Often women, men, even health professionals are confused about “what is the Menopause”. Its often associated with grumpy, moody women with hot flushes. The average age of the menopause in the UK is 51 years.
The definition of the word menopause actually means your last menstrual period. Meno- refers to your menstrual cycle and –pause literally means stop. You have officially reached the menopause when you have gone through 12 consecutive months without a period. The time leading up to this is called the perimenopause.
The menopause occurs when your ovaries stop producing eggs and as a result the levels of your hormones called oestrogen and progesterone fall.
The menopause is a normal event in a woman life span, every woman will go through it at some stage. Certain conditions such as radiotherapy, surgery to remove your ovaries can bring about an early menopause. Life events, loss, bereavement, divorce can also accelerate the onset of the menopause.
It is very common to have menopausal symptoms but still have periods. Periods may become lighter and less frequent or they may become heavier and more frequent. Around 80% of women experience menopausal symptoms that interfere with the quality of their life. Around 25% of women describe their symptoms as being severe.
Symptoms of the menopause can often have a very negative effect on your partner, your family and your work colleagues. It can be common for symptoms to come and go so you may have some months where you feel completely normal and then other times when you experience unpleasant symptoms which adversely affect the quality of your life
Lack of libido
Poor concentration and/or memory
Joint pains and stiffness
Hair and skin changes
Ageing, feeling tired
Worsening premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Vaginal dryness, itching, soreness and painful sex