CHRISTCHURCH WOMEN'S HOSPITAL
Gynaecology Services - Menopause
Menopause is the time when monthly periods end. It is a normal process in a woman's life and usually happens between the age of 42 and 55. The decrease in hormones means the lining of the womb does not thicken and need to be shed, so there is no blood loss, or period.
Physical changes that happen in Menopause
Menopause - Things You May Experience
Changes in your bleeding
patterns. You may have a longer time between periods, missed periods, heavy periods,
periods closer together, a gradual decrease in bleeding, or your periods
may just stop.
Increased Premenstrual Syndrome
You may experience more discomfort before your period than usual.
Hot Flushes and Sweats
You may feel a sudden wave of heat spreading through your face and neck and sometimes the rest of your body. Your face may go slightly red and sweaty. Although you may be very aware of these changes they are not always obvious to other people. You may wake in the night covered in sweat.
With less oestrogen the walls of the vagina become thinner and this can cause dryness. A dry vagina may make intercourse uncomfortable. A water-based lubricant can help, or your doctor may prescribe an oestrogen cream. Infections such as thrush (candida) are more likely after menopause. You may also find you need to pass urine more frequently.
A fluttering sensation in your chest that may last for a few seconds or minutes is called a palpitation. It may be related to menopause but can have other causes like anxiety or caffeine. If palpitations are happening often, see your doctor.
At menopause you may notice you are more likely to be tired, anxious, forgetful, depressed, irritable. You may feel a loss of concentration, loss of confidence and mood changes. Weight gain is common.
Menopause & Hysterectomy
Women who have had a hysterectomy may still feel symptoms. Even when ovaries have been removed you may still have symptoms, in fact symptoms may be worse after ovaries have been removed.
Understanding what is happening and a positive approach will help during this stage of your life. Looking after yourself is always important.
Lack of oestrogen after menopause can increase the likelihood of:
You may want to discuss menopause with a doctor, especially if the symptoms are interfering with your daily life.
Some branches of the New Zealand Family Planning Association hold regular sessions about menopause. You could contact your nearest branch listed under Family Planning in the phone book.
Your local library or bookshop will have books on menopause. Some suggested titles are:
Menopause by Raewyn Mackenzie (AB & AW Reed, 1987)
Ourselves Growing Older by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective (Collins, 1989)
Women in Mid Life by Leteia Potter (New Women's Press, Auckland, 1991)