She said Janet Coe, in her late forties, began experiencing heart palpitations, night sweats, and 30 hot flashes a day.
Fearing she was having heart problems, Mississauga, Ont., visited several doctors, but none of them linked her symptoms to Menopause in time.
Ko, 55, said it took several years of not feeling well before she got the help she needed.
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“I went to menopause In my late 40s, I had perimenopause experiences, but had no idea there was something called perimenopause,” she told Global News.
Hoping that other women wouldn’t be “shocked” the way she was, Ko . began Menopause Foundation in Canada in January 2022 to help raise awareness about hormonal changes affecting nearly half of Canada’s population.
“We don’t want women to be traumatized in the prime of their lives,” she said.
“We want women to have choices and choices to help them manage menopause their way,” she said, adding that there are many safe and effective treatments for women that they largely don’t know.
A new national report was released on October 6 by the Menopause Foundation of Canada found that nearly 50 percent of women feel unprepared for menopause, while more than half were unaware of common menopausal symptoms.
The report showed that of the 41 percent of women surveyed between the ages of 40 and 60 who sought medical advice, 72 percent found it was not helpful or only somewhat helpful. Nearly 40 percent of the women also felt that their symptoms had not been treated.
It’s very important to assess a woman’s general health around and during menopause to be able to identify any risk factors, “silent health issues” and discuss treatments, said Dr. Wendy Wolfman, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto.
This will improve women’s older years and quality of life when they are most productive, she said.
“A lot of aging for women may already start in perimenopause – so the goal is preventative and try to improve health,” Wolfman said.
Most women go through menopause — characterized by not having a period for a year — between the ages of 45 and 55.
Wolfman said menopause testing isn’t really necessary as the diagnosis can be made once women start experiencing menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, and their periods start to drop.
During menopause, a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs each month, causing hormone levels to drop.
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Perimenopause is the transitional period, which lasts six to eight years, and leads to menopause when a woman’s menstrual cycles become irregular as hormone levels fluctuate.
The average age of menopause in Canada is 51.5 years. But most menopausal women are between the ages of 40 and 50, According to the Menopause Foundation of Canada.
Wolfman said women can continue to experience symptoms into their 60s and 70s.
in the UK, Parliamentary group This week he recommended inviting women to have a menopause assessment at age 45.
Coe said Canada could learn from the example of other countries, such as the United Kingdom, to better support women in menopause and close the knowledge gap.
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Women experience a variety of physical and mental symptoms.
Some common symptoms of menopause include menstrual irregularities, hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, mood swings, and joint pain.
Wolfman said that postmenopausal women may also have trouble sleeping and lack sexual desire, which can happen within about 24 months of their last period.
In 50 percent of women, she said, genitourinary menopausal syndrome can lead to vaginal dryness, bladder symptoms, and effects on the pelvic floor, as well as sexual repercussions.
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Meanwhile, one of the hallmarks of menopause is abnormal uterine bleeding or changes in menstruation.
Women may also have more migraines, headaches, and vaginal discharge during perimenopause.
There are also long-term health risks associated with menopause, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and GSM.
“There is a myth that menopause happens and then you go through it and it ends,” Coe said.
“So I think it’s really important that we emphasize that menopause is a continuum and that there are health issues that women need to be aware of that they need to focus on with preventative care, lifestyle choices, and certainly evidence-based treatment options.”
There are several ways to treat menopausal symptoms, ranging from over-the-counter and prescription medications to lifestyle changes.
However, Wolfman said the most effective treatment is hormone therapy, which can be given by pills or transdermal via a patch or gel.
This treatment is approved by Health Canada and is provided by prescription. However, there is a risk of starting hormone therapy for women over the age of 70, which is why it is not given to them, Wolfman said.
“We give it to postmenopausal or pre-menopausal women, which is women in their 50s,” she said.
She said that as long as a woman has no contraindications to starting hormone therapy and within 10 years of her last period, this type of treatment is safe and effective.
Koo said HT has proven to be a “lifesaver” for her.
Wolfman said that antidepressants and other medications such as gabapentin, oxybutynin and clonidine can also treat menopausal symptoms but nothing works as well as hormone therapy.
Yoga is also recommended, but exercises have not been proven to be effective, she said.
“Women spend a lot of money on a lot of treatments that haven’t really been shown to have a huge impact. And that’s not really fair to women.”