Updated: Jun 14
Written by Dr Victor H H Goh, Professor, Science of Ageing, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National University of Singapore.
Menopause and its effects on women’s health have been well studied, especially, in populations in developed countries in the West. It is a very complex biological phenomenon with wide variations in its manifestations and established remedies. However, there is still much to discover about menopause and how to manage the cross-cultural differences in its manifestations in Asian populations.
Menopause is not the only aspect of ageing in women. However, it is a pivotal point in the chronological process of ageing which begins in the twenties. Many of the manifestations following menopause may have started earlier in the ageing process. Therefore, a more efficient way to manage postmenopausal women and empower them with good health is to introduce to them healthy ageing strategies even before the onset of menopause.
There are specific health issues resulting from the cessation of ovarian production of female hormones. It is well documented that these effects of menopause vary widely from one individual to another. Our recent studies have shown that the onset of menopause tends to aggravate the risk of metabolic syndrome and accentuate the already bad bone status in women. Depending on whether the women are on and on what type of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), these added effects of menopause on ageing might be moderated or accentuated.
It is noteworthy that some women in our studies were not affected by many of the common age-related illnesses. They remain very healthy and vital into their golden years. Such observations suggest that the ill effects of ageing are not inevitable and can be avoided or moderated by adopting the appropriate lifestyle habits.
Welcome to our series of articles on ageing! Stay tuned for the next article focusing on Golden Years Ahead: A Comprehensive Healthy Ageing Program. For a more detailed discourse on how Singaporeans are ageing and what measures can help slow down the rate of ageing, refer to the book “Healthy Ageing – For Feeling Good and Looking Good” by Dr Victor H H Goh.