The experience of menopausal symptoms for women varies widely


 Menopause is a natural phenomenon which occurs in all women when their finite number of eggs becomes depleted and their monthly flow ceases or pauses for at least 12 months. 


The eggs/ovaries are responsible for the production of estrogen and progesterone hormones and as the eggs declined the levels of these hormones fall, causing the monthly flow to first become erratic and eventually stop. Consequently, most menopausal complaints or symptoms are as a result of the decline of these two hormones on the woman’s body physically and mentally.

95 percent of women become menopausal between the ages of 45 to 55 years and factors which can affect the age at which women have their final period includes;

  • Age at first menses
  • Number of children
  • Previous use of oral contraceptives
  • BMI- Weight
  • Ethnicity and
  • Family history/Genetics

The experience of menopausal symptoms for women varies widely; some symptoms begin while still menstruating and others not until a year or more after their last period. Symptoms of the menopause last far longer than most women anticipate; for example, night sweats and hot flushes, persist in more than half of women for more than seven years.


Common menopausal symptoms

1.   Menstrual irregularities: The typical presentation of some women is to see the GP to rule out they are pregnant. Irregularities to the menstrual cycle may last for up to four years and the cycle may lengthen or shorten with a slight increase in the amount of menstrual blood. For few, the flow stops abruptly.

2.   Hot flushes and sweats: The face, head, neck and chest and body suddenly becomes hot. Some describe this as internal heat, and the symptoms may last for several minutes and feel like the chill of a fever. Many women think they are coming down with Malaria or Typhoid.

 3.  Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM): Steroid hormones decreases can lead to changes in certain areas of her body, like the vagina, vulva, and bladder. For example, estrogen helps keep the vagina moist and flexible. But when estrogen levels decline, the vagina can become dry and tight.

GSM is thought to affect about half of postmenopausal women. Symptoms include:

• Dryness, burning sensations, and irritation in the genital area

• Poor vaginal lubrication during sex, discomfort or pain with intercourse, and impaired sexual function

• An urgent need to urinate, painful urination, or recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)

GSM is chronic and progressive. It does not get better over time. However, symptoms can be managed with treatment.


4. Sleep disturbance: The new and different feeling of menopause adds to other psychosocial factors like dissatisfaction, depression, irritability and this affects sleeping patterns and concentration.

5. Mood changes: Anxiety, nervousness, irritability, memory loss and difficulty concentrating.

6. Low back pain with generalized joint aches: Many women complain of this. Estrogen helps to maintain the strength of bones and the decline allows the bones to become more brittle.

Health Screens For menopausal women

Once a woman is 45, she must become aware of other diseases that can mimic menopausal symptoms as well as understand the diseases she’s also at risk of contracting.

  • Thyroid Function Tests – can help differentiate thyroid disease symptoms from menopausal symptoms.
  • Blood glucose (FBG and HbA1c)- as diabetes, especially associated with PCOS can cause similar symptoms, it is important to screen for type two diabetes as the age of onset begins from 30.
  • Blood cholesterol and triglycerides – Estrogen interestingly reduces the risk of hypertension in women. Cardiovascular risk factors such as being overweight or having a sedentary lifestyle must, therefore, be screened immediately a woman enters menopause.
  • Cervical screening (Pap smear) and mammograms
  • A pelvic scan – may be considered for those women with atypical symptoms.
  • Other screenings are selected by the physician based on the complaints. They may include renal function test with serum electrolytes including calcium, liver function tests, a Xray/MRI of the lower back or joints. 
  • Book to have a complete health screen in Lagos at                      


Healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle; Stopping smoking, losing weight and limiting alcohol are beneficial. Also, regular aerobic exercise and adequate calcium intake (around 700 mg/day) help.


HRT is the most effective treatment to relieve the symptoms caused by the menopause completely. In addition to relieving hot flashes, it also helps;

Mood lability/depression – HRT, alone or in combination with an antidepressant

Joint aches and pains

Genitourinary symptoms of menopause (GSM) – The epithelial linings of the vagina and urethra are very sensitive to estrogen, and estrogen deficiency leads to thinning of the vaginal epithelium.

Osteoporosis – Bisphosphonates are best for this, however, in the occasional patient with persistent menopausal symptoms who cannot tolerate first and second-line therapies for osteoporosis, estrogen may be a reasonable option.

Register and consult with a GP online now, or book a gynecologist or urologist to find out more at

Psychological symptoms

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can also be beneficial.

Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM)

Because genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) refers to a number of different symptoms, treatment depends on a woman’s individual situation.

Pain during sex due to vaginal dryness can be alleviated with lubricants, moisturizers, or low-dose vaginal estrogen treatment. Or, if she has urinary problems, she might try pelvic floor physical therapy.

Women who suspect they’re having GSM-related should speak to their doctor. Many women don’t realize that treatments are available, but some symptoms can be easily managed.

