Experienced by all women at some point during their 40s or 50s, the menopause can be a difficult physical process that has many permanent effects on the functioning of the body and several lasting implications on physical and mental health. When going through the menopause, it can be normal to display a series of symptoms, some of which are more obvious than others.
Perhaps one of the least discussed of these are the changes that the menopause can have on the heart, with there being a sharp increase in the possibility of various heart and circulatory diseases in women after the occurrence of this major biological transformation.
How can the menopause affect the heart?
Unlike other, more visible symptoms of the menopause such as hot flushes and general fatigue, the menopause can subject the female body to a range of internal changes, all of which leave women more vulnerable to the development of many serious health conditions. This is once again due to the post-menopausal body’s lack of oestrogen. As a hormone integral to the proper functioning of the reproductive system, oestrogen isn’t needed as much once a woman stops having monthly periods.
Yet, as something that can also protect women from a range of heart concerns, its slow disappearance can have a potentially damaging effect on a woman’s physical health. That’s because it’s widely believed that oestrogen can stop fatty plaque from infiltrating the arteries and prevent cholesterol from climbing to unhealthy levels. Without this protective hormone, the chances of heart failure, coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke in post-menopasual women are greatly increased, particularly if the menopause occurred at an early age (45 or under).
Other side effects
Whilst this lack of oestrogen can pave the way for some concerning health conditions, it can also be responsible for the heart palpitations that can so often be a side effect of hot flushes and night sweats. It’s important to note that hot flushes and night sweats that are not associated with the menopause should be investigated by your GP as these can be a sign of other potentially serious conditions.
As the menopause can leave women open to a number of concerning health conditions, it’s always advisable to seek out treatment that could significantly reduce these risks. One of the most common of these is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), a form of treatment that reintroduces oestrogen into the system with a view to nullifying some of the effects of the menopause. As a gynaecological expert with over 25 years of experience in this field, Mr Francis Gardner has a wide knowledge of the female health conditions and can use his expertise to help you find the right sort of HRT for you. Book your initial consultation by getting in touch today.
As one of the key hormones in the regulation and development of the reproductive system, oestrogen is responsible for many of the processes that are unique to being a woman. It’s also largely agreed that oestrogen is a hormone that fulfills a range of other important tasks in the body, including strengthening bones, improving brain function and the maintenance of healthy sex organs.
Not always. Every woman is different, so it follows that the time at which you go through the menopause will be dependent on who you are as an individual. In some instances, going through the menopause early can leave you more vulnerable to the development of a number of serious health conditions, so it’s worth consulting a specialist, such as a gynaecologist, for advice if you have any concerns.
During consultation with Mr Gardner, your medical history, current symptoms and personal preferences will be discussed. HRT is not right for everyone, but can be an effective method in helping the body to resume normal functioning in the absence of your own natural oestrogen.