Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (2022)

The AMS website is often the first port of call for patients. With this in mind we have decided to create a set of fact sheets for patients, as companion sheets to the popular videos, and the other more detailed AMS Information Sheets.

Menopause what are the symptoms?

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (1)

Menopause at a glance

  • Every woman is affected by menopause in some way – either they experience symptoms orother physical changes.
  • The average age of menopause is 51 years but you can enter menopause earlier.
  • Hormonal changes cause menopausal symptoms.
  • Most women will have some symptoms.
  • Most women have symptoms for 5 to 10 years.

Menopause occurs when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months. Menopause is a natural part of life occurring at around age 51 years but can also happen for other reasons.

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Non-hormonal treatment options for menopausal symptoms

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (3)Main points

  • Your doctor can suggest prescription medication options for your menopausal symptoms if you are unable to or do not want to use menopausal hormone therapy (MHT).
  • Prescription medication options can help with hot flushes, sweatsand changes in mood and sleep patterns.
  • Specific antidepressants and epilepsy medications can help with menopausal symptoms in many women.
  • A blood pressure drug (clonidine) can give relief for some women with milder symptomsDownload

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What is Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT) and is it safe?

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (5)

(Video) Menopause Hormone Therapy Dos and Don'ts

Main points

  • MHT (also known as Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT) covers a range of hormonal treatments that can reduce menopausal symptoms.
  • MHT is the most effective way to control menopausal symptoms while also giving other health benefits.
  • MHT is safe to use for most women in their 50s or for the first 10 years after the onset of menopause.
  • The risk for blood clots, stroke and breast cancer while taking MHT are very small.
  • Different types of MHT are associated with different risks. Your doctor can work with you to reduce your risk by using different hormonal treatment options.

DownloadWhat is Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT) and is it safe?95.41 KB

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Will menopause affect my sex life?

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (7)Main Points

  • If your sex life is good before menopause, it is likely to remain good after menopause.
  • Sexual wellbeing is complex and many other personal factors in your life could be involved.
  • Vaginal dryness can be treated with creams and lubricant.
  • Hormonal treatments include oestrogen or testosterone therapy but only use testosterone designed for women.
  • Your doctor, a pelvic health physiotherapist or a counsellor may need to work with you to look at the many factors that might be affecting your sexual wellbeing.

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Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (9)Complementary medicine options for menopausal symptoms

Main Points

  • Complementary medicine is used to describe a wide range of health care medicines, therapies (forms of treatment that do not involve medicines) and other products that are not generally considered as part of conventional medicine
  • Some complementary medicines may help with mild symptoms, but there is little evidence that many popular complementary medicines help with symptoms or are safe.
  • Speak with your doctor before using complementary medicine because they might affect other medications.
  • Avoid buying online products – their safety cannot be guaranteed.
  • You should not use soy/ phytoestrogen products if you can’t take prescribed hormone therapy for safety reasons such as breast cancer.
  • Bio-identical compounded hormone therapy cannot be recommended because their safety is unknown.
  • No complementary medicine is as effective as oestrogen therapy for menopausal symptoms

Download:

Colour version AMS Complementary medicine options for menopausal symptoms84.7 KB

(Video) Starting and stopping, duration of menopause hormone therapy use (webinar 5 April 2022)

Black and white print version AMS Complementary medicine options for menopausal symptoms BW85.2 KB

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Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (12)

Main Points

  • The Australasian Menopause Societydoes not recommend the use of compounded bioidentical hormonetherapy in any form.
  • Many pharmaceutical-grade, approvedmenopause hormone therapies (MHTs)prescribed by your doctorare ‘bodyidentical’– i.e.they contain hormonesidentical to those produced in thehuman body.
  • Compounded bioidentical hormones(BHTs) are not more ‘natural’ – evenwhen made from plants, they must bechemically synthesised in a laboratory.
  • Compounded BHTs are not tested forquality, safety and negative side effectsand they have been associated withcases of endometrial cancer.
  • There is no evidence that compoundedBHTs are effective and safe to use.

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Lifestyle and behaviour changes for menopausal symptoms

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (14)Main Points

  • Many women wonder if lifestyle and behaviour changes can help with menopausal symptoms.
  • Studies have shown mixed results for lifestyle changes, so speak with your doctor if you have any questions.
  • Maintaining healthy weight might be helpful as there is evidence that weight gain can increase the severity of menopausal symptoms.
  • Some evidence suggests yoga can help menopausal symptoms. Other activities such as exercising, breathing and relaxation practices or controlling environmental temperature might not necessarily help your symptoms, but they can help with your overall sense of wellbeing.
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can improve wellbeing and decrease the impact of menopausal symptoms.
  • Hypnosis might give you some benefit, but there is no evidencethat acupuncture, magnetic therapy, reflexology or chiropractic interventions help menopausal symptoms.

