The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
Periods usually start to become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop altogether. Sometimes they can stop suddenly.
The age at which women go through the menopause varies but it’s usually between 40 and 58. The average age for women to reach the menopause in the UK is 51 years.
However, around 1 in 100 women experience the menopause before 40 years of age. This is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency.
Common symptoms include:
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
- difficulty sleeping
- low mood or anxiety
- reduced sex drive (libido)
- problems with memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around four years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
Menopausal symptoms are extremely common.
- Vasomotor symptoms (hot flushes and night sweats) are the most commonly reported symptoms, occurring in about 75% of postmenopausal women, with 25% of these being severely affected. Symptoms may resolve in 2–5 years, but the median duration is 7 years and sometimes longer.
- Other symptoms include mood changes, musculoskeletal symptoms, urogenital symptoms, sleep disturbance, and sexual disorders.
Not all women need treatment for this. It really depends on the symptoms that they are suffering, their severity, past medical history – including risks of clots, heart attacks and strokes and also cancer or risk of cancer history.
There are risks associated with hrt as illustrated in the tables below. HRT is used at a low a dose as possible for as little time as possible to minimise risk.
There are non-hormonal treatments.
Risks Of Hormone HRT
The tables below illustrate some of the risks. However click on this page