The menopause is when a woman stops having periods. For most women menopause occurs around the age of 51 years, although it can happen sooner - see premature ovarian insufficiency (POI). Although it is a completely natural part of ageing, it can be an unnecessarily distressing time for some women with a range of unwanted symptoms - from weak bones through to depression.
A duty of care to manage menopause
Women need to be aware of the harm that can be done by not replacing the hormone oestrogen in particular, as part of a bespoke HRT regimen. The process of managing hormones should be no different just because of the menopause, especially as highly effective treatments are available.
Before a woman reaches menopause, there are several years beforehand in which periods become less frequent. This time is often referred to as the transition years. However, periods can stop suddenly, and a small number of women go through the menopause before 40 years of age. This is known as premature menopause.
Symptoms of menopause also tend to occur for several years before periods stop completely, and can last for around 4 years after your last period.
The symptoms of menopause often include:
- Hot flushes and problems with sleep
- Burning tongue and fluttering heart
- Weight gain
- Memory loss
- Mood changes
- Thinning hair
- Night sweats
- Decrease in libido
- Itchy skin and feeling introverted
- Painful sex
Thankfully, there are also many treatment options, both natural and medicinal, available to relieve these symptoms. The articles below, written by top experts in their field, discuss many of the issues and options related to the menopause.