Menopause

About Menopause & HIV

Menopause is a natural part of the ageing process, when a persons ovaries (the reproductive organ that produces eggs) stop working, and menstruation ends.  It marks the end of fertility and is accompanied by significant hormonal changes. As much as menopause is a natural part of life, there is a lot that can be done to manage symptoms and maintain your quality of life. Talk to your doctor or health professional about your options.

Menopause is a transition, not a disease.

Menopause usually happens between the ages of 38 and 58, with 51 being the average age for people living in Australia. Periods become less frequent over a few months or years, before they stop altogether. In addition, some medical treatments and procedures can cause menopause. This includes chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat cancer, as well as surgery to remove the ovaries. Menopause begins after you have had your last period, but will begin prior to this with perimenopause. 

Symptoms HIV and Menopause

Symptoms of Menopause

Like all transitions in life, many people have different experiences. Menopause is not a disease but it does have symptoms. It is normal to experience mood changes, hot flushes, night sweats, joint and muscle pain, vaginal dryness, and reduced libido (less interest in sex).

Some people may also experience trouble with concentrating or remembering things, are more prone to accidental urination, or notice an increase in anxiety or fatigue. As part of this ageing process, the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis (bone loss) increases around this time.

These changes are typically gradual, so they are unlikely to come all at once, but usually over a period of months or even years. If you want to make sure that the changes being experienced are part of menopause, or something else, talk to your doctor, as they can do tests to get a good idea on whats going on.

HIV & Menopause

The impact of HIV on menopause is still not fully understood, but research and the body of evidence is growing slowly.

People with ovaries living with HIV are more likely experience menopausal symptoms than others who don’t have HIV, studies have indicated. This includes symptoms such as a decrease in libido, vaginal dryness, hot flushes, and elevated experiences of depression and anxiety.

Read more in depth information about menopause for people living with HIV, and menopause generally, within these excellent resources.

Information for Women

Almost half of the adults living with HIV are women, however in Australia and many other nations, a stereotype exists that HIV only men.

Breastfeeding

If you are living with HIV and you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you may be thinking about breastfeeding your baby.

Having Children

HIV-positive women can become pregnant and have HIV-negative children, as effective HIV treatments often prevent mother to child transmission.

Our trained team is here to help you should you have any questions or need support. You can contact QPP toll free from a Queensland land-line on 1800 636 241 or (07) 3013 5555 nationally, email us at info@qpp.org.au or use our contact us form.

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