All posts tagged ‘menopausal’

Susanne’s blog

I originally set up Menopause Support to pass on information and experiences I gathered through my tricky menopause. If you want my ideas, tips and products to help you with your symptoms, or if you want to know more about the latest menopause research then read my blog. I?d love to hear your feedback so please post a comment at the bottom of the page!

Menopause symptoms mask deadly ovarian cancer

28. April 2011 08:34

Are you suffering from bloating, a swollen and painful stomach, having to pee more often or finding it difficult to eat normally?  All these can be symptoms of the menopause but if you have them on a daily basis they may be the sign of something more serious – ovarian cancer.

 

This disease, often called the ‘silent killer’, is difficult to diagnose but new guidelines published yesterday from NICE are addressing this.  They suggest a simple blood test through your GP.  The test looks for the level of a protein CA125 in your blood.  Even though the test is not 100% conclusive, it’s a good first step and if found positive, will be followed up by an ultrasound examination and further specialist treatment.

 

Time is the most important factor here – if you catch the disease at the early stages, 90% of women survive after treatment.  But this survival rate declines as the disease progresses.  So if you do have any of these symptoms, on a daily basis, then please go and see your doctor and ask for this test.  As a recovering ovarian cancer mother on Woman’s Hour said yesterday.  ‘Women tend to put their bodies on the back burner and put off going to their doctor but early diagnosis is the key to successfully beating this disease.’

 

If you want to listen to the excellent Woman’s Hour interview, click on the link below – it’s the first item of the show: The program start after 30 seconds into the show

Woman’s Hour 10:00 Wednesday, 27th April 2011

 

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What is the peri-menopause?

11. February 2011 11:25

You may well ask!  Although most of us have heard of the menopause, the word ‘peri-menopause’ is not used as often. In fact, when I first heard it, I had no idea what it meant even though I have a scientific background.

 

Basically, it’s the medical term that can be simply summed up in five words: ‘The approach to the menopause.’

 

This is important, as unlike childbirth which, once started, it usually progresses fairly rapidly, the menopause can go on for many years. It can stop and then, just as you think it’s all over, it can come back as an encore.

 

The peri-menopause is the start of all this. It’s the beginning of some of the symptoms such as irregular bleeding, mood swings and tender breasts. It’s the stage where you’re not quite into the full swing of the M word but very nearly – or at least, on the cusp.

 

So how do you know if you are menopausal or perimenopausal or neither?
 

There may be other health reasons for your so-called menopausal symptoms which is why it’s important to see your GP to rule out anything else. Your doctor may give you a blood test to check your hormone levels. The blood tests won’t definitely say if you are menopausal but they can give an indication by testing the level of FSH in the blood: this is the Follicle stimulating Hormone which stimulates the eggs in the ovaries to ripen. As you get older and the follicles become more resistant the FSH levels, they have to rise to a higher level to try and get the follicle to produce an egg. So if the result is very high, the doctor will say you’re likely to be in your menopause, especially if you have other symptoms such as irregular periods. 
 

However, in the peri-menopausal period, the FSH levels fluctuate from month to month and through the cycle, particularly if you’re still having periods. A temporary raised FSH level can also be because of stopping the oral contraceptive pill, breast feeding, severe illness, hypothyroidism, depression, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and some medicines such as Prozac.

 

It’s worth knowing that if you’re already taking hormones for a medical condition (including contraception), the blood tests are unlikely to reflect a true reading. So you might need to come off the Pill in order to see if you really are entering the menopausal stage. The tricky bit here is that you could still be fertile so even if you are peri-menopausal, you could still theoretically, get pregnant.

 

There are also certain over-the-counter medical self-testing menopause testing kits where you can check the level of FSH of your urine on a stick, as in a pregnancy test. To get the best result, take the urine test on the third to fifth day of your period and do it over successive months to get a more accurate result. This will however only be an indication that you are menopausal: you do need to have other symptoms too.

 

British women suffer more during menopause than women abroad!

22. September 2010 12:21

An interesting survey from The University of Westminster was published recently about the level of reported menopausal symptoms from women living in London, America, Canada, China and Japan.  The report concludes that British women experienced more severe symptoms than those in other countries from around the world and that this is probably due to stress.  The researchers believe that stress could be one of the key factors exacerbating the condition in British women.  I wonder about this too, as I’m sure our generation are having a harder time at menopause than our mother’s and grandmother’s generations and just maybe this is because we try to pack so much into our lives?

 

The range of symptoms included all the normal ones that we know so well – night sweats, hot flushes, fatigue, insomnia, constipation, upset stomach, aching joints and depression. The results show that hot flushes and night sweats were common to all women but other symptoms such as tiredness, insomnia and irritability depended on culture, age and where they lived. 

 

Higher levels of hot flushes were experienced by British and American women compared with Chinese and Japanese.  The study suggests that this may be due to the large amounts of soya in Eastern diets helping to support the drop in oestrogen through the menopause.  I think this could be true, but suggest you stick to the fermented whole bean soya foods such as tofu, temph and miso.

 

The final conclusion of the study is that “Each women needs to be treated according to her unique experiences going through the menopause and we shouldn’t allow stereotypes to distort what the menopause entails.”  Here at Menopause Support we totally agree with this statement and aim through our Menopause Support Programme to give women the information, advice and support they need to make the right decision about their own menopause treatments.