Women’s Health at Aspen Europe
At Aspen we believe that good health care is about making high quality, effective and affordable medicine accessible to everyone. It is this passion and commitment that has cemented our success and positive reputation in Europe and internationally.
We understand the value of women and the fundamental role they play in the world today, whether university student, career woman or stay at home mom, each and every woman has specific needs and desires. One of Aspen’s priorities is to and focus to provide dedicated products for women in the various stages of their lives, including combined oral contraceptives and post-menopause treatment.
Hormonal contraceptives contain hormones that has an effect which is similar to the oestrogen and progesterone steroids produced by the ovaries.
Combined Oral contranceptives
Oral contraceptives – the “pill” – usually mean a combined pill which contains an oestrogen and a progestin. The progestin triggers the actual contraceptive effect (prevention of ovulation) while the oestrogen maintains a regular menstrual cycle and increases the cervical mucus viscosity.
The combined pill is the most commonly used form of hormonal contraception. The “Phasic Pills” provide different amounts of hormones in an attempt to mimic the natural menstrual cycle.
An oral contraceptive has to be individually prescribed – usually by a gynaecologist. When choosing a method, important criteria such as a woman’s age, her medical history and condition, her current situation in life, her personal preferences, as well as her expectations of the contraceptive method have to be considered.
Menopause is the permanent end of the menstrual cycle (amenorrhea), resulting from the loss of ovarian function. The production of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone declines. As a result, menstruation stops, marking the end of fertility. It is considered to occur when 12 menstrual cycles are missed (12 months of amenorrhea).
The average age at which menopause occurs is approximately 50-51 years. Menopause may however occur normally in women as young as 40. Premature menopause is also called premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency.
The first sign that the menopause is beginning is represented by an increase of menstrual periods irregularity. Several years before and until a year after their last menstrual period (menopause), women go through the perimenopause. This is when the real “change” takes place. It is followed by the postmenopause, which covers a period of about ten to fifteen years.
A vast range of symptoms
The decline in hormone production can lead to various different symptoms which, in some cases, can have a very adverse effect on a menopausal woman’s quality of life.
The symptoms that accompany menopause, due to lack of oestrogen, a condition that alters the thermoregulatory systems (hot flushes and night time sweating), induces changes of rhythm sleep (insomnia, which usually appear before menopause and disappear after 2-3 years), loss of energy and libido, mood swings or irritability.
The reduced oestrogen production (hypoestrogenism) can also lead to vaginal dryness, a weak bladder or pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia).
Stress, alcohol, tea and coffee can increase the intensity of vasomotor symptoms.
Above all, however, there is a risk of serious health problems. The oestrogen deficiency causes a loss of bone mass (osteoporosis), and in later years this can lead to bone fractures with severe consequences. Furthermore, women in the postmenopausal phase, increasingly suffer from high blood pressure.
Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT)
Menopausal hormone therapy alleviates hot flashes, sweating, insomnia, and complaints caused by dry mucous membranes of the vagina. Systemic or topical oestrogen therapies are effective in improving vaginal health. Furthermore, menopausal hormone therapy offers protection against osteoporosis in ageing women.
Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone to meet the body’s needs. This causes the metabolism to run too slowly.
Hypothyroidism affects approximately 1% – 2% of the global population (1). The condition is mostly seen in women between the ages of 40-50. In fact, hypothyroidism affects women 10 times more often than men.
In addition, hypothyroidism may occur in infants and children, potentially causing delays in physical growth and intellectual development.
Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a highly treatable condition, but it is often under-diagnosed as its signs and symptoms are often subtle and non-specific. An underactive thyroid commonly manifests as a slowing in physical and mental activity. The most common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include the following:
- Fatigue, loss of energy, lethargy
- Slow movements, thought and speech, inability to concentrate
- Weight gain
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased hearing
- Cold intolerance
- Decreased perspiration
- Pins and needles (paraesthesia)
- Menstrual disturbances
- Dry/gritty eyes
- Blurred vision
- Hoarse voice
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Muscle and joint pain, weakness in the extremities
Diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism
A diagnosis of hypothyroidism can be confirmed with a simple blood test that measures thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine levels.
If you believe you or a member of your family may be experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism, please contact your doctor for advice.
There are various treatment options for hypothyroidism. One of the most common treatments is a widely available medicine known as levothyroxine, which helps to normalise the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine levels.
(1) British Thyroid Association. 2006. UK Guidelines for the Use of Thyroid Function Tests.
Women’s Health Products
The following women´s health products are available from Aspen*:
*Availability and registered indications might differ in countries across the Europe and CIS region. For detailed information please consult the Summaries of Product Characteristics for the products available in your country.