Menopause could potentially be one of the most stressful stages in a woman’s life if not managed correctly.
It is the time that marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles and can happen when a woman is in her 40s or 50s.
Menopause is commonly marked by an onset of hot flushes and night sweats.
To help ease the transition, Seha’s Ambulatory Healthcare Services has opened a dedicated menopause clinic at Al Zafaranah diagnostic and screening centre.
Seha said the clinic gives women the privacy needed to go through a period of their adult life that for some can be distressing.
“We wanted to offer standardised and exceptional, high-quality care to women in Abu Dhabi,” said Dr Alia Al Dhaheri, acting chairwoman of AHS’s obstetrics and gynaecology department and consultant family physician.
The clinic offers women multidisciplinary care with a range of specialities and doctors under one roof.
Since opening earlier this year, they have treated more than 50 women.
“This would benefit patients as they receive a comprehensive range of care in one destination rather than having scattered and fragmented care at several clinics,” said Dr Deepti Kansal, obstetrics and gynaecology specialist.
“Previously the patient would visit a physician for a medical condition but would also have hot flashes for example. This might not be fully addressed and the patient may continue to live with it.”
The clinic also has a psychologist and a psychiatrist on board to support women experiencing the mental health challenges of menopause, such as anxiety and depression.
They also offer hormone replacement therapy to help balance the disruption of hormones caused by menopause.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that menopause means that you are getting old, that it is end of the fertility and the beginning of ageing,” Dr Al Dhaheri said.
"I see menopause as a natural phase of a woman’s life which means that she has become more mature and does not mean that she has aged.
"We are here to listen to her concerns and help improve her quality of life and ease their journey."
For one Emirati mother of three, the clinic changed her life.
The 45-year-old has perimenopause, which means her body is making the natural transition to menopause. Her cycle started becoming disrupted a few years ago.
“I don’t know how to describe it but you don’t feel feminine anymore and you lose all emotions. I felt hard emotionally,” she told The National.
The hot flushes, she said, were confusing.
“I hated myself and found no pleasure in anything. I was anxious and fed up and angry at times," she said.
"It is a whole range of negative emotions that I find hard to describe. It felt like there was no joy in living and I was just going through the motions.”
She was prescribed hormone replacement therapy at the clinic.
“That helped balance my hormones and I did all my checks and tests there and for the first time I feel like a woman again," she said.
"The clinic literally changed my life. I feel young, energetic and like a woman again.”