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Mature Adults

Enjoying Your Golden Years: 50 years and above


What is Menopause?

Menopause is a gradual, naturally-occurring process that happens when a woman’s menstrual periods have stopped for 12 months. Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive lifespan. A woman is born with a fixed number of eggs in her 2 ovaries; with each menstrual cycle, the number of eggs declines and menopause occurs when there are no more useful eggs left in the ovaries. In women, menopause occurs at an average age of 51, but can happen anytime between 45 to 55 years of age.

This decline of hormones, which are released by the ovaries, begins a few years before the onset of menopause. This is known as the peri-menopausal period and it is characterised by common symptoms such as:

  • Irregular menstruation (delayed or more frequent menstrual periods)
  • Changes in period flow (lightening of periods or heavy bleeding)
  • Increase in pre-menstrual symptoms (breast tenderness and swelling, bloating, water retention, headaches, mood swings, hot flushes and sleeping difficulties)
  • Tiredness
  • Poor concentration and memory loss
  • Weight gain around the middle and hips
  • Decline in libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Night sweats

These symptoms may last for several months or years until menopause is completely over. Menopause also increases the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease or osteoporosis, due to the loss of protective effects by female hormones, which are significantly reduced during menopause.

Managing Menopause

For most menopausal women, management methods are targeted at the symptoms and preventing post-menopausal conditions. Menopause should not be altered as it is a natural and healthy condition for most women. Approaches to manage menopause may include:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Non-prescription medication like phyto-oestrogens which are naturally found in certain plants, fruits and herbs
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Specific treatments for symptoms linked to menopause (vaginal rejuvenation, anti-depressants)
  • Preventive medication or supplements for chronic post-menopausal conditions such as osteoporosis

These interventions help improve function and delay symptoms of ageing such as tiredness, sleep disorders, weight gain, memory loss and reduced exercise tolerance.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions (Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Urinary Incontinence)

Pelvic floor disorders affect up to 25% of women aged 30 – 70 globally and are caused by weakened pelvic muscles or tears in the connective tissues holding the pelvic organs (bladder, bowels and reproductive organs) in place. A pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the muscles are unable to hold the organs in place and they drop downwards into the vagina.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is commonly caused by strain during previous childbirths, ageing or increase in abdominal pressure.

Depending on the severity, pelvic floor dysfunction can present a variety of symptoms:

  • Urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control or urine leakage when coughing, sneezing or exerting yourself)
  • Bulge or sensation of heaviness in the vaginal area
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower back pain

Treatments for pelvic floor dysfunction and uterine prolapse include lifestyle measures such as exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles, inserting a pessary to support the prolapsed tissue, or removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) for severe prolapse cases.

Vaginal Laxity and Dryness

Women may experience some vaginal changes after childbirth, such as dryness and laxity (or when you feel that the vagina is “loose”). This may be due to strain on the muscles during a vaginal delivery. Women who have had a difficult delivery or multiple deliveries are more susceptible to such changes in their vagina.

Some of the consequences of vaginal laxity and dryness include vulvar irritation and itchiness, vaginal soreness, pain during and after sex, urinary incontinence, and recurrent urinary infections. These symptoms are often ignored by women who may be embarrassed to seek help, and can affect one’s self-confidence, intimate relationships and quality of life. However, there is now a non-invasive way of improving vaginal laxity and dryness, as well as mild urinary incontinence caused by vaginal laxity – a process known as Vaginal Laser Rejuvenation.

Vaginal Rejuvenation – What is it?

Vaginal rejuvenation is a non-invasive laser treatment with no downtime that uses laser and radio frequency waves to stimulate the formation of collagen and restore connective tissue in the vagina, thereby treating the symptoms arising from vaginal dysfunction.

This increases elasticity, improves vaginal lubrication and increased sensation, thereby improving sexual satisfaction and reducing occurrence of urinary incontinence.

Woman Wellness Screenings

In addition to regular overall health screenings, it is important for women to take preventive steps and regularly screen for women’s cancers to ensure they are well-informed and protected.

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Incorporated in 2005, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) is a healthcare organisation with a network of private specialist providers across four established pillars - Aesthetics, Diagnostic Imaging & Screening, Oncology and Women's and Children's Health. Within Singapore, SMG has more than 40 clinics strategically located in central Singapore and heartland estates. Beyond Singapore, SMG also has an established presence in Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia. Learn about our privacy policy here.

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