About the Menopause
The menopause explained.
What is the Menopause?
Menopause, a natural part of the female life cycle, signifies a woman’s final menstrual period. ‘Meno’ refers to the menstrual cycle. Throughout life, the gradual loss of eggs from the ovaries accelerates for most women around age 40, resulting in decreased levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Typically, menopause symptoms begin in the mid-forties, but they can manifest earlier. The period leading up to a year after the last menstrual bleed is termed the PERI-menopause. Menopause is officially confirmed after 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. If a period occurs 11 months after the last bleed, the count restarts, requiring another 12-month cessation period.
A woman’s experience of menopause is highly individual. Some may view it as a positive and liberating phase, free from periods and contraception concerns. However, others may face debilitating symptoms. While symptoms might be short-lived for some women, others may endure them for many months or even years beyond their final period
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause, the transitional phase before menopause, is characterized by declining hormone levels while menstrual bleeding persists. Typically starting in a woman’s early to mid-forties, some experience menopause before 40 (1 in 100), with a rare occurrence under 30 (1 in 1000). Hormonal fluctuations during this phase can trigger various physical and emotional changes such as menstrual irregularities, hot flushes, night sweats, disrupted sleep, mood swings, reduced libido, and vaginal dryness.
Lasting for several years, perimenopause culminates in menopause, defined as 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, marking a single point in time. Although a natural part of a woman’s life cycle, managing its symptoms through lifestyle adjustments and hormone therapy can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life
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What is Postmenopause?
Postmenopause marks the absence of menstrual bleeding for a minimum of 12 months. In the absence of treatment, natural hormonal levels remain low. While approximately a quarter of women might undergo this transition without major concerns, some unfortunately continue to experience significant symptoms.
For all women, changes in bone density and an elevated risk of heart disease are acknowledged consequences of menopause due to the diminishing protective effects of estrogen on bones and blood vessels, respectively. Consequently, it’s crucial for women to prioritise their health during this phase. Lifestyle choices, such as adopting a healthy diet, engaging in both cardiovascular and weight-bearing exercise, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol intake, all play vital roles in enhancing long-term health.
Do you have questions relating to menopause?
Our support centre is full of useful information including a list of symptoms and treatments and frequently asked questions to help inform and put your mind at rest.Support Centre
The better-known symptoms of the perimenopause and menopause are hot flushes and night sweats but in actual fact any symptom emerging around the perimenopause can be down to declining hormone levels. Symptoms are essentially the body withdrawing to these hormones, specifically oestrogen and testosterone. Every organ in our body is rich in oestrogen receptors, from our eyes to our nails, skin and blood vessels so even dry eyes or hair loss starting in the perimenopause could be due to this. Other symptoms can include insomnia, irritability, low mood, anxiety, problems with memory and concentration, bladder weakness, loss of libido, vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Need additional help or support? Book an appointment with Dr Summerhill today.Book Now
Useful menopause tools.
Are you experiencing menopause symptoms?
Our useful guide will help you understand your symptoms, their causes and provide useful information on how to manage them.
Your menopause questions answered.
Our support centre is full of useful information and frequently asked questions to help inform and put your mind at rest.
Book an initial menopause consultation.
The clinic is provided by Dr Natalie Summerhill, a GP with a dedicated interest in women’s health.