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9 myths and misunderstandings about Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT)

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (16)Main Points

(Video) WellFemme Webinar: Menopause and Intimacy

  • Many of the myths about MHT come from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) studies of 2002 and 2004. New information about MHT means doctors better understand the risks and benefits of MHT.
  • MHT is the best way to control menopausal symptoms and gives some women health benefits.
  • Combined MHT (oestrogen plus progestogen) or oestrogen alone cause no significant increase in breast cancer or heart disease risk in women aged 50 to 59 or in women who start treatment within 10 years of menopause.

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Menopause before 40 and spontaneous premature ovarian insufficiency

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (18)Main Points

  • Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) is a loss of function of the ovaries in women who are less than 40 years old.
  • Spontaneous POI affects 1% of women less than 40 years and in most cases the cause is not identified.
  • Irregular/no menstrual periods or menopausal symptoms may be the only sign of POI and blood tests are needed for diagnosis.
  • POI can cause infertility and increase the risk of long-term health problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis and memory problems.
  • Hormone replacement therapy is recommended until the natural age of menopause (51 years) to reduce the long-term risks.
  • Speak with your doctor about treatments and other options to manage any infertility and health consequences.

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Early menopause – chemotherapy and radiation therapy

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (20)Main Points

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer and other conditions can cause temporary or permanent loss of your menstrual periods and menopause.
  • Before the age of 40, this is known as premature ovarian insufficiency (POI).
  • Between the ages of 40 and 45, this is known as early menopause.
  • Early menopause and POI can cause infertility and have short- and long-term health consequences such as heart disease, osteoporosis and memory problems.
  • Some women who have chemotherapy remain fertile, so it is important to use contraception if you do not want to become pregnant or if your doctor advises you that it is not safe to become pregnant.
  • Speak with your doctor about treatments and other options to manage any infertility and long-term health consequences.

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Maintaining your weight and health during and after menopause

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (22)Main Points

(Video) Ask an Expert: Menopause management

  • Weight gain during and after menopause has more to do with your lifestyle and the changes of ageing than with hormonal changes of menopause.
  • The hormonal changes of menopause can cause fat to settle in your abdomen rather than your hips, thighs and buttocks.
  • Menopausal Hormone Treatment (MHT) does not cause weight gain and can reduce the abdominal fat caused by menopause.
  • Menopause is a great time to visit your doctor,assess your overall health and make changes to improve your lifestyle and health.
  • Eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity, stopping smoking and drinking less alcohol will help you to maintain a healthy weight beyond menopause.

Maintaining your weight and health during and after menopause98.50 KB

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Vaginal Laser Therapy

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (24)Main Points

  • Vaginal laser is a new treatment being offered for some menopausal symptoms
  • There is insufficient high quality evidence for its safety and benefits
  • Vaginal oestrogen is safe and effective and can be used by most women
  • Vaginal laser for menopausal symptoms is not approved by regulatory authorities in Australia and the USA

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Decreasing the risk of falls and fractures before, during and after menopause

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (26)Main Points

  • Falls and fractures can happen at any age, but the risk increases as women age.
  • Falls in older people are more likely to cause more severe injuries.
  • Low bone density, low muscle strength and poor balance are more likely as women age and increase the risk of falls.
  • Improving your bone health can also help decrease the risk of falls and decrease the severity of any injuries or other consequences if you do fall.
  • Appropriate physical activity can help decrease several fall risk factors.
  • Speak with your doctor, assess your overall health and make changes to decrease your risk of a fall.

Decreasing the risk of falls and fractures before, during and after menopause67.29 KB

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Urinary Incontinence in Women

Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society (28)Main Points

(Video) Menopause Management

  • Urinary incontinence is common in women
  • Women can have stress or urge incontinence or a mixture of both
  • Learning how to contract pelvic floor muscles correctly can help treat stress incontinence. Some women may need surgery
  • Bladder training and vaginal oestrogen can assist with urge incontinence

AMS Urinary Incontinence in Women116.21 KB

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Content updated May 2020

FAQs

What happens to the brain during menopause? ›

Cognitive decline is common during the transition into menopause, including symptoms such as forgetfulness and delayed verbal memory, reduced verbal processing speed, and impaired verbal learning.

