Menopause – what to expect

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The menopause is when a woman stops having periods. It’s a natural part of life, affecting half the population in midlife, usually between the age of 45 and 55.

Despite being such a major part of a woman’s life, many feel completely unprepared for what’s likely to happen during menopause, and aren’t equipped with the facts and information that could help them manage that stage of their life.

So what can we expect and how do we prepare ourselves for Menopause? 

Perimenopause 

Women can actually experience menopausal symptoms when they are still having periods. Typically, this happens around the age of 40 to 42 during the perimenopause (meaning around or near menopause). This is the transitional period leading up to the menopause when hormone levels can fluctuate considerably.  Perimeno[uase symptoms can be similar to those of menopause,

Menopause

The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally, usually between the ages of 45-55 (though this does vary from woman to woman).

What to expect – how to recognise menopause symptoms

According to the NHS, most women will experience some menopausal symptoms, although they can vary from person to person. Common symptoms can include:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Sleep problems
  • Low mood or anxiety
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Memory & concentration problems
  • Vaginal dryness

What can you do to help yourself?

  • Monitor and record your symptoms. The Balance App is an excellent free resource you can track your symptoms, as well as access lots of tips and information from experts in menopause science.
  • Speak to your doctor – don’t wait until you are really struggling before seeking help.

Menopause treatment options

There are a number of treatment options available and your healthcare provider will be able to advise you on what might be the best route for you. Options include:

Useful resources

Being informed is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for menopause, so you’ll know what to expect and what options are available to you. We’ve listed some great resources below:

The NHS Menopause

Balance: A support website and app founded by Dr Louise Newson with the aim to make menopause support inclusive and accessible to everyone.

Noon: A platform supporting women in Midlife

The British Menopause Society

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