Mythbusting Menopause: signs, symptoms, and treatments

August 12, 2021

Menopause is a natural event of life. But it involves a whole host of changes and challenges. You’ll have no shortage of people advising you about menopause and its management. Not all this advice will be medically sound.

Here we tackle the myths and misinformation around menopause.

Myth: Menopause happens around age 50

Fact: For most women, menopause happens between the ages of 45-55. However, menopause can happen earlier in some women who see signs of menopause at 40. This is known as early menopause and can be due to:

  • medical treatments — such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy — that stop ovaries from functioning
  • surgery to remove a woman’s ovaries which is sometimes done to prevent or treat ovarian cancer or breast cancer
  • surgery to remove the uterus (hysterectomy)
  • primary ovarian insufficiency which is caused by some genetic, autoimmune or metabolic conditions

Myth: Menopause doesn’t need medical treatment

Fact: Some women don’t need medical treatment to deal with their symptoms. Others do need treatment.

Menopause is a natural part of life, and you only need to treat the symptoms of menopause if they worry you. Treatments include:

  • menopause medication like menopausal hormone therapy (MHT, which used to be called HRT)
  • non-prescription medicines such as menopause natural supplements
  • lifestyle changes (such as wearing loose clothing if sweating is a problem)

The GPs at Instantscripts® can help you with treatments, consults and referrals for all your menopause-related health concerns.

To speak with an InstantScripts GP:

Request Consultation

To request a script:

Find Your Medication

Myth: You don’t need contraception if you’re going through menopause

Fact: You need to use contraception to prevent pregnancy until you reach:

  • one year without a natural period if you’re over 50
  • or 2 years without a natural period if you’re under 50

When you enter the perimenopause phase, you should discuss your contraceptive choices with a GP.

You need to work out if your current method of contraception is still the safest and most effective one for you. Some types of contraception cause more frequent side effects as you get older.

Note: Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT, formerly called HRT) is not a contraceptive – it does not prevent pregnancy.

Myth: Menopause is just about the hot flushes

Fact: Menopause symptoms vary between women, but generally include:

  • hot flushes
  • night sweats
  • sleep disturbances
  • joint pain
  • anxiety or mood swings
  • changes in libido (sex drive)
  • bone loss
  • changes to your vagina
  • changes in body weight

Menopause is also related to increased risks of heart disease and osteoporosis.

Your symptoms may also vary depending on your ethnic background. For example, women with European heritage have more frequent hot flushes and night sweats. Women with an Asian heritage report more aches and pains, insomnia and mood changes.

Myth: You need a blood test to check for menopause

Fact: There are no specific tests for menopause. Blood tests can be used to look at hormone levels, but they don’t always reliably confirm menopause. Menopause is confirmed 12 months after your last period.

Your doctor can help you work out if you are menopausal based on the frequency of your periods and your other symptoms.

Talk with a GP if you are concerned about:

  • irregular cycles
  • heavy or abnormal bleeding
  • symptoms that interfere with your daily life

To speak with an InstantScripts GP:

Request Consultation

To request a script:

Find Your Medication

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