Eileen answers your questions on the risk of pregnancy, prolonged periods and dry eyes


Eileen Durward
@EileenDurward


18 April 2016

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I’ve got some questions from some of our viewers. These are all common ones that we get asked time and time again.

Q1: Can I get pregnant in the menopause?

The first one is from Jane and she’s 45, and she’s asking, “Can I get pregnant in the menopause?” Now the answer is yes you can.

So many women think that the minute their period stops, that’s them safe from pregnancy and this is just not the case. The general consensus is that you should be at least a whole year without a period before you’re safe from pregnancy. But what we’ve actually found during the last three years that we’ve being doing the menopause, is that quite a large number of women will go for a year or more without a period and then suddenly get one back again, and then literally you’ve got to start counting all over again. So, our own view is that you need to have at least two years without a period before you’re considered safe from pregnancy. Up until then it is really a good idea just to continue with some form of contraception.

Now, one of the things I will say is that if you’re under 50, pregnancy during the menopause, although is not very common, it can happen and there are what’s called those menopause babies. If you’re over 50, the likelihood of getting pregnant at all is very, very slim, there’s very few births after 50 at that particular point. One of the main problems with menopause symptoms is that they can sometimes seem identical to pregnancy. So in the menopause, your periods stop, you can get breast tenderness, you can get mood swings, you can get food cravings, you can get very, very weepy and these are all symptoms of pregnancy as well. And we do get quite a lot of women who in a real panic because they think they’ve actually ended up getting pregnant when in fact they have actually just started the menopause. In any situation, if you are worried at all, the best thing to do is just go and get a pregnancy test. Most of the big supermarkets will actually carry them or you can go and get this checked out with your doctor. So hope that’s made that’s made that a little bit clearer.

Q2: My periods have started to get a lot longer and a lot closer together and sometimes I’m actually flooding. Is this normal?

Now the second question is from Mariana and she’s 49, and she is saying, “My periods have started to get a lot longer and a lot closer together and sometimes I’m actually flooding. Is this normal?” Now, this scenario as you approach the menopause with your periods getting closer together or getting longer or getting heavier is really common and normally it’s nothing to worry about. It’s just the way that your hormonal balance is starting to change. And at this point, your hormone progesterone will actually be falling faster than your oestrogen, so your oestrogen just keeps triggering a menstruation and a bleed.

However, this is not good for you. Prolonged periods, heavy periods, will very, very quickly cause you to lose iron. And low iron or anemia can cause symptoms such as anxiety, low mood, it can cause irritability, sleep problems, joint pain, fatigue, it can dry your hair and your nails. So these actually look like menopause symptoms on their own. So the last thing you want to do is actually end up with anemia.

So in this situation, although we say in reality there is usually nothing to worry about, it’s very important to get this sorted by your doctor. Over-the-counter herbs, if the bleeding is this serious, are not going to be strong enough to help, so you do need to seek some kind of professional advice. What will normally happen is that the doctor can actually prescribe you a non-hormonal medication to stop the bleeding. Now in most cases that will work.

However, if it doesn’t, you must go straight back to the doctor, you mustn’t be sitting there bleeding profusely because this really, really is an awful situation to be in. Some doctors will not take it particularly seriously and they’ll say, “Oh go away and wait and see what happens.” But please, don’t let this happen. You need to be treated very quickly for this.

Occasionally, as you approach the menopause, your hormonal balance, if you like, can actually cause something called fibroids and these can actually cause a lot of heavy bleeding. So anything like this, if it doesn’t get sorted, does need to be investigated. So take care with that one please.

Q3:My eyes have started to get very dry and sore. Is this the menopause?

And the third question is from Livia and she’s 51, and she saying, “My eyes have started to get very dry and sore. Is this the menopause?” Yes. This is actually quite a common question.

Oestrogen

We know that falling oestrogen can affect the mucous membranes in the body and vaginal dryness is very very common, but it can also affect the eyes and the mouth as well. Low oestrogen can also affect your eyesight too. So if you feel that your eyes are getting really sore, if they’re getting irritated, if you find that you’re having to peer when you’re reading a book, it is really important to go and see your optician just to get your eyes tested and tell them you think you’re going into the menopause because that will actually be taken into account. If you tend to have a dry mouth as well, there is a condition called Sjögren’s syndrome, which can appear at any time. But if you get both the dry mouth and the dry eyes, then I would just get this checked out with your doctor just to make sure nothing else is actually going on.

There’s a couple of products that you can take for this. We do a lovely natural eye drop called A.Vogel’s Eye Drops, which can be used, which can help irritated, dry and sore eyes. There is also sea buckthorn oil, which I have recommended on numerous occasions for dryness of any kind in the menopause. So that’s certainly worth trying if you’re getting this particular situation.

Hayfever

Now, the other thing that it could possibly be, we’re into spring now and the hayfever season has just started. And what we’ve discovered is that a lot of menopausal women are getting hayfever for the first time. And this can be due to a number of factors such as low immune function, it could be due to stress, it can be just due to the fact that because your eyes are a little bit dry that they’re actually being affected a little bit more by the atmosphere and pollution and pollen.

So for this, you could actually look at some of the hayfever remedies. We do Pollinosan tablets and Pollinosan nasal spray and we do a liquid tincture as well, and these are all for hayfever. You could also look at taking a natural vitamin C, because remember itchiness can come in a lot and some women end up getting really itchy skin, which again is another symptom of hayfever as well.

Until next week...

So I hope that’s answered your questions ladies and I will look forward to seeing you next week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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Did you know?

You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

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