Menopause is a normal part of aging for a woman and is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It’s diagnosed after you’ve gone a year without a menstrual period. The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55, however in the UK the average age for a woman to reach menopause is 51.
“Around menopause” or perimenopause is when symptoms begin, leading up to menopause. This stage typically starts about four to eight years before menopause. Again, the age at which perimenopause begins varies – some women notice it in their 40s, but others can experience it as early as their mid-30s.
Most women start to notice early menopause symptoms when they enter perimenopause, like changes to your period or mood shifts. This happens because your body’s estrogen and progesterone levels are starting to naturally decline. As your ovaries produce lower amounts of these hormones, your body adapts.
Menopause and perimenopause symptoms can have a big impact on your life, including family life, relationships and work. Every woman is unique, you may have a variety of symptoms or none.
Common symptoms include:
Periods – the first sign of the perimenopause is usually a change in your period pattern, eventually leading to them stopping completely
Mental health – changes to your mood, feeling low, anxiety, mood swings and low self-esteem, and problems with memory or concentration, which is often referred to as ‘brain fog’
- hot flushes
- night sweats and difficulty sleeping
- headaches and migraines
- weight gain
- dry and itchy skin
- reduced sex drive
Menopause symptoms can often be helped by maintaining a healthy diet, participating in regular exercise and over-the-counter medications.
However, if your symptoms are affecting your daily activities or keep you from doing the things you love, it may be time to seek medical advice. Speaking to a GP or specialist early can help to reduce the impact the perimenopause and menopause have on your mental and physical health, relationships and work.
Dr Laura Fricker, is the lead expert at our Women’s Health Clinic in Hale and specialises in a variety of conditions including menopause. To book an appointment with Dr Fricker, please call 0161 428 4464 or visit https://www.privategpextra.com/contact-us/