Let’s talk about Menopause
- 6 June 2019
- Posted by: rtwskin
- Category: Blog
Let’s talk about Menopause.
By Emily Ruse, Deputy Registered Manager
Women are beginning to become more and more outspoken about feminine related health issues. This is a significant breakthrough as in previous years, many were too embarrassed to discuss these topics, even if they were experiencing discomfort as a result. Women’s health is also becoming a regular topic within the media, which has played a great role in breaking down the taboos which surround these issues.
There are currently 3.5 million women over the age of 50 in the UK workforce. Half of these women have admitted to finding work difficult due to the symptoms of the menopause, while 10% of menopausal women have given up work altogether as a result of their symptoms. It is safe to say that there is a real need for raising awareness about the impact that menopause has on women’s lives, careers, relationships, happiness and the treatments which are available to them.
Women are also finding themselves entering new relationships later in life, and the idea that women’s sex lives should end after menopause is a thing of the past. Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) affects an estimated half of all postmenopausal women and is caused by lowered oestrogen levels after menopause. GSM produces a variety of symptoms including vaginal dryness, itching, pain during sex, urinary incontinence and the susceptibility to urinary tract infections. Women are often too embarrassed to seek treatment for GSM, and, the fact that healthcare professionals do not often screen for GSM as a routine part of women’s healthcare, leads to significant underdiagnoses and undertreatment rates. GSM is a chronic, progressive condition which without treatment, is unlikely to resolve itself.
So, what is Menopause?
The menopause occurs after your periods cease generally between the ages of 45 to 55. When your ovaries stop producing eggs, your oestrogen levels fall. However, in some cases, the symptoms can present up to five years beforehand, as the oestrogen gradually declines. This is known as peri-menopause.
Among its many functions, oestrogen is thought to aid cognition and memory. It also affects collagen in the skin, maintains bone density and keeps blood vessels clear of the sticky deposits which cause damage and can lead to cardiovascular disease. It maintains the pH balance in the vagina, which is what reduces the likelihood of infections, prevents the vaginal wall from thinning and keeps the area moist. In short, a decline in oestrogen can wreak mental and physical havoc, with symptoms often worsening over time.
A number of changes to hormone levels occur at this time, which can lead to symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, incontinence, low mood and anxiety. As well as this, hormone levels can also lead to external signs of ageing, like wrinkles and sagging or drooping skin.
The symptoms of the menopause affect many of the body’s systems and will be different for every woman. They include:
· Hot flushes: This is a feeling described as suddenly being hot, flushed and uncomfortable, especially in the face and neck. Hot flushes come in bursts and usually last seconds to a few minutes. They are caused by changes in the way blood vessels relax and contract and are due to the changes in a woman’s oestrogen levels.
· Irregular periods: A woman can have irregular periods for several months to years before her periods stop altogether. This is caused by the gradual decline of oestrogen levels within the body.
· Vaginal dryness: As oestrogen levels begin to decline, the vagina’s natural lubricants decrease too. The lining of the vagina gradually becomes thinner and less elastic. These changes can lead to painful sex and may also cause inflammation in the vagina known as atrophic vaginitis. These changes can make a woman more likely to develop vaginal infections from yeast or bacterial overgrowth and urinary tract infections.
· Sleep problems: Sleep may be disturbed by nighttime flushes. A long-term lack of sleep can lead to changes in mood and emotion.
· Depression: The chemical changes which happen in your body during menopause, do not increase the risk of depression. However, many women experience major life changes during their middle age including menopause, which can then lead to depression.
· Irritability: Some women report irritability or other mood changes. Irritability is commonly caused by poor sleep due to hot flushes.
· Osteoporosis: This is a condition which causes thinning of the bones and increases the risk of fracturing a bone, especially in the hips or spine. As oestrogen levels drop and remain low during menopause, the risk of developing osteoporosis increases. You can help to prevent this by getting enough vitamin D through sunlight or daily vitamin intake, eating a diet rich in calcium and performing regular physical activity. Ideally, women should start taking these actions well before menopause begins. This is because women begin to lose bone mass as early as the age of 30 but fractures resulting from osteoporosis don’t occur until 10 to 15 years after menopause.
