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Menopause Jargon Buster

Did you know that feeling more confused than usual can be a symptom of menopause? Add to that a lot of long, complex-looking medical terms when you read anything about this stage of your life and that brain fog will feel even harder to shift.

But we’re here to help; that’s why we stock menopause supplements to help you navigate menopause confidently and comfortably, and it’s why we’ve compiled this bumper menopause jargon buster to clear up any confusion around menopause-related terms.

Know your DT56a from your isoflavones and your oestradiol from your oestrogen, so you can face your future with confidence with this handy menopause glossary.

Atrophic Vaginitis

Atrophic vaginitis is also referred to as vaginal dryness, a common menopause symptom, especially in post-menopausal women. It is typically characterised by soreness, burning and itching, and is caused by a drop in oestrogen levels. Atrophic vaginitis can also be known as urogenital atrophy and vaginal atrophy.

Bone Mineral Density

A healthy bone mineral to bone tissue ratio is required for strong bones to prevent them from weakening and osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) developing. Declining oestrogen can affect bone mineral density, making bones weaker and more brittle.

Climacteric

This term refers to the stage when you first begin to see signs of menopause; often, this is a change to the regularity or flow of your periods. Also known as perimenopause or pre-menopause.

Cognitive Function

You might have read that cognitive function can be affected during menopause. This term refers to your brain’s ability to carry out tasks, so the concentration and memory problems that can be a common menopause symptom are related to this.

Collagen

Collagen is a protein found in the skin and helps to keep it looking youthful, smooth and plump. Its production is influenced by oestrogen levels, so can be impacted during menopause.

Contraindications

Contraindications are scenarios where medicine or other medical help should not be used because it may pose harm to a person. There may be contraindications where certain menopause supplements shouldn’t be used, for example, if a woman is taking other medication. You should always speak to your GP to find out any contraindications before trying a new menopause treatment.

DT56a

DT56a is a natural ingredient derived from soy that is found in the Femarelle® range of menopause supplements. It has been linked with providing relief from common menopause symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and vaginal dryness.

Homeostasis

If you’re doing some in-depth reading around menopause, you may come across this term, which refers to a balance between two different elements in the body. During menopause, the drop in your oestrogen levels can affect the homeostasis of many processes in your body.

Hormonal Imbalance

Menopause symptoms occur due to a change in the balance of your hormones, - mainly the fall in oestrogen that is natural at this time of life. A hormonal imbalance can affect you mentally and physically, but can be remedied if you find a way to put the affected hormone back into your body, such as via HRT or a menopause supplement.

Hot Flushes

Known as hot flashes in the US, hot flushes are the name for those times when you find yourself suddenly overheating, seemingly out of nowhere. This is due to a hormonal imbalance and can be managed with menopause supplements.

HRT

HRT stands for hormone replacement therapy, an option for women looking to rebalance the hormones in their body during menopause to minimise symptoms. HRT has been linked with increasing the risk of some health conditions, including several types of cancer.

Hypothalamus

This is a part of the brain that acts like the body’s own internal thermostat. The hormonal imbalance that comes with menopause can affect the function of the hypothalamus, which is why women experience hot flushes and night sweats.

Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is an operation to remove all, or part of, the womb, which can induce menopause. Some women need a hysterectomy due to health problems, but it is usually a final option after other treatments or ways of managing symptoms have been tried.

Isoflavones

These are natural chemicals found in plants. You’ll find soy isoflavones and red clover isoflavones in some menopause supplements. Their effects on the body can be similar to those of oestrogen.

Menopause

A time in a woman’s life when her oestrogen levels drop, ending her natural fertility. The average age for menopause in the UK is 51. You are officially classed as being in menopause when you have not had a period for 12 months or more.

Menopause Transition

This term also refers to the climacteric stage, and can be known as pre-menopause and perimenopause as well.

Metabolism

Your metabolism is your body’s ability to turn food into energy. Changes to your oestrogen levels can affect your metabolism, which is why you might feel more sluggish and possibly gain weight during menopause.

Neuroprotectant

A neuroprotectant is anything that protects a nerve cell. Oestrogen can be one of these substances, which is why it’s important to maintain a hormonal balance to protect cognitive function during menopause.

Neurosteroids

These are steroids made within the brain and can be an important factor in regulating menopause symptoms, due to their effect on oestrogen receptors (see below for definition).

Oestradiol

Oestradiol is a type of oestrogen produced in the ovaries. Menopause symptoms begin when oestradiol levels start to decline.

Oestrogen

Production of this hormone naturally declines as you get older, which is why menopause begins. In women, oestrogen is responsible for maintaining your menstrual cycle and for other sexual characteristics. When it declines, your periods eventually stop, and your moods, wellbeing and sex drive can all be affected. Oestrogen also helps with collagen production, which is why wrinkles may appear more prominent during menopause.

Oestrogen Receptors

You’ll find oestrogen receptors inside cells. Usually, these are activated by oestrogen in your body, so when oestrogen levels decline, a number of functions in your body can be affected.

Oestrogen Therapy

Due to the effect that declining oestrogen has on the body during menopause, many women seek a form of oestrogen therapy to try to rebalance their hormones. HRT is one option, while menopause supplements can mimic the effects of oestrogen in the body, providing another form of therapy.

Osteoporosis

Also known as brittle bone disease, osteoporosis can be a debilitating condition, increasing the risk of fractures and breaks. Taking a menopause supplement containing calcium could help to prevent the onset of the condition.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the same as pre-menopause or the climacteric stage. It usually begins to affect women in their 40s, with the first signs a change to your periods, as well as differences to the look and feel of your skin and hair.

Post-menopause

Menopause symptoms can continue into your 60s too, with this stage known as post-menopause. Hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, vaginal dryness, aching muscles and joints, and increased risk of osteoporosis are all common symptoms of post-menopause.

Progesterone

A female sex hormone, produced each month in the ovaries. Its production is affected during menopause, with your menstrual cycle eventually stopping altogether.

Sexual Wellbeing

The focus for World Menopause Day 2018. Sexual wellbeing can be affected by menopause. It’s all about how confident you feel in yourself and your relationship. Symptoms such as vaginal dryness and hot flushes can affect this, but taking a menopause supplement can help you to feel more like yourself again.

Stress Incontinence

This is when a person loses control of their bladder due to high stress levels and can be more common during perimenopause. There are also some cases of women suffering stress incontinence after hot flushes, making them even more flustered. This is one of the reasons why it’s so vital to find a way to manage menopause symptoms to stop them from ruling your life.

Supplements

Supplements are substances added to something else to enhance its function. In menopause, supplements are designed to provide natural hormone replacements or substitutes to enhance the function of your body and mind as they undergo changes.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTIs can become more common among women who suffer from vaginal dryness, which can lead to bacteria entering the urethra, kidneys and bladder, causing pain and infection. Antibiotics are usually needed to clear up UTIs.

Vasomotor Symptoms

The term vasomotor refers to your blood vessels. Vasomotor symptoms of menopause include hot flushes and night sweats, which are triggered by a widening of the blood vessels.

Vulvodynia

This refers to persistent pain in the vulva. Although it can occur at any age, it can become more common during menopause and post-menopause, due to increased vaginal dryness.