Alternatives to HRT

Herbal or complementary treatments

  1. Phyto-oestrogens are naturally occurring compounds found in plant sources, that are structurally related to estradiol. Foods such as soybeans, as well as nuts, wholegrain cereals and, igbo-ora yam, are the foods most rich in phytoestrogens.
  2. Sex! Regular intercourse prior to the onset of symptoms may contribute a great deal to the alleviation of menopausal symptoms. Although no studies have been conducted to confirm this, several studies show that intravaginal steroids administration was able to rapidly and efficiently achieve correction of all the signs and symptoms of vaginal atrophy, improve sexual function and caused no or minimal changes in serum sex steroid levels, guess what? All these steroids are abundant in the male semen!

Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer has been attributed to infection with HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS (HPV). HPV infection is usually transmitted sexually.

… her, she was doing this to help her only child whom she gave birth to while in the penultimate year of secondary school.  Regrettably, she said, ‘ i had aborted a couple of pregnancies and had sex with several men while in secondary school and by then i was seventeen because i had to fend for myself as an orphan who had no one to help me, but this child just could not be aborted’.     … that is the result the doctor said. She has stage III cervical cancer at age forty-five…


Womanhood is a world on its own and it takes patience, knowledge, and pity sometimes for one to dabble into such world. They have their own peculiarities in every sphere of life. In the medical world, as cancer remains one monster to deal with, peculiar to women are some cancers like breast, cervical cancer. In this article, I would focus on cervical cancer which from my own little experience most women don’t know about until they come down with it.

Cervical Cancer

The cervix ( pronounced: saviks) is the neck or narrow portion of the uterus(womb) where it joins with the vagina. Cancer is simply when cells of a particular tissue undergo uncontrolled (and often rapid) growth. Thus cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix.

Cervical cancer is the second commonest malignancy after cancer of the breast in women in developing countries ( Nigeria inclusive) and it remains the leading cause of death in these countries but the third commonest cancer in women in the world. Peak age when women present in Nigeria is 45 to 55 years. However, it is diagnosed in any woman of reproductive age group.


The causes have been attributed to

  • Genital infection with human papilloma virus
  • Sex at a young age
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Promiscus male partners
  • One who had or has a sexually transmitted infections. It is important to point out that HIV infection is associated with a very high increase in risk of cervical cancer.
  • Also, a patient with cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia can progress to cervical cancer

What makes the Doctor think A patient has it

*Though, there are some that may not have any symptom but will come to the hospital with abnormal Papanicolaou (Pap smear) result. This is in those that do screening

* abnormal bleeding from the vagina, majorly after sex

* bleeding from the vagina between menstrual period or after menopause

*offensive vaginal discharge which is characteristic

*pain on pelvic side

For those women that present late, they may have in addition

  • Backache
  • Leg pain/ swelling
  • Blood in the urine or bloody urine

Or the doctor investigates by looking at the cervix called colposcopy

How does the Gynaecologist treat

The treatment modality depends on the stage of cancer the patient presents with.

  • It may be surgery if it is at the early stage or
  • The use of radiation and chemotherapy for the more advanced cases
  • Or the use of chemotherapy or radiation for palliation for cases that have developed other things from it


There is a similar 5-year survival rates for radiotherapy or surgery for someone with the cancer. This survival also depends on the stage of the cancer. If stage I there is 70-80% survival rate but stage IV has 18% survival rate.

What is in this for YOU! 

The major cause of this disease has been attributed to infection with HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS (HPV). HPV infection is usually transmitted sexually. Condom use may not prevent the transmission. The HPV 16 and 18 are the major serotypes of the cause. Thus, a lady or woman who has been introduced to sex life should get screened two years into sex life and every 3-5 years. In essence, those who should have PAP SMEAR done are

  • Ladies who have started having sex
  • Or above age 21

The American Cancer Society, American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist recommend that

  • 21-29 years should have pap smear alone every 3 years
  • 30- 65 years pap smear every 3 years or HPV and cytology testing every 5 years
  • Greater than 65 years no screening recommended
  • Less than 25 no screening recommended because women aged 21-24 are at low risk for invasive cervical cancer but they are at high risk for HPV exposure and associated lesions.

Any Vaccine.

The joy here is that, one could be vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (which is not only for girls but also available for boys) but for girls majorly. The vaccine is useful in those who have not had the disease and no usefulness in one who already had it. The two HPV vaccines approved in the United States of America are Gardasil and Cervarix.


THE GIST HERE is, please go and get PAP SMEAR done today and tell others about it. It is for your future, in other to live a meaningful life insha Allaah. So please present YOURSELF at any Government health care facility for details.

…. her sex partners were no longer patronizing her since they got to know about her disease as she even was no longer interested in that. She was no more lively, seems no hope for her. Her Chemotherapy drug has made her loose her hair, no beauty to display any longer. The radiotherapy also played it own part on the pelvis. At last, she gave up the ghost with a repentant soul. Don’t ask me if God would accept such repentance.  I leave YOU TO JUDGE…. this woman, this cervical cancer.

I.O Dada (Haniif ibn Toyin)