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Dr Kelly Loi of the HEALTH & FERTILITY CENTRE
FOR WOMEN answers common questions
Q: What is menopause?
A: Menopause refers to the cessation of menstrual cycles and signifies the depletion of oocytes, or eggs, in the ovaries. All women are born with an egg bank containing a certain amount of oocytes designed for reproduction. Once this egg bank is depleted, a woman experiences menopause – a period of tremendous hormonal change that affects women both emotionally and physically.
Q: When does menopause occur?
A: A female can consider herself to have entered this phase when she has not experienced a period for an entire year. Menopause usually occurs when a woman has reached the age of 50. However, the age at which menopause sets in differs with every unique individual. This timing is determined by the number of eggs left in the woman’s egg bank, as well as other factors affecting the ovaries such as cysts, surgeries and other medical conditions.
Q: What symptoms can one expect?
A: Going into menopause is, of course, a natural progression often thought of as a phase in one’s life. But while transitioning into this phase, females may face difficulties coping with the physical symptoms resulting from the hormonal changes. Here are a few symptoms that women may face when going through menopause:
These symptoms can be very severe and can affect women in such a way that even daily activities will become a burden. This situation is often aggravated by work-related pressure and emotional stress stemming from family commitments.
Q: How can one prepare for menopause?
A: Keeping fit and healthy while practising good eating habits will keep a woman’s body in a youthful state, ensuring a smoother transition into menopause. Women can also turn to either traditional or bio-identical hormones to help ease the banes of this phase. Bio- identical hormones are made to replicate hormonal structure. This medicinal relief is available through standard prescriptions from certified compounding pharmacists. The types, combinations and dosages of bio-identical hormones should be prescribed in accordance with an individual’s need. For example, instead of a pill prescription, hormones can be offered in the form of a convenient night time skin cream as an alternative.
Q: Can hormone therapy help?
A: Yes, it can assist in reducing menopausal symptoms by relieving hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and mood swings. It can also improve your energy, concentration, sleep, libido, bone health, muscle strength and skin hydration. With proper monitoring and regular health screening, most symptomatic women will benefit from such treatments.
Dr Kelly Loi Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist