include SSRI/SNRIs and def worth a chat with your GP if you dont want to use HRT.
Most importantly, talk to friends, talk to your GP …..
Next up I think I will do an article for men on Erectile Dysfunction..
Dr. C x.