Most women are aware of the well-known symptoms of the menopause such as hot flushes, sore breasts, dryness of the vagina, bladder problems and mood changes.
Research in Vienna, Austria, has revealed a number of other symptoms that are more frequent at this stage in a woman's life. These include dry eyes — due to reduced tear production — and joint pains.
The researchers studied more than 3000 women who had experienced the menopause. Nearly half had eye problems and 2 out of 3 had joint pains. These problems had begun at the time of the menopause.
Problems in the smaller joints start soon after menopause. Larger joints, such as hips, shoulders and knees, are affected later, at about the age of 60.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help all these problems, according to the research workers. After 3 months of HRT, tear production returned to normal. Women using HRT were also 38 per cent less likely to develop osteoarthritis of their hips, when compared to those not using female hormones.
Last Reviewed: 25 February 2003