Menopause marks the stage in every woman’s life where her reproductive years end. Unfortunately, the transition through menopause can be accompanied by some uncomfortable symptoms. Dr Tshimanga will guide you through this time to make your transition as seamless as possible.

On average, menopause usually starts at the age of 50 but can come as early as your 40s.

There are three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.

Signs that you are entering menopause

Changes in hormones can cause uncomfortable symptoms, and the intensity of symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can last for up to 10 years.

  • Hot flashes, a sudden feeling of warmth that spreads over your body, face and neck.
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness that causes discomfort during sex
  • Frequent urination
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Emotional distress- irritability, mood swings or depression
  • Dry skin, dry eyes or dry mouth
  • Breast tenderness
  • More intense premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Irregular periods

Complications that can occur during menopause

After menopause, you are more at risk of developing certain conditions, such as:

Heart disease

Complex hormone changes increase your likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine can help negate these risks.


Menopause can cause bone density to weaken, leading to the risk of fractures. To avoid osteoporosis, it’s important to have a healthy diet, take supplements if necessary and preferably do resistance-based exercise.

Urinary incontinence

Due to the loss of elasticity in the vagina and urethra, you may experience sudden urges to urinate. This can sometimes be accompanied by involuntary urinating. Hormone therapy, topical creams and kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor can relieve symptoms of urinary incontinence.

Sexual dysfunction

Due to the loss of elasticity and decreased moisture protection, you may experience vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness can lead to uncomfortable, painful intercourse and losing libido. Water-based lubricants and creams can relieve dryness, and topical estrogen cream can also alleviate symptoms.

Weight gain

The metabolism naturally slows during the menopause transition, causing many women to gain weight during this period. Eating a healthy diet, exercising and limiting alcohol is vital for maintaining a healthy weight.

Treatment options for menopause

As menopause is a natural stage of life, it may not require treatment in all cases. However, if symptoms are disrupting your life or affecting your quality of life, then there are some ways to manage the symptoms.

If you suspect you are going through menopause, Dr Tshimanga can confirm whether your symptoms are caused by menopause and suggest a treatment plan for you.

Menopause symptoms are commonly treated with hormone therapy, which can be used to boost the hormones you lack during menopause to alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms. Other treatment options include antidepressants such as an SSRI, which has been shown effective treatment for hot flashes. There are also over-the-counter remedies you can take and lifestyle changes you can make to ease the symptoms.