What is Menopause?

Menopause is the time when your periods stop, which is diagnosed when you have not had a period for 12 months.  It tends to occur in women aged 45 to 55 years, but can happen earlier in some women.

As women get older the amount of oestrogen they produce gradually reduces with time and it can take several years until a woman reaches menopause.  This time is known as the perimenopause, and is when symptoms can start developing.

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Not everyone has symptoms in menopause, but others do and they can be severely disabling.  Common symptoms include:

  • Hot flushes and night sweats
  • Changes in periods – more or less frequent, heavier
  • Problems sleeping
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort
  • Urinary problems
  • Mood changes
  • Brain fog
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of libido
  • Changed body weight and shape

What can I do if I think I may be having symptoms related to menopause?

If you are having symptoms related to menopause there are lots of changes you can make to your lifestyle to try to help.  These include:

  • Having a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Losing weight to a healthy BMI
  • Stopping smoking
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Relaxation exercises and reducing stress
  • Avoiding any triggers

Unfortunately, often lifestyle changes may not be enough in themselves to improve symptoms of menopause. If that is the case your GP may be able to discuss other treatment options including HRT.

You can read more information about the treatment options before your appointment via these links

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – NHS (

What to do at Menopause: Menopause Matters


Do I need a blood test to check I am menopausal?

Most women do not need a blood test to confirm they are menopausal and this can be diagnosed on symptoms alone.  There are certain circumstances where blood tests may be required, but this can be discussed with your GP.

Can I stop contraception?

You can stop contraception if you have not had a period for over 2 years and are under 50 years, or for over 1 year and are over 50 years. If you are not sure if you are menopausal please speak to your doctor before stopping contraception.

Please do not hesitate to get in contact and arrange an appointment with your GP if you think you might be affected by these symptoms and would like further support.

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