Menopause is when the monthly cycle of menstruation ends. Menopause is a natural occurrence and marks the end of a woman’s reproductive life. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a menstrual period for 12 months.
Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. Menopause before the age of 40 is called premature menopause and before the age of 45 it is called early menopause.
Menopause occurs when the ovaries no longer release eggs and the production of oestrogen and progesterone starts to slow down. Hormone levels usually fluctuate around this time and women may notice changes in the cycle such as:
- longer, shorter or irregular cycles
- bleeding may become lighter
- bleeding may become heavy (seek advice from your doctor)
Eventually, hormone levels decrease to a point where periods stop altogether. Most women will experience some symptoms before their periods stop. Many will experience minor discomfort but for others the physical and emotional symptoms can significantly impact their day-to-day life
Symptoms can be both physical and emotional, and include:
- aches and pains
- bloating and weight gain
- crawling or itchy skin
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- urinary problems
- vaginal dryness
- difficulty sleeping
- difficulty concentrating
- mood swings
- feeling unable to cope as well
- lack of interest in sex
- feeling anxious and irritable
Signs and symptoms of menopause usually tell most women that they’ve started the menopausal transition. In some circumstances, your doctor may recommend blood tests to check your hormone levels.
The management and treatment of menopausal symptoms will depend on the woman, her stage of life, relationships and general health and wellbeing.
Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and may include lifestyle changes, hormone therapy, vaginal estrogen to relieve dryness, and prescription medications.
We can help with menopause assessment, and menopause management which may include:
- hormone therapy
- lifestyle changes
- treatments to manage vaginal dryness
If you need assistance, advice or treatment for menopause or any other sexual or reproductive health issue, please make an appointment with one of our friendly doctors.
This content is provided for general information and education purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances. It is not to be relied on in substitution for specific advice from a medical professional and Family Planning Tasmania does not accept responsibility for such use. Family Planning Tasmania has taken every effort to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate, however information and knowledge is subject to change. Family Planning Tasmania advises that you always consult a medical professional for individual advice.
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