What is the menopause?
Menopause is a normal condition that all women experience as part of ageing process. The term ‘menopause’ can describe any of the changes a woman goes through either just before or after she stops menstruating, marking the end of her reproductive period.
The average age of the menopause is 51 years but some women can suffer menopausal symptoms for up to 10 years and 0.1% of women have symptoms in their 20s. While some women sail through the menopause other women are plagued with a variety of symptoms including:
Joint pain / stiffness
Dry skin / hair
Pain with intercourse ( Dyspareunia)
Poor concentration / brain fog
Recurrent Urine infections ( UTI)
Everyone needs a balanced endocrine system. Hormones regulate every function within the body and so when our hormones are well balanced we feel well, energetic and healthy. Hormonal imbalance can cause problems such as PMT (pre-menstrual tension) menopausal symptoms, blood sugar fluctuations, fatigue, lethargy, loss of motivation, constant tiredness, mood swings and depression.
Both bio-identical HRT can provide relief from many of the symptoms suffered. Here at The Women’s Health Clinic our nurses with a special interest in menopause can discuss both treatment approaches so that you can explore and then choose the most suitable therapy for yourself. There is a lot of conflicting evidence around the safety of both treatments. However, for most women the risks of either therapy are far less than you imagine.
Our unique approach
Due to longer life expectancy, women are now spending a third of their lifespan menopausal and so managing the menopause is becoming an increasing part of women’s health. With the NHS at crisis point and GP’s increasing overstretched, a 7-10 minute appointment is not enough to thoroughly discuss the many symptoms you many be experiencing due to the menopause, and how they impact on your day to day life and relationships.
Here at The Women’s Health Clinic we believe every woman deserves the time to explore her symptoms and every option available. We understand that, as women, we are not all the same . Our diagnosis relies on listening to your symptoms and then a blood test that will pinpoint your exact hormone imbalance. We can then help you choose the most effective treatment plan that will benefit you and write you a prescription for this. Whether it is conventional HRT bio-identical HRT or a Mirena coil to give you progesterone – we can meet all of your needs in just one clinic. Our nurses have all been trained by Marion Gluck and are members of the British Menopause Society.
Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
A bio-identical hormone has the same chemical and molecular structure as the naturally occurring hormone our own bodies produce. To be classed as bio-identical the molecular structure must exactly replicate the structure of the hormones produced by the body, including the arrangement of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms.
Bio-identical hormones are 100% identical to the chemical structure of estradiol, progesterone and testosterone found in the human body and therefore they fit the hormone receptor sites perfectly, enabling their messages to be properly translated.
Consequently the effects are more consistent. A synthetic hormone used in the more traditional HRT has slight structural differences to a hormone produced by the body, which means it can act differently.
Bio-identical hormones are obtained from a plant source (diogesin from wild yam or betasitosterol from soya beans) and manufactured into micronised powder form and then prescribed as a topical cream, patch or a lozenge form. While this treatment many sound relatively new in the UK it has actually been used safely since 1930’s.
If you opt for this treatment, the nurse will prescribe a unique cream or lozenge specifically for you – then a quick phone call to the specialist pharmacy where it is uniquely prepared and compounded especially for you and delivered to your door within 3-working days.
The real story
51-year old Karen came to The Women’s Health Clinic when life began to get harder. It started with the odd hot night in bed but now Karen was permanently rosy cheeked. A lower tog duvet and fresh sheets couldn’t stop the sweat from drenching her back, Karen’s hormones were out of control.
Flushing her way through her appointment, Karen informed our nurse that HRT just wasn’t an option for her due to a family medical history and anyway, she would prefer a more natural treatment.
After her blood test came back the nurse began to talk through the various options enabling Karen to make her own choices now she was fully informed on how her body would react. Leaving with a prescription in her hand, Karen got back in touch with the clinic just weeks later to say that she was now feeling like her old self.
She says, “It got to the stage where I wouldn’t leave the house without deodorant and a spare top in case another hot flush decided to come on. They were so unpredictable that I often felt housebound, turning down invitations to meet with friends because of the ‘what if?’ Understanding that this could go on for another 5-years just wasn’t an option for me so I was so relieved when I found I could have a consultation at my local clinic. I finally feel like my old self again.”