Dr Conor Harrity
Medical Director, The Menopause Hub, and Consultant Gynaecologist in Rotunda and Beaumont Hospitals
Dr Conor Harrity also works in Beaumont Hospital & the Rotunda and in Repromed.
Menopause, while a common fact of life, is still often shrouded in mystery simply because the symptoms can vary so much depending on the individual.
We’ve all heard about night sweats, brain fog and the end of a woman’s cycle being the key criteria for menopause, but these aren’t the only symptoms women should be aware of.
Identifying the symptoms of menopause
The journey to menopause can actually be a long road, and women should pay attention both to physical and mental symptoms warns Dr Conor Harrity, Consultant Gynaecologist at both The Menopause Hub in Dublin and Beaumont Hospital.
He explains, “Your cycle can offer the first clue that your body is gearing up for menopause, first its length may shorten and then get longer. This can often be accompanied by the more traditional symptoms alongside anxiety, trouble sleeping and low mood.”
The journey to menopause can actually be a long road, and women should pay attention both to physical and mental symptoms.
Although in the past women have been told they need to wait a year once their periods have stopped before seeking medical help, there are now HRT alternatives available for women in peri-menopause, such as transdermal creams, patches and gels.
Finding the best treatment for each individual
Dr Harrity continues, “Each clinic should have a GP specialising in women’s health, they will be able to perform a hormone level check and prescribe a treatment plan depending on the patient’s medical history. What’s more, they can even refer to further specialists, from psychologists to dieticians, to help treat individual needs.”
While there are some risks associated with HRT such as breast cancer and stroke, recent data suggests that these are very low and dependent on a patient’s own medical history. Age is also a factor, so women over the age of 60 may be advised something different.
Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones which can occur when the bodies supply of oestrogen dips. HRT has been indicated as a prevention for osteoporosis in some cases. For example, it can be used when women are intolerant or contraindicated to other medical products which are approved for the prevention of osteoporosis.
With complications of HRT very small for a healthy woman, the benefits and variety of applications make hormone therapy one of the easiest ways to regain quality of life during the menopause. What’s more, these resources can all be accessed from your GP. Dr Harrity adds, “Even if your periods haven’t stopped yet, feel free to consult your doctor about any physical or psychological changes, there is help available.”