· Cardiovascular disease: Before menopause, women typically have lower rates of heart attack and stroke than men. However, after menopause, the rate of heart disease in women continues to rise and equals that of men after age 65.
· External Ageing: Skin and hair are significantly affected by the slowing of collagen production during menopause which leads to an increase in wrinkles, dry skin, brittle nails and hair loss.
Diet, exercise and lifestyle changes can all help to reduce the symptoms and complications of menopause. There are a number of medications used to treat the symptoms of menopause. If you choose to go down this route, the type of medication needed is a complicated decision which should be discussed with a doctor as the treatment will depend on what symptoms are most bothersome and how bothersome they are.
At rtwskin, we offer a variety of non-surgical treatments for the menopause symptoms you just can’t seem to shake.
MonaLisa Touch is a CO2 Medical Laser which is FDA approved specifically to treat urinary incontinence, vaginal dryness and painful intercourse caused by vaginal atrophy. The treatment is performed through targeted CO2 Laser energy which penetrates and creates small wounds in the epithelial layer. This process works to reshape and regenerate the atrophic vaginal tissue, stimulating the production of collagen and therefore restoring the healthy functionality of the vagina. The end goal is to restore moisture and elasticity to your vagina, making life enjoyable again.
Recent studies show that MonaLisa Touch is largely effective in treating Urinary Incontinence, one of the most embarrassing symptoms that seriously affect many women after childbirth or in menopause. Symptoms of incontinence can affect your work life and home life and have a huge impact on your confidence. The beneficial stimulation of vaginal tissues, due to the DEKA-pulse Co2 laser emission, stimulates blood flow to the area, bringing healing and rejuvenation to the pelvic floor muscles, vaginal walls and urethra. Increased blood flow and better tissue tone reduces pain and leads to better urinary function.
Flushing and the sensation of warmth in the face are common features of menopausal hot flushes and the menopause has been found to trigger or worsen rosacea in some sufferers. A laser can effectively reduce extensive redness and skin inflammation and eradicate visible blood vessels. Your personal treatment plan will depend on the severity of the condition and could require several different treatments.
Silhouette Soft® is a minimally invasive treatment, which redefines the facial contours and gives the facelift, volume and a smoother appearance. Silhouette Soft has been known as the ‘one stitch facelift’ due to its tightening and lifting effect, especially in the jowl, cheeks and neck area. It helps to improve visible signs of ageing, partly caused by menopause by lifting and tightening skin while adding shapeliness to the face.
The procedure uses bio-absorbable threads placed under the skin to lift and help to restore facial contours. Unlike traditional, surgical facelifts, Silhouette Soft® doesn’t require incisions or multiple stitches; a hospital stay or general anaesthetic. A very little downtime is necessary. The lifting effect that the procedure provides will soften over time and it will stimulate collagen for a more prolonged smoothing and firming effect. This procedure is perfect for a sagging jawline, neck, and the regeneration of hollow cheeks particularly when used in conjunction with a good quality dermal filler.
The effects of menopause on the body don’t just affect intimate areas, but also have effects on the face. As oestrogen production decreases, skin cells become slow to regenerate, leading to increased skin laxity, wrinkles and duller, drier skin. All of these factors can affect your self-confidence.
The HydroJet Aquafacial is a gentle and effective facial treatment which works to firm and brighten the skin by intensely hydrating it with nourishing nutrients, while also clearing imperfections and smoothing the skin’s surface. It is suitable for all skin types, even more, sensitive complexions.
The menopause was once seen as intimidating, uncomfortable and something women just had to learn to live with. However, with new treatments appearing which work to treat the symptoms of menopause as well as the media spotlight finally being shone on women’s healthcare, there is no reason the menopause should impact on any part of your life, from work to relationships and everything in between.
Book a no-obligation consultation to discuss available treatments
Call 01892 22 22 22