It's a well-known fact that women improve with age. Well, modern medicine is improving too. Here are some of the latest medical procedures designed to keep you at your fab best from aged 40 and beyond …
# 1. DEXA Scans (DXA) for bone density
DEXA scans are a safe and painless type of x-ray that measures bone mass. As we age our bones can lose density. This can be caused by oestrogen levels dropping post-menopause, lack of calcium in the diet, or from a lack of weight-bearing exercise – which helps build bone density. Osteoporosis becomes a greater factor as time goes on, and it can cause bones to become fragile without us knowing. Patients can have no obvious symptoms and be unaware of the condition until they suffer a bone fracture.
A DEXA scan can reveal if you are at risk of fracturing a bone. The scan results can tell you if further management is necessary, helping you to avoid injury and bone thinning developing into full-blown osteoporosis. With the right treatment and management, osteoporosis is not inevitable.
# 2. NovaSure for heavy periods
This is a one-time, five-minute procedure designed to reduce menstrual flow. It is recommended for pre-menopausal women with heavy periods who have completed their families or do not wish to have children. The technical name for the procedure is endometrial ablation. It was a process that women previously would have had done under general anaesthetic but now can be done under a local anaesthetic by an experienced consultant gynaecologist. The process treats the endometrium, which is the mucous membrane that lines the inside of the womb – the area that thickens and then sheds as part of the menstrual cycle.
If your doctor thinks you’re suitable for this treatment you may find it gives you a new sense of freedom and the ability to get on better with work and daily activities. It may help to increase your enjoyment of social activities and sport as it puts an end to heavy menstrual bleeding. Patients also report improved energy levels, better moods, and more self-confidence.
# 3. MyoSure for fibroids
MyoSure is similar, not only in name, to NovaSure. It is also designed to treat heavy periods and removes intrauterine tissue. The procedure takes longer, up to 30 minutes. It also involves a more precise view of the of the endometrium which enables the removal of fibroids and polyps that can be the direct cause of increased, long-lasting menstrual bleeding. It is suitable for women who may still wish to have children.
Find a clinic with doctors who are experienced in ambulatory or office gynaecology.
# 4. MonaLisa Touch Laser Treatment
The MonaLisa Touch is a laser treatment that is specifically designed to help vaginal dryness in post-menopausal women, including those who have suffered cancer . Although it’s sometimes referred to as ‘vaginal rejuvenation’, gynaecologists are careful to point out this is a treatment that aims to make you feel better and restore function to the vagina rather than something that is done for aesthetic reasons. It is used to treat symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy caused by both natural menopause, and younger women who have suffered cancer and had a surgical menopause, which means they are unable to use hormone treatments. Doctors say there is good evidence it can help with a whole list of complaints such as itching, dryness, pain during intercourse, laxity and incontinence.
The MonaLisa Touch a minimally invasive treatment, gently acting on the tissue of the vaginal mucosa and stimulating the production of collagen. The pay-off is that this laser treatment will improve and restore the treated tissue, helping it function naturally as it did pre-menopause.
# 5. The Beauty Test
The Beauty Test is the use of simple medical tests to inform us how to improve our appearance. With the right analysis, it is possible to determine the basic deficiencies in your body that are holding you back from being your beautiful best. Blood testing plays a vital role in healthcare, and it can also show you what you can do to improve the healthy appearance of your skin and hair, as well as increasing your sense of vitality. These tests may show you that a bit of vitamin D or zinc, for example, is part of the strategy you require to help you look and feel younger.
# 6. PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy
AKA ‘The Vampire Face Lift’, PRP Therapy uses your own blood to rejuvenate the skin. Available outside of Transylvania, this treatment is the stuff more of dreams rather than nightmares. PRP is already used as a treatment for sports injuries, but increasingly doctors are using it to harness the body's own natural healing power to rejuvenate skin.
A small amount of blood is taken from your arm and spun in a centrifuge. This process isolates only the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) elements of the blood – the part richest in healing potential. This plasma stimulates cell growth and promotes the growth of collagen.
It can then be injected into any area where rejuvenation is required, not just the face. Hands, chest, neck and face can also be treated. The effect is more super-natural than supernatural – no tight face plastic surgery giveaways, just expect lots of comments like, ‘Wow! You look well!”
#7. HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)
You might have heard of HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy. You might also have heard some scare stories about it. However, doctors are now saying the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks for most women. Post-menopause, when the body starts to produce less of its own hormones, it may suit some women to get a little oestrogen/progesterone boost in the form of pills, injections, or skin patches.
HRT improves the texture of the skin by boosting collagen and maintaining its elasticity and thickness. The same collagen keeps nails from becoming brittle and ensures that bones are healthy and dense, keeping osteoporosis at bay.
Staving off hot flushes and sweats is a welcome factor in maintaining your appearance. Hormones also have a positive influence on vaginal dryness and other causes of painful intercourse and, some say, increase libido. Find a gynaecologist who you trust who is experienced in dealing with menopausal issues.
The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods ceaseFull medical glossary