Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her reproductive phase ends. This usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Many physical and emotional changes occur during this phase. However, these menopause symptoms do not have to affect your quality of life.
What are periods like before menopause?
Cycles become more irregular or less frequent. They normally become lighter. However, a very heavy period may follow a very light one. Sometimes, women think that their period has stopped and then it suddenly starts again. During this stage, cycles are very difficult to predict. It is therefore necessary to ensure that you continue to use contraception if you wish to avoid pregnancy.
And when will my periods stop?
When a woman’s periods stop this is called menopause. The ovaries gradually stop producing oestrogen and ovulation ceases. This usually occurs around the age of 50 but there are no hard and fast rules. The reduction in the production of oestrogens does not only affect the menstrual cycle but also body temperature, mood and bone and ligament health. This is the reason for the wide range of menopause symptoms.
What are menopause symptoms?
- Hot flushes: these usually start a few months before menopause and last for one or two years. A hot flush can last one hour or one day.
- Tingling and cramps.
- Mood changes, irritability or depression.
- Muscle or joint pain. Regular exercise can aid flexibility and strengthen muscles.
- Sexual disorders: loss of libido, vaginal dryness, pain during sex.
- Osteoporosis: loss of bone density, bones become weaker.
Medicines have been developed to combat and prevent many of these menopause symptoms. Please speak to your gynaecologist if you need help in this new phase you are entering.