Signs and symptoms of the menopause

The menopause is a natural process that marks the time in your life when you stop menstruating. It usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. As you get older, your ovaries produce fewer reproductive hormones, causing changes in your body that result in the menopause.

During the menopause, your periods will become irregular and eventually they will stop altogether. You’re said to have gone through menopause when 12 months have passed without a period.

Other symptoms

As well as changes to your menstrual cycle, you might also experience:

  • Aches and pains
  • Hot flushes
  • Low libido
  • Mood swings and poor concentration
  • Poor sleep, often with night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness

The menopause is a gradual process. Symptoms will usually start about four years before your periods stop altogether and they can sometimes continue for several years after your last period. A small number of women will get symptoms for longer than this.


Perimenopause is the time leading up to the menopause. During perimenopause, your hormones start to change in preparation for the menopause and you may experience: 

  • Heavier or lighter periods than usual
  • Hot flushes and night sweats
  • Less frequent periods
  • Mood swings
  • Poor sleep

Perimenopause can last anywhere from a few months to several years.

Complications of the menopause

In some women, the menopause increases the likelihood of developing other conditions, such as osteoporosis (weakening of the bones) and heart disease

However, you can take steps to reduce your chances of developing these conditions. 

The risk of osteoporosis increases after the menopause because of lower levels of the hormone oestrogen in your body. Taking calcium and vitamin D will help maintain the strength of your bones and reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis. 

To reduce your risk of developing heart disease, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, and exercise regularly.

Hormone therapy

The menopause is a natural process that all women go through. However, if your symptoms are severe, you might want to consider hormone replacement therapy to help you manage them.

Hormone replacement therapy can help reduce:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness

Coping with the menopause

As well as the physical symptoms, the menopause can be a difficult time emotionally. Your body will go through a big change and it marks the end of your fertility. Feelings of anxiety and depression are normal, and speaking to friends, family or a therapist can help.

A number of alternative treatments and lifestyle changes have been shown to help too. Acupuncture, mindfulness and yoga can help you relax, manage anxiety and improve your sleep. Wearing cool and comfortable clothing will help you cope with hot flushes and taking steps to keep cool at night will help with your sleep and night sweats. Magnesium supplements may also improve your sleep and energy levels.

Finally, it’s important to look after your health. Both smoking and drinking alcohol in excess can make your symptoms worse, so should be avoided. Regular exercise and healthy eating will promote general wellbeing and can have a positive effect on your