Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Insomnia and the menopause

The menopause affects all women and occurs, on average, at the age of 52 years in the western world. Despite around half the population being affected, there is still so much to learn, so much uncertainty and so much confusion around this inevitable phase of a women's life.  Most people associate the menopause with flushes and sweats, but are unaware of the multitude of symptoms that can occur, several of which will be discussed in future blogs. One of the most distressing symptoms is sleep disturbance, or insomnia. Different patterns of sleep disturbance can occur: difficulty getting to sleep, difficulty staying asleep, and early morning wakening, all of which can have a devastating affect on coping, mood, attention and general functioning.
Simple measures such as reducing caffeine intake, taking a hot bath in the evening and generally having time to relax can help, but estrogen replacement in the form of Hormone Replacement Therapy will often cure the problem. Despite much publicity around risks of HRT, when used appropriately in the early menopausal years, the benefits will outweigh the risks for most women.
For more information, advice, downloadable leaflets, podcasts, video clips and a very active online support group, visit the award winning, independant clinician-led website