Menopause & Perimenopause

The menopause is the natural stopping of a woman’s menstrual cycle, marking the end of her ability to get pregnant. 

Menopause is confirmed when a woman hasn’t had her period for 12 consecutive months & usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age. Ovaries stop producing eggs and therefore hormone (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone) levels decrease causing a change in menstrual cycles. Physical changes can also occur due to the change in hormone levels.

Peri-menopause describes the time leading up to the menopause, which can range from short months up to as long as 10 years. The average length of perimenopause is 4 years. 

During the perimenopause – which commonly affects those in their 40’s but can be earlier –women still have periods and can still get pregnant. Within the last 1-2 years of this transition, the drop in oestrogen speeds up and many women will experience menopause symptoms.

menopause symptoms

What are the common symptoms?

Everyone’s experience is unique, although most women – around 8 in 10 – will experience at least some symptoms in the menopause and perimenopause period. For many, these symptoms can have a significant impact on their lives. The most common include:

  • Mood changes – low mood, anxiety or depression can be heightened during menopause. Many women are prescribed antidepressants which have no or little impact.
  • Hot flushes – an estimated 75% of women experience hot flushes. They are usually short, sudden feelings of heat, usually in the face, neck and chest.
  • Night sweats & disrupted sleep – hot flushes that occur during the night and affect sleep, ultimately impacting mood and irritability.
  • Reduced sex drive – loss of libido can be impacted by tiredness, anxiety or pain and dryness of the vagina.
  • Vaginal dryness – changes of the vagina include dryness, itching or pain. This can particularly be felt during sex.