The 7 health treatments you need to know about

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!”

The procedure can be done by a consultant dermatologist or a consultant plastic surgeon. Just make sure you book into a reputable clinic.

#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.

A medication that reduces sensation. Full medical glossary
Withering or weakening of a body tissue due to disease or disuse. Full medical glossary
A fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. Full medical glossary
An element that forms the structure of bones and teeth and is essential to many of the body's functions. Full medical glossary
Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
An abbreviation for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Full medical glossary
Relating to the endometrium. Full medical glossary
The layer of tissue lining the uterus. Full medical glossary
A benign tumour, most often in the uterus. Full medical glossary
Benign tumours, most often in the uterus. Full medical glossary
A viral infection affecting the respiratory system. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
Any agent that reduces or abolishes sensation, affecting the whole body. Full medical glossary
A substance produced by a gland in one part of the body and carried by the blood to the organs or tissues where it has an effect. Full medical glossary
Abbreviation for hormone replacement therapy, the administration of female hormones in cases where they are not sufficiently produced by the body. Full medical glossary
The involuntary passage of urine or faeces. Full medical glossary
inside the uterus Full medical glossary
How relaxed or slack a body part is. Full medical glossary
Sexual drive. Full medical glossary
Relating to the menopause, the time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle. Full medical glossary

The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods cease

Full medical glossary
The monthly sequence by which a woman’s body prepares for potential fertilisation of an egg released from the ovaries, involving thickening of the uterus lining and then shedding of the lining when pregnancy does not occur. Full medical glossary
Any test or technique that does not involve penetration of the skin. The term 'non-invasive' may also describe tumours that do not invade surrounding tissues. Full medical glossary
A hormone involved in female sexual development, produced by the ovaries. Full medical glossary
A condition resulting in brittle bones due to loss of bony tissue. Full medical glossary
Fluid in which the blood cells are suspended. Full medical glossary
Structure in the blood that helps the blood to clot. Full medical glossary
A growth on the surface of a mucous membrane (a surface that secretes mucus, lining any body cavity that opens to the outside of the body). Full medical glossary
Growths on the surface of a mucous membrane (a surface that secretes mucous), lining any body cavity that opens to the outside of the body. Full medical glossary
After the menopause - technically only once a woman has had no menstrual period for one year. Full medical glossary
A group of cells with a similar structure and a specialised function. Full medical glossary
The muscula passage, forming part of the femal reproductive system, between the cervix and the external genitalia. Full medical glossary
Essential substances that cannot be produced by the body and so must be acquired from the diet. Full medical glossary
The uterus. Full medical glossary