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Addressing the double impact of fibromyalgia and menopause

Fibromyalgia affects roughly two per cent of the UK population and the onset of symptoms can happen at any age



A webinar from Integro Clinics, Cannabis Health and Cannabis Patient Advocacy Support Services (CPASS), will discuss how medical cannabis can help to reduce the symptoms of both menopause and fibromyalgia simultaneously.

Menopause is a natural part of the female ageing process, when a woman stops having periods, her hormones change, and she gets ready to enter the next, non-reproductive stage of her life cycle.

Both perimenopause, the pre-curser to menopause, and menopause usually happen between the ages of 40 to 55 years old but can vary from woman to woman, with the average age of menopause being 51.

Menopause: An event image advertising a panel discussion around women's cannabis and menopause

The symptoms of menopause can include hot flushes (usually in the face and neck), night sweats, joint pain, muscle pain, insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, depression, brain fog, loss of libido, weight gain, heavy bleeding, changes to hair and skin quality and vaginal dryness. Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms and individuals are unique in their response to their own specific change.

Reading the list above, many female fibromyalgia patients will recognise a cross over with the symptoms they are already suffering that can become even more prominent at this time in their life.

For example, fibromyalgia patients report insomnia, joint and muscle pain as well as anxiety and depression amongst their symptoms. The stress caused by trying to cope with fibromyalgia and menopause simultaneously can become overwhelming, but there is help available including talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy as well as cannabis medicines from specialist prescribers and hormone replacement therapy.

Fibromyalgia and menopause

In the UK, fibromyalgia affects roughly 2 per cent of the population and the onset of symptoms can happen at any age, but mainly between the age of 20 and 60 years old. The condition affects more women than it does men in a ratio of around 9:1. So, the cross-over of patients who fall into both categories of fibromyalgia and menopause is a group that needs easily accessible information and readily available help.

Specialist cannabis nurse at Integro Clinics, Sophie Hayes, talks about how and why cannabis medicines can address both fibromyalgia and menopause symptoms:

“At our clinic, we care for many patients with fibromyalgia. Cannabis medicines appear to be particularly effective in the management of widespread pain, fatigue and sleep. The majority of our fibromyalgia patients are female, with many experiencing symptoms of menopause, which can exacerbate their fibromyalgia symptoms, particularly sleep and mood stabilisation. At the clinic, we plan our care with the whole person in mind, whatever they may be going through, and many of these patients have benefitted through the relief they have received from taking cannabis medicines.”

The insomnia that can accompany menopause and fibromyalgia, can have an overwhelmingly negative effect upon the sufferer. By using cannabis medicines to regulate sleep, a tremendous difference can be made to the patient’s quality of life. Once a decent night’s sleep is achieved, it can allow the patient to engage in light exercise, which may lead to a reduction in anxiety and brain fog, hopefully culminating in a general rise in mood.

Insomnia and menopause

Lara, who is currently going through menopause had found her symptoms so debilitating that she had to give up work and her day-to-day life had become increasingly unmanageable.

“When I discovered medical cannabis, it completely changed my life. My symptoms were causing me so much anxiety and pain that I could never achieve a decent night’s sleep, I was at the end of my tether, but taking medical cannabis meant I could finally sleep and get some vital rest. The fact that I was well-rested, meant that I could start light exercise again, which would have been unthinkable, even a year ago. I feel so much better in myself now and able to cope with things. I am starting to enjoy my life again.”

Menopause webinar

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms we have discussed from menopause, we invite you to attend a webinar taking place on 30 November, which will break down the stigma that women face when it comes to menopause and medical cannabis.

Dr Sally Ghazaleh, a female health expert at Integro Clinics who specialises in treating fibromyalgia and female pain, will be a speaker and will be joined at the event by Dr Mayur Bodani, Neuropsychiatrist and Specialist sexual health nurse, Sarah Higgins.

If you have any specific questions related to fibromyalgia and menopause, please contact us directly at Integro Clinics where we can arrange for you to speak to nurse Sophie or pass on your enquiry to one of our female health experts.

Gone are the days where women are just supposed to put up and get on with it – there are new medicines out there such as medical cannabis, that can address and help both fibromyalgia and menopause symptoms.

To register for a free ticket for the webinar, please click here

If you would like further information or to speak to nurse Sophie, or any of the team at Integro please contact:

Twitter: @clinicsintegro

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