MENOPAUSE is a reality to all women, a natural biological occurrence in their lives. It is the stoppage or cessation of menstruation in women around the age of 50 but can only be diagnosed after she has not had menstruation for 12 consecutive months without any identifiable biological or physiological cause, example a debilitating illness.
The signs and symptoms of early menopause are irregular or heavy bleeding, insomnia, the very uncomfortable hot flushes, depression, anxiety, irritability, some muscle and joint pains, fatigue, lack of concentration, migraine and low self-esteem. Women aged 50 to 64 usually have vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, inability to control urination, painful intercourse, thinning of the skin and low sex drive.
Women from 65 years up would be easy victims of osteoporosis, heart disease and the much-dreaded Alzheimer's disease.
All of these symptoms can be attributed to fluctuations in female hormones especially estrogen which is primarily responsible in maintaining the health of reproductive organs of the female, elasticity of the skin, optimum functioning of the heart, brain and bones as well as the emotional and sexual status of the female.
Endocrinologists as well as OB-Gyne specialists are unanimous in proclaiming the dictum, the earlier menopause is managed, so much the better! Why? First, it does not only relieve the signs and symptoms of menopause. Second, it significantly reduces the long term risk and complications later in life. Studies show that menopause therapy during the so-called “window of opportunity" which is before the age 60 or within 10 years of menopause results in benefits that greatly improve well-being and quality of life of the woman.
As an instructor of physiology and pharmacology, your columnist is happy to share with our readers particularly the ladies the sterling qualities of a drug used to help manage menopausal issues. Tibolone isa SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator) which combines estrogenic and progesteronic activity with slight androgenic activity. It is clinically proven to relieve hot flushes, improve sleep , alleviate depression and mood swings, treat vaginal dryness and other urogenital dysfunction that may cause urinary infections, improve sexual well-being, protect from fractures in association with other drugs that promote bone health like calcium, bisphosphonates thus decreasing risk of osteoporotic breakage later in life.. Studies have shown that Tibolone is safe for the endometrium of the uterus and may even reduce the risk of breast cancer if taken before age of 60.
Usually, doctors prescribe Tibolone to appropriate women as soon as menopausal symptoms occur- for the most part 45 years old. There is no exact time limit recommendation as to how long a woman should take Tibolone, as this is based on clinical judgment of your physician depending on the health status of the patient thus regular checkups are important.
Of course, to address the most important question in the mind of patients- relief of signs and symptoms occur and continues to improve after 3 months of therapy. Also for those women who are classified as "surgical menopause" removal of both ovaries for whatever reason at an age still far from the usual menopausal age, indeed, Tibolone helps.
And as a cosmetic bonus, aside from reducing vaginal dryness, Tibolone contributes to a healthy, glowing skin by preserving collagen and increasing dermal thickness and elasticity. Moreover, Tibolone does not affect blood pressure and glucose or sugar metabolism.
Ask your doctor about Amena, a popular brand of Tibolone.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on July 15, 2017.
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