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About the menopause
and peri-menopause

What is the Menopause?

The menopause is when a woman’s periods stop, or to use the medical definition, when she hasn’t had a period for over a year.  It happens because her ovaries no longer produce eggs and the levels of hormones (progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone) fall. The average age for the menopause in the UK is 51.  
Whilst the menopause is one moment in time, there is window of time before menopause, called peri-menopause, when hormone levels can change and fluctuate. This can happen for months or years before the menopause, and can often start around age 45. 


Throughout peri-menopause and menopause, many women experience symptoms as a result of the hormonal changes in their body, some of which can have a negative impact on their life.  Symptoms include irregular, light or heavy periods, low mood, anxiety, mood swings and low self-esteem, problems with memory or concentration (brain fog), hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, palpitations, headaches, muscle aches and joint pain, changed body shape and weight gain, skin changes including dry and itchy skin, reduced sex drive, vaginal dryness and pain, itching or discomfort during sex, recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs).


Eating well, exercising and looking after mental wellbeing can help with symptoms.  The most effective treatment for symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which replaces the hormones that are at low levels.  HRT also has longer term benefits in reducing the risks of osteoporosis and heart disease. There are other treatments if you cannot, or choose not to, have HRT.

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