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Ligne titreDoctors' advice.

45-55 years

1

I am experiencing hot flushes. Why is this?


Hot flushes are a very common symptom of the menopause and affect around 75% of women. Although they may feel dramatic, they are generally harmless.

They occur because of a hormonal disruption: the secretion of oestrogen is reduced, leading to a hormonal imbalance which unsettles the internal mechanism for regulating body temperature.

On average, hot flushes appear for around 3 to 5 years, and can arrive sporadically several times per day, often in the middle of the night.

In order to evaluate them, a series of examinations is necessary, such as a hormonal assessment of the blood with the calculation of sexual and thyroid hormones.

To calm hot flushes, a personalised treatment will be prescribed, taking into account the risks and the advantages. There are several possible approaches: a substitutive hormonal treatment, phytotherapy or dietary supplements.

2

Why has my sex drive decreased?


A drop or absence of sexual desire can be caused by many factors. For example, your libido may drop in the case of a hormonal disorder, as well as during difficult or stressful periods. It may also be related to a disease, medicine you are taking or your psychological state.

In order to obtain an accurate diagnosis, to discover the cause of the problem and to seek help, it is important to consult with your gynaecologist and to complete a few examinations, including a hormone assessment.

A variety of treatments may be offered, ranging from psychological coaching to the introduction of certain hormones, or phytotherapy.

3

Why is my skin dry?


The texture of the skin and its level of hydration are often dependent on the quantity of liquid consumed during the day. A good level of hydration – a minimum of 1.5 litres per day – enables the prevention of dryness.

For older women, dryness of the skin is related to a reduction in hormones: the skin effectively tends to retain water less efficiently.

Dryness can be prevented by the local application of a hydrating cream, good water-drinking habits, and if necessary, by the introduction of a substitutive hormonal treatment.

4

Why am I unable to concentrate?


Problems with concentration can arise when your hormones are imbalanced. They may also be accompanied by other symptoms: hot flushes, dryness and mood swings.

However, the reason for the difficulty you are experiencing on focussing your attention on something may also be the result of a physical or psychological overload.

In any case, a medical check-up could help to shed light on the situation. This will generally involve a hormonal assessment in order to measure various aspects and to exclude anaemia, thyroid disorders or a hormonal imbalance.

Treatment options will be decided upon depending on the diagnosis.

5

When should I start going for breast cancer screening?


Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer to affect the female population in Switzerland, with almost 6000 cases per year. It is also the main cause of cancer-related deaths. The earlier it is detected, the better your chances for a successful treatment.

If your family does not have a history of cancer, it is recommended that you schedule a screening by mammogram when you are 50 years old. A canton based screening programme (https://www.swisscancerscreening.ch/fr) enables you go for screening every two years. This will be reimbursed by your basic health insurance.

If a close relative has had breast cancer, it is recommended to begin screening earlier.

6

I feel like my breasts are sagging. What can I do?


With age, and particularly following breastfeeding or pregnancy, the tissue surrounding the mammary gland may shrink, as may the skin. The result is that your breasts may begin to sag – a condition known as breast ptosis.

In order to restore a more harmonious silhouette, it is possible to transfer fatty tissues from other parts of the body (liposuction to fill incomplete areas of the breast), to undergo a mammoplasty, or to insert implants.

It should be noted that although it is important to keep the skin hydrated, firming creams often produce disappointing results.

A medical examination will help you to find the solution best suited to your needs.

7

I eat normally, but I am gaining weight. Is this due to a hormonal disorder?


Not necessarily. After the menopause, it is not uncommon to gain weight due to the reduction in your metabolism. Your ‘inner machine’ effectively runs a little slower and so it is more difficult to burn calories.

Weight gain is not uniquely related to the quantity of food consumed: it also depends on the frequency at which you eat (snacking between meals) and the quality of the foods you eat: fizzy drinks, biscuits and sugar notably contribute to what you see on the scales.

Good health practices, including regular physical exercise, should enable you to attain an ideal weight, without following a drastic diet.

A consultation with your nutritionist will enable you to review the situation and to rule out other conditions or problems, notably thyroid-related.

As a last resort, it is possible to undergo hormone replacement therapy in order to restore your metabolic rate.

8

How do I know if I am menopausal?


The menopause is defined by the absence of menstrual bleeding for more than a year, and occurs at around 51 years on average. It can cause a series of changes which may prove physically and emotionally troublesome.

Some of the most common include:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Cystitis
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble concentrating and memory loss
  • Restlessness prior to menstruation
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Tingling sensation

When you begin to experience menopausal symptoms, it is advisable to schedule an appointment with your gynaecologist for a full check-up. Your gynaecologist will also be able to answer any questions you may have relating to this period of physiological change.

If symptoms trouble you to the point of seriously disrupting your normal life, there exists a hormone replacement therapy for which the aim is to replace the two missing hormones following the cessation of activity in your ovaries.

It should be noted that with good health practices, you can very well take this period of life in your stride.


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