Dr Jessherin Sidhu Guides Women Through Menopause and Anti-Ageing Solutions
With increased life expectancy and many women in developed countries living up to the age of 90, we face menopause about mid-way through our lifetimes. The dramatic changes in our physical beings, as well as mental state, can be daunting, leaving many women worried and fearful.
However, changes are inevitable and we can be better prepared to deal with menopausal issues and concerns if we have the knowledge and tools. Trying to find solutions for ourselves led us to Dr Jessherin Sidhu who runs Insync Medical, a GP+ clinic that focuses on sexual wellness and women’s health.
There is a demand from women to feel more youthful not just through appearance but also through inner feelings. Dr Jessherin Sidhu helps us answer some of the most burning questions relating to menopause and the various anti-ageing solutions.
Vanilla Luxury: We have all heard about Menopause, but what does it really mean for women?
Dr Jessherin Sidhu: Menopause generally means (but is not limited to) women facing an unoptimised situation where hormone levels are diminished, appearance has aged, energy levels have dipped, unsatisfactory moods and irritability become common, and there is an ageing of genitals resulting in uncomfortable and sometimes even painful sex.
In fact, fatigue, which is a prominent symptom of menopause, is often ignored and simply attributed to ageing. Another medical condition faced during menopause is urinary incontinence where the bladder function is out of our control, leading to urine leakages.
Hot flushes, new facial hair, depression, anxiety, muscle and joint pains are all possible symptoms of menopause.
Vanilla Luxury: Does Menopause make us age quickly?
Dr Jessherin Sidhu: In short, yes, it does. The ageing process is well beyond the symptoms of bodily functions such as that of your vagina. The ageing of women’s genitals is visibly quicker because, during menopause, hydration, suppleness and collagen are taken away from the skin, leaving it feeling dry.
Vanilla Luxury: How can women stay youthful through menopause?
Dr Jessherin Sidhu: This depends on what your symptoms are. I would recommend solutions that require the least amount of effort required to target your specific concerns - treat only what you need to.
If you face 15 or more symptoms of menopause, that usually indicates oestrogen deficiency, that is intrusive enough to require treatment, but this is only a guideline. In such cases, Menopausal Hormone Therapy is one possible consideration. With adequate treatment tailored to you, the Menopausal Symptoms score will reduce to 10 or under, in 3-6 months. Menopause Hormone Therapy is very safe for women aged 40-60 years old.
There are various other treatments that are available in Singapore too such as oral tablets, gels, patches, and creams.
Beyond pharmaceuticals, you can make adjustments to your lifestyle. Eating a rainbow to ensure a wholesome diet; taking health supplements to optimise your body functions; exercising regularly; and practising mindfulness are just some of the things we can instil in our day-to-day lives to make ourselves feel better.
Vanilla Luxury: Help us understand the difference between Natural, Bio-Identical and Synthetic Hormones.
Dr Jessherin Sidhu: I want to start by addressing the misconceptions about hormone therapy. Many women are fearful of hormone therapy due to studies that have linked it to heart troubles, cancer, and other side effects. Current research has debunked these linkages and found hormone therapy to be safe for most women*.
Having said that, now let’s talk about the differences in hormone therapies. First, we need to be mindful that natural hormones are simply those that are derived from natural sources such as plants (soy, tofu, tempeh, etc.). These natural hormones are not equivalent to the hormones produced by our bodies. The idea that natural hormones result in lesser side effects is also not true.
Bio-identical hormones are those which are identical to hormones carried by our bodies. These are produced in pharmacies just for you. In some cases, menopause may have caused depletion and women may just need to top up these hormones to reach optimal levels. Bio-identical hormones also come with side effects so getting the right dosage from your doctor is important.
Synthetic hormones can be more potent and more useful in a shorter period of time. Therefore, the best solution for you depends on the severity of your symptoms, the concerns you raise, and the duration of your hormonal therapy.
In fact, women can switch between the different hormones depending on circumstances as they change. There is no right or wrong option. It is better to discuss the various options with your doctor and understand what each can do to solve your problems before making a decision.
*Please check with your doctor to determine if hormone therapy is suitable for you.
Vanilla Luxury: How do we maintain a healthy and comfortable sexual function through menopause?
Dr Jessherin Sidhu: During menopause, hydration in the vaginal area is reduced and the body’s natural way of producing lubricants is also reduced. So, how do we maintain the health of the genitals? There are various options out there.
Vaginal Rejuvenation can be done to reduce vaginal dryness by boosting hydration and to improve laxity by promoting collagen production. It also helps in maintaining healthy pH of the lining of the vaginal wall to reduce vaginal infections such as vaginitis, which can be recurrent in some women.
Another point to note is that one’s arousal is not linear to natural lubricants. Lubricants definitely make the situation better and so I urge women to seek the assistance of sex tech and toys. Self-touch and masturbation are also encouraged to keep the area seasoned.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) is a non-invasive and mostly painless treatment that can be used to rejuvenate the sensations in both the clitoris and G-Spot by extracting PRP from a woman’s own blood and injecting it directly into the vulva. This treatment also helps with urinary incontinence as well as other women’s health conditions such as vaginal dryness and post-natal rehabilitation.
Most importantly, discuss sex with your partner. If vaginal penetration is uncomfortable then expand your options and get creative such as using sex toys or including other fun activities. Estrogen creams can also help to keep the libido up.
Born and raised in Singapore, this foodie spends her weekends exploring new cafes, restaurants and bars. If she's not at the gym busting out a yoga pose, she probably has her nose in a book or is binge-watching a brilliant whodunnit.
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