14th November 2023 | Posted by Emma Orman
Menopause and Migraines
What are migraines?
Migraines are severe and recurrent headaches which can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. They are often accompanied by other symptoms such as visual disturbances, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, irritability, fatigue and malaise.
What how can menopause affect migraines?
From the early 40s, the menstrual cycle can become more erratic, with fluctuations in oestrogen levels, leading to more frequent migraines. As these fluctuations lessen in the run up to the menopause and beyond, some women may find that their migraine improves after the menopause.
What are the options for migraine treatment during menopause?
Here are 7 possible treatments for migraine sufferers during the menopause.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Some menopausal women may benefit from HRT, which can help stabilise hormonal fluctuations and reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. If you have migraines with aura (changes to your vision) it is often advised to use oestrogen which is delivered through the skin, as there is no increased risk of blood clots when it is given this way. Your doctor will be able to discuss and individualised treatment approach with you.
- Lifestyle Modifications: Lifestyle changes can play a crucial role in migraine management. This includes maintaining a regular sleep schedule, staying hydrated, managing stress, and avoiding trigger factors (for you) like certain foods, alcohol, and excessive caffeine.
- Medications: Your healthcare provider may recommend migraine-specific medications, such as triptans, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or preventive medications like beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or antiepileptic drugs. The choice of medication depends on the frequency and severity of your migraines and of course, your preference.
- Complementary Therapies: Some women find relief through complementary therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic care, or herbal supplements. Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before trying these approaches.
- Dietary Changes: Maintaining a healthy diet and identifying and avoiding trigger foods can be helpful. Common migraine triggers include aged cheeses, processed meats, and foods with artificial additives. Alcohol again can be a trigger for some.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. However, it’s essential to find an exercise routine that suits your individual needs and doesn’t trigger migraines.
- Tracking Migraines: Keeping a migraine diary can help identify patterns and triggers, which can inform your treatment plan.
| Posted by Emma Orman
What menopause symptoms might I have?
No two women are the same when it comes to menopause symptoms. However, we do know that we have oestrogen receptors in every cell of our body so it is possible that the fluctuating levels of oestrogen can provoke a wide variety of menopause symptoms.
Not all women will experience all of these menopause symptoms, but common ones include:
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Low mood
- Panic attacks or anxiety
- Feeling tense or nervous
- Heart beating quickly or strongly
- Loss of feeling in hands and feet
- Breathing difficulties
- Vaginal dryness and itching with painful intercourse
- Wanting to pass urine often
- Hair loss
- Formication (a feeling of insects crawling on your skin)
- Crying spells
- Loss of interest in most things
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Parts of the body feeling numb or tingling
- Joint pains and muscle aches
- Loss of interest in sex
- Muscle and joint pains
- Headaches including worsening migraines
- Poor concentration
- Feeling tired or lacking in energy
- Urinary urgency
- Hair and skin changes
- Dry eyes/dry mouth
- Weight gain
| Posted by Emma Orman
Genitourinary Syndrome of the Menopause (GSM)
What is Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM)
Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM), formerly known as Vulvovaginal Atrophy (VVA) or atrophic vaginitis, is a condition that affects many perimenopausal and post-menopausal women. It is a group of symptoms and physical changes in the genital and urinary tract areas, primarily caused by the hormonal changes associated with menopause, particularly the decline in oestrogen levels.
What are The Symptoms of Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM)
GSM symptoms encompasses a range of symptoms and can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life. Common genitourinary syndrome of menopause symptoms and manifestations of GSM include:
- Vaginal Dryness: A decrease in oestrogen levels leads to reduced vaginal lubrication, resulting in dryness and discomfort.
- Vaginal Itching and Burning: The thinning and drying of the vaginal tissues can cause itching and a burning sensation.
- Dyspareunia: Painful sexual intercourse is a common symptom of GSM due to vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls.
- Vaginal Discharge: Changes in the vaginal tissues can lead to altered vaginal discharge.
- Urinary Symptoms: GSM can affect the lower urinary tract, leading to symptoms like urinary urgency, frequency, and an increased risk of urinary tract infections.
- Urinary Incontinence: The weakening of pelvic floor muscles and changes in the urinary tract can contribute to urinary incontinence.
- Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections: Thinning of the urethral tissues can make women more prone to urinary tract infections.
- Pain or Burning During Urination: Urinary symptoms may also include pain or a burning sensation during urination.
What are The Treatment Options for Symptoms of Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM)
It’s essential for women experiencing GSM to consult with a doctor to discuss their symptoms and explore appropriate treatment options. With proper management, many women can find relief from the discomfort and distress associated with this condition. If you would like to book in with a menopause specialist, click here.
13th November 2023 | Posted by Emma Orman
Menopause: When to Stop Contraception
The decision of when to stop contraception during menopause can vary depending on your individual circumstances and preferences. Menopause is defined as the cessation of menstruation for 12 consecutive months and is technically one day in time. It is important to understand that pregnancy can still occur during the perimenopausal transition, as ovulation can be irregular.
- If you are over 50 and your periods have naturally stopped for 12 months or more, you can usually stop contraception. This only applies if you are not using additional hormonal medication.
- If you are under 50 you can stop using contraception if your periods have naturally stopped for 2 years. Again, this advice only applies if you are not taking additional hormones or using the Mirena coil.
- At the age of 55 you can usually stop using contraception as natural conception at this time is very rare.
If you are using the combined contraceptive pill and you have withdrawal bleeds these are occurring because of these hormones rather than your own cycle. Because these methods give an ‘artificial bleed’, you are not able to tell where you are in the menopause transition or if your periods have naturally stopped.
Some women using the progesterone only pill, progesterone implant or hormone-containing coil may not have regular bleeds which can make it difficult to know when the menopause happens.
If this is the case, your doctor can carry out a blood test to check your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level. This blood test can be useful in helping you work out when to stop using contraception. Speak to a doctor to arrange this, and for advice on how to interpret the results. If you would like to discuss menopause or when to stop contraception with one of our menopause specialists, click here,
12th November 2023 | Posted by Emma Orman
Can HRT Be Used For Contraception?
A common question is whether hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be used as a contraceptive. HRT is used as a treatment for the symptoms of the perimenopause and post menopause. It contains very low doses of hormones and as a result it cannot be used as a contraceptive. It is worth remembering that you can still get pregnant in the perimenopause, so it is important to discuss a method of contraception with your doctor.
If you are using HRT and depending on the type you are using, the progesterone only pill or the Mirena coil can be used safely.