Symptoms and causes

What is it?

With menopause, we mean a woman’s transition from a fertile to an infertile phase of life. During the woman's fertile period, the ovaries produce hormones (e.g. oestrogens and progestogens). These hormones allow eggs to mature. If fertilisation does not occur, menstruation ensues. This fertile period starts with puberty and ends with the stage when having children is impossible.

When the egg cell reserve in the ovaries is exhausted, oestrogen production decreases. The transition takes several years and is not a sudden moment. It is assumed that a woman is in peri-menopause between the ages of 47 and 52 years; this is the transition to the final menopause.

A woman is in menopause when she has not had her period for a year.

Symptoms

Changes in hormone levels during the transitional years can give rise to symptoms and have long-term consequences.

  • Hot flashes (vapeurs)
  • Night sweats
  • Dry vagina and vaginal irritation
  • Urinary problems
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Painful miction
  • Increase in body weight
  • Irritability and mood swings

Diagnosis and treatment

Treatment

For us, the gynaecologists, our main aim is to support the unpleasant transition period and provide information about the new physical experience.

Once in menopause, the risk of osteoporosis increases as oestrogens play a role in bone metabolism. In order to detect these changes, your gynaecologist may request a bone densitometry. The firmness of the bone is measured. Calcium supplements and Vitamin D will be prescribed, with or without bone-loss delaying medication.

Treatment centres and specialisations

General gynaecology

Latest publication date: 21/01/2021
Supervising author: Dr Van Den Broecke Dirk