What are the 1st signs of menopause? ›

Symptoms
  • Irregular periods.
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Hot flashes.
  • Chills.
  • Night sweats.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Mood changes.
  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism.
14 Oct 2020

Do women's brains change after menopause? ›

Summary: Women who have gone through menopause may have more of a brain biomarker called white matter hyperintensities than premenopausal women or men of the same age, according to a new study.

Can HRT help 10 years after menopause? ›

However, most women who are otherwise fit and well do still gain benefits from taking HRT even if it has been more than 10 years since their menopause. You may decide to start HRT now because your symptoms have worsened, or you were expecting them to have gone by now but they haven't.

What are the signs of coming to the end of menopause? ›

What are the symptoms of postmenopause?
  • Hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Vaginal dryness and sexual discomfort.
  • Depression.
  • Changes in sex drive.
  • Insomnia.
  • Dry skin.
  • Weight changes.
  • Hair loss.
5 Oct 2021

Do energy levels return after menopause? ›

Is Menopause Fatigue Normal? It's normal for everyone to feel overtired or overworked from time to time. Such instances usually come and go and people are usually able to recover well. Unrelenting exhaustion, on the other hand, lasts longer, is more severe, and isn't cured with rest.

What are the symptoms of low estrogen? ›

Signs of low estrogen include:
  • Dry skin.
  • Tender breasts.
  • Weak or brittle bones.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Moodiness and irritability.
  • Vaginal dryness or atrophy.
  • Hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Irregular periods or no periods (amenorrhea).
8 Feb 2022

How long does the menopause last? ›

The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about seven years but can be as long as 14 years. The duration can depend on lifestyle factors such as smoking, age it begins, and race and ethnicity.

Is Davina McCall on HRT? ›

TV Presenter Davina McCall has just posted a video describing her experience with Menopause, HRT and how her treatment is helping her. It is fantastic to see Davina use her platform to highlight such an important issue for women everywhere.

Is 58 too old for HRT? ›

Answer. Hormone therapy can be extremely beneficial for bone health purposes for women up to the age of 60 years, and in some circumstances women may continue hormone therapy after this age, depending on their general health, family history and bone density / history of fracture.

What age is too late for HRT? ›

Hormone therapy does not need to be routinely discontinued in women aged older than 60 or 65 years and can be considered for continuation beyond age 65 years for persistent [vasomotor], [quality of life] issues, or prevention of osteoporosis after appropriate evaluation and counseling of benefits and risks.

Why menopause is a good thing? ›

When you enter menopause, your ovaries stop releasing eggs. This stops your menstrual cycle and your monthly period. There's no need to buy tampons or pads anymore, and there's no longer a risk of bleeding or spotting unexpectedly. Plus, you can't get pregnant anymore.

Can menopause change a woman's personality? ›

During menopause, it's common to experience mood changes such as irritability, sadness, lack of motivation, aggressiveness, problems focusing, stress, difficulty concentrating, and depression. Much like constant premenstrual syndrome (PMS), these effects can cause emotional strain.

Should a 60 year old woman take estrogen? ›

Women who begin hormone therapy at age 60 or older or more than 10 years from the onset of menopause are at greater risk of the above conditions. But if hormone therapy is started before the age of 60 or within 10 years of menopause, the benefits appear to outweigh the risks. Type of hormone therapy.

How long does weight gain from menopause last? ›

Most people gain 5-8% of their baseline body weight in the first two years of menopause. This is due to slower metabolism and lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise. Prevent fat gain by eating smaller portions, avoiding added sugars and adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet.

Will I lose weight after menopause? ›

"If post-menopausal women cut back on calories and up the intensity of their exercise, they lose weight and tone up, just like younger women. It may be a bit slower, but it happens. It requires long-term adherence as well." Pinkerton suggests aiming for a 400- to 600-calorie daily deficit.

What are the signs that you need hormone replacement therapy? ›

If you are experiencing unexplained depression, anxiety, or fatigue, or even hot flashes, weight gain, and bone loss, then you may be an ideal candidate for hormone replacement therapy. This specialized therapy will address these symptoms and help you start feeling like yourself.

Does menopause fatigue ever go away? ›

How long does menopausal fatigue last? According to medical experts, you can expect to experience menopausal fatigue and other symptoms over the duration of your menopausal transition. This can last eight years or more.

