Symptoms of menopause - its signs and treatments
The change of life
Why is the menopause, this completely natural process so shrouded in mystery? There is a prejudice that menopause signals a great loss: of fertility, sexuality, youth and even womanhood. But this couldn’t be further from reality. It is simply your body entering a new stage of life. It’s just like menstruation, it’s a totally natural process. We’ll talk through what age it usually starts at, the symptoms and signs of menopause as well as possible treatment.
So what is menopause exactly?
The menopause is when you stop ovulating due to a fall in the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body. But it’s also a collection of symptoms and changes that a woman goes through just before or just after she stops menstruating for good. It can be a tricky time to deal with emotionally – some people may be glad they don’t have to deal with periods anymore, while others might feel sad that they will no longer have their menstrual cycle. Whatever you’re feeling, it’s absolutely normal.
What are the first signs of menopause?
One night, I woke up at 3am, boiling hot. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before.
When does menopause start?
The menopause is a gradual process that tends to happen in stages. It can begin as early as 40 or as late as 60, with the average age being 51 . Menopause can happen at a range of ages and can even be medically induced at any age as part of the treatment of certain diseases.
Are you in pre-menopausal or post-menopausal or just approaching this new phase of your life? We are stronger when we share our stories, so we'd like to hear your experiences in our #wombstories.
When do periods stop?
Taking the menopause in your stride
What are the ongoing symptoms of menopause?
What treatment is there for menopause?
The menopause can be an emotionally trying time, but it can also be a relief to no longer have to deal with the hassle of periods and PMS. Some people even find they feel more confident and at ease in their own skin when they are postmenopausal.
While some get no symptoms, most people experience at least one symptom, or a combination of a few. If this is you, you don’t need to go through it all in silence, or without support. Many people find regular exercise to be beneficial in reducing symptoms, while acupuncture and hypnotherapy have both been found to be effective in tackling hot flushes and insomnia. In the past, HRT or hormone replacement therapy was the standard treatment, but recent research has linked this to breast cancer, blood clots and strokes, so it’s wise to talk things through with your doctor and ask what they recommend .
Post-menopausal life – what happens?
With menopause symptoms, it’s different for everybody. For some, they could last 4 years after your last period, but for others it could be much longer. Everyone’s body adjusts in their own time, so it’s not something you can change or should worry about.
Mentions of menopause don’t have to be overwhelming – get help accessing support through the International Menopause Society or discuss it with a friend who went through this phase or even with your doctor.
Have you personally gone through the menopause? We believe that our stories need to be heard, so we can listen, learn and support each other. If you’d like to, why not share your story with us in our #wombstories survey.