Menopause

The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and can no longer get pregnant naturally.

It is a natural part of ageing. For most women it will occur between 45 and 55 years of age, which is when most women’s oestrogen levels decline. In the UK, the average age a woman enters menopause is 51.

However, around 1 in 100 women experience premature menopause, which is when you become menopausal before 40 years of age. This is also known as premature ovarian insufficiency.

What happens during menopause?

The menopause is triggered by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones as you get older. As a result, the ovaries stop producing as much oestrogen and then no longer release an egg each month.

Usually, a woman’s period will start to become less frequent and regular over a few months or years before they stop altogether. But sometimes they can stop suddenly too. Both experiences are normal.

There are three stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.  On this page you’ll find lots of useful articles and advice about all three stages.

Should you speak to a GP about menopause?

Talk to a GP if your menopausal symptoms are troubling you. Also seek medical advice if you’re experiencing symptoms before 45 years of age. A doctor can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels might be recommended if you’re under 45.

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