Women’s Health Week: What you need to know about the menopause
Friday, 30 October · 2 min read

The menopause is something every woman goes through, but experiences vary a lot and some of the symptoms can greatly impact on quality of life.

Menopause marks the end of your periods or menstrual cycle, after which time you no longer have periods, your ovaries no longer release eggs and you can't fall pregnant naturally.

Most women typically have fewer periods for a while before they stop completely. For some women, however, their periods may stop suddenly.

Either way it can help to be aware of the signs and symptoms of menopause to help you understand what’s happening — and help you prepare.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • hot flushes - as many as 3 out of 4 women get hot flushes
  • feeling more anxious or depressed - this may be due to hormone changes, other symptoms of menopause or both
  • night sweats - due to a drop in oestrogen levels
  • finding it harder to fall asleep
  • problems with memory and concentration - this may be due to poor sleep, rather than changing hormone levels
  • less interest in sex - this may be due to lower levels of sex hormones, depression or lack of sleep

It’s important to know that symptoms can occur months or years before the end of your periods and may continue for up to 4 years afterwards.

And while menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55 — with an average age of 51 — some women reach it before the age of 40 (premature menopause) or before the age of 45 (early menopause).

This period can be difficult, both physically and emotionally, whatever your age. See our tips below for help on how to cope with menopause.

Quote of the day

So many women I've talked to see menopause as an ending. But I've discovered this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else.

Oprah Winfrey, TV personality and philanthropist

Quick Quiz
True or false: When your periods stop around menopause, you can no longer fall pregnant
How to deal with menopause symptoms