Espère's 'brief' guide to Menopause


What is Menopause?

Menopause is a natural process that occurs because of a decrease in the function of the ovaries, which also control oestrogen production and usually occurs between the ages of forty-five and fifty-five, although it can occur much later, or much earlier. It occurs when a woman has her final period and this is confirmed when a woman doesn’t have a period for twelve consecutive months. Most women experience natural menopause, but some may experience artificial, or premature menopause. Artificial menopause usually follows a medical intervention, such as a hysterectomy, radiation treatment to the pelvic area or the removal of the ovaries. Premature menopause refers to when a woman stops menstruating before she is forty years old and can occur due to smoking, heredity or exposure to chemicals.


Symptoms

A woman can experience a variety of menopause symptoms including:

  • hot flushes and night sweats
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • dry skin and hair
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • weight gain
  • vaginal dryness
  • bone density loss
  • changes in libido and sexual enjoyment

Treatment

There are a variety of menopause treatments, both natural and medical, that can help alleviate the symptoms of menopause. The main treatment for menopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Other treatment options are available for specific symptoms:


Mood changes

  • Self-help measures e.g. rest, regular exercise meditation etc
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help with low mood and feelings of anxiety
  • Antidepressants may help if you've been diagnosed with depression

Reduced sexual desire

It's common for women to lose interest in sex around the time of the menopause, but HRT can often help with this.

  • Testosterone supplements can help to restore sex drive in menopausal women

Vaginal dryness and discomfort

  • A pessary, cream or vaginal ring, all of which release estrogen directly into the vaginal tissue
  • Over-the-counter vaginal moisturisers or lubricants

Loss of bone density

Women who have been through the menopause are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis (weak bones) as a result of the lower level of oestrogen in the body. You can reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis by:

  • Taking HRT
  • Regular exercise including weight-bearing and resistance exercises
  • A healthy diet that includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, low-fat milk and yoghurt
  • Sunlight which triggers the production of vitamin D
  • Stop smoking and cut down on alcohol
  • Calcium and/or vitamin D supplements

Hot flushes and night sweats

  • Wear light clothing
  • Keep your bedroom cool at night
  • Cool down with a cool shower, a fan or cold drinks
  • Reduce stress
  • Regular exercise and losing weight if you're overweight
  • HRT
  • Cooling bedding such as DermaTherapy

 How DermaSilk can help?

DermaSilk clothing can offer a positive benefit for women going through the menopause. Firstly, the silk has the ability to help reduce the irritation associated with dry skin and will help to maintain a healthy skin – much the same as it does in eczema.


Secondly, DermaSilk worn at night can help reduce the adverse effects of night sweats since the silk fabric can absorb up to 1/3rd of its own weight in moisture before it feels damp. This moisture becomes locked away in the core of the silk and means that the skin stays drier for longer and so there is less likelihood of you waking during the night because you feel damp.


Thirdly the briefs are helpful in calming Vaginal Atrophy. This is a rather common condition, sometimes referred to as vulvo-vaginal atrophy (VVA) or atrophic vaginitis, which affects many women, most often following menopause.


For further support, visit:

Menopause Support and Facebook Group

Menopause Matters– Support and information

Daisy Network –Support for Premature Ovarian Insufficiency

Balance app –menopause support


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