What is Menopause?

The menopause usually starts around the age of 48 but it can vary from woman to woman. There are 3 stages to menopause; perimenopause, menopause and post menopause, each of these stages are outlined below.

Symptoms vary and can be managed with HRT as well as lifestyle changes. One thing to remember is there are millions of women going through the menopause and we need to embrace this stage of life and empower women to get the best care, work towards more support, understanding in the workplace and reduce stigma surrounding menopause.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the start of your menopause journey and is signalled by an onset of symptoms. Everybody is different and these symptoms vary in type and can be mild  to symptoms that can impact your day to day living. If you are at the start of your journey, it is important to get the right advice and treatment so as to manage this change and decrease the risk of non-communicable diseases.

The ovaries gradually stop working, with this comes a drop in sex hormone levels.  Estrogen is a hormone that controls many biological processes within the body of both males and females. In females it is mainly produced by the ovaries and as the ovaries stop working estrogen levels fall. As the levels of estrogen drop, the body reacts and we experience symptoms.

Symptoms you might experience are;

  • slight changes in your period such as longer, shorter, heavier, lighter and more or less regular. 

  • hot flushes or night sweats occasionally.

  • headaches.

  • changes to your mood.

  • PMS

  • memory issues

It can take several years before you enter the second phase and differs in each of us.

Menopause

Menopause officially starts a full year AFTER your last period. The average age of menopause is 51 and women can experience symptoms four years after their last period although, this can be shorter or longer, as we are all individual therefore unique. 

Symptoms can vary and are listed below.

  • hot flushes

  • night sweats

  • low mood

  • vaginal dryness

  • low libido

  • joint pain

  • concentration

  • memory loss

  • insomnia

  • tiredness

It's a long list I know however, being supported and getting the correct advice, can make this stage manageable.

Postmenopause

This is the stage after menopause where you may still experience some symptoms. HRT and lifestyle adjustments can still be used to move on through this next phase, enjoy life with the free time we may have gained.