How much sleep do you need during menopause? ›

Often, poor sleep sticks around throughout the menopausal transition and after menopause. Fortunately, says Pien, there's help. What's “good” sleep? Women should aim for between seven and eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep per night, Pien says.

What makes a woman tired all the time? ›

Depression, stress and anxiety can directly cause fatigue, as well as lead to poor sleep quality, thus also causing fatigue. Fatigue often has an emotional component.

How does lack of estrogen affect the brain? ›

The drop in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause brings declines in the volumes of “gray matter,” the cellular matter of the brain, in key brain regions that are also affected in Alzheimer's disease.

Does menopause brain fog ever go away? ›

In many women, menopause “brain fog” may be mild and go away on its own with time. More severe memory issues may cause you to neglect your personal hygiene, forget the name of familiar objects, or have difficulty following directions.

Can menopause cause neurological problems? ›

The cessation of ovarian estrogen production occurring around the time of menopause has the potential to influence central nervous system function, as well as a number of neurological disorders that affect women during midlife and old age, including memory loss and mild cognitive impairment, ischemic stroke, ...

Can menopause cause weird thoughts? ›

Emotional problems are very common during menopause and intrusive thoughts, heightened fears and phobias and loss of humour are three of the lesser-known emotional symptoms you can experience.

How do you feel with low estrogen levels? ›

Signs of low estrogen include:
  • Dry skin.
  • Tender breasts.
  • Weak or brittle bones.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Moodiness and irritability.
  • Vaginal dryness or atrophy.
  • Hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Irregular periods or no periods (amenorrhea).
8 Feb 2022

Can estrogen cause Alzheimer's? ›

Researchers think oestrogen may cause the body to make more antioxidants, protecting brain cells from damage. This could explain why the sudden drop in women's oestrogen levels following menopause seems to make them more vulnerable to Alzheimer's.

What can I take for memory loss during menopause? ›

Hormone therapy has been shown to sharpen a menopausal mind and may help protect you from further memory loss. According to the National Institute of Health, hormone therapy after menopause can also provide health benefits related to memory.

Can menopause cause dementia? ›

Women who entered menopause before the age of 40 were 35% more likely to have been diagnosed with dementia. Women who entered menopause before the age of 45 were 1.3 times more likely to have been diagnosed with dementia before they were 65 years old (called presenile or early-onset dementia).

What supplement is good for brain fog? ›

Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their impressive health effects. Taking concentrated omega-3 supplements may benefit brain health and improve certain symptoms of brain fog, including difficulties with attention and memory ( 17 ).

Can menopause trigger MS? ›

In two small surveys, 40-54% of women reported experiencing a worsening of symptoms after menopause. But menopause was not reported to affect MS in a third, larger study. Researchers in the US found menopause might be linked to MS disability getting worse, as measured by EDSS.

Can menopause cause neck and head pain? ›

Headaches are more common around menopause due to fluctuating hormone levels. If you have had headaches in the past – especially if you get migraines – you may notice menopause headaches are more frequent or more severe. Don't panic yet, there are things you can do to address this frustrating aspect of menopause.

Can menopause cause tingling and numbness? ›

Are you experiencing sensations of numbness and tingling? This could be a symptom of menopause, and although it's relatively uncommon, it can feel unsettling and unexpected. The tingling can affect any part of the body, although it most commonly affects the feet, legs, arms, and hands.

Can menopause change your personality? ›

During menopause, it's common to experience mood changes such as irritability, sadness, lack of motivation, aggressiveness, problems focusing, stress, difficulty concentrating, and depression. Much like constant premenstrual syndrome (PMS), these effects can cause emotional strain.

What are the signs that you need hormone replacement therapy? ›

If you are experiencing unexplained depression, anxiety, or fatigue, or even hot flashes, weight gain, and bone loss, then you may be an ideal candidate for hormone replacement therapy. This specialized therapy will address these symptoms and help you start feeling like yourself.

Which HRT is best for anxiety? ›

HRT with Estrogen May Lower Fear Response & Anxiety

They found that estrogen may have a calming effect on the fear response, including for women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therefore, there is some evidence that increasing estrogen may reduce anxiety-like symptoms.

Videos

1. Fragile X and POI - What do I need to know? Webinar 4 April 2022
(Fragile X Association of Australia)
2. Sex After Perimenopause
(WellFemme)
3. Menopause Hormone Therapy
(Western Victoria PHN LEARN)
4. Premature menopause
(Jean Hailes)
5. Using natural therapies in the menopause transition - webinar
(Jean Hailes)
6. Demystifying HRT
(Osler Health International)

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