the transition into midlife, is normal event in every womanís life
and most women live long enough to experience it. Generally,
menopause is said to be present once there has been an absence of
any menstruation for 12 months.
The average age at which menopause occurs in
Western societies is 51.4 years but it can occur between 40 to 58
years and is also influenced by lifestyle and genetic factors such
as smoking, obesity, ethnicity, oral contraceptive use, age at
menarche, and duration of breastfeeding. Some women can experience a
very early menopause in their thirties and if the ovaries are
removed at any age after puberty, menopause will result.
The time before and after menopause is called the
perimenopausal period. It is a period a period of transition where
changes take place in the hormonal system and brain (with the
decreasing production). Sleep disturbances and daytime fatigue are
the most commonly reported symptoms during menopause. Other symptoms
that occur include hot flushes, mood disorders, and night sweats.
Does Sleep Quality Change With
During menopause, many women are less satisfies
with their sleep than previously. The most common complaint is
difficulty in falling asleep. Other problems include an increase in
the number of night time awakenings and daytime drowsiness. However,
actual sleep time and sleep stages are not different from those on
permenopausal women, so differences in perception of poor quality
sleep probably have more subtle background.
Are All Sleep And Health Problems
In Menopause Related To Changes In Hormone Levels?
No. Many women assume that symptoms such as
weight gain, sleep disturbances, and fatigue are related to hormonal
changes alone. Such misconceptions can lead to women missing
potentially reversible and treatable causes of poor health. Post
menopausal women are at increased risk of snoring and sleep
disordered breathing, which can be there cause of daytime sleepiness
and fatigue. These conditions should not be ignored as they can be
treated to improve the quality of life remarkably.
Why Do I Get Hot Flushes?
No one knows the precise mechanism of hot flushes
(hot flashes or night sweats). Hot flushes can also occur in women
receiving certain treatments for breast cancer. Hot flushes are
worsened by smoking and physical inactivity. They last about 3-5
minutes, but sometimes can go on for 20 minutes. Some women have up
to 20 hot flushes a day, others 1-2 times a week. Women who
experience hot flushes at night report reduced sleep quality. Hot
flushes cause awakenings at night, but there is little evidence to
show any major disruption to the various sleep stages.
What Can I Do About Hot Flushes
Affecting My Sleep?
If the hot flushes are extremely disruptive,
short term hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is still the treatment
of choice. However, many women are reluctant to try this due to
health risks. HRT should not be used by anyone who has had breast
cancer or a stroke. Antidepressants, such as serotonin reuptake
inhibitors may be useful. Another useful medication that can be
tried is gabapentin.
Can Alternative Therapies Help
With Hot Flushes?
The evidence for complementary and alternative
therapies is not strong and their effectiveness is questionable. It
might be worth trying acupuncture, yoga, or herbal treatments
containing phytoestrogens such as red clover, soy, dong quai, or
black cohosh. Obviously a cooler bedroom environment is better than
a warm or hot one. The strategies outlined in pp28-34 may also help
to stem development of insomnia and ingrained bad habits.
How Does Stress During Menopause
As oestrogen levels decline, the heart and blood
vessels as well as other hormones become more sensitive to stress.
Increasingly, there is evidence that even day to day hassles can
impact sleep more significantly during menopause and result in
frequent awakening, less sleep time and slow wave sleep, and poorer
quality sleep overall. It is therefore important to try and minimize
stress in your life.
Are There Any Particular Sleep
Disorders Associated with The Menopause?
Obesity, raised blood pressure (hypertension),
and sleep apnea are more common after menopause. Increase in weight
canít be blamed just on menopause, they are more likely to be the
result of normal ageing and reduction in physical activity. Obesity
is a risk factor for sleep apnea.
Are There Any other Medical
Illnesses That Are More Common After Menopause And That Can Disrupt
Depression and mood disorders become more common
after menopause and can result in disruption. Undergoing a
hysterectomy after menopause can worsen symptoms of menopause and
lead to mood problems. Cancer becomes more common after this stage
in life as well and has its own problems associated with diagnosis
and management. The incidence of thyroid problems increase and is
more common in women, hypothyroidism is associated with tiredness
menopause assessment scale is designed to indicate the severity of
the symptoms you may be experiencing. You will see that these can be
physical, psychological or sexual, or a mixture of all three. By
completing it you may become aware of changes in yourself that you
had not originally considered to be menopausal.
Click Here to begin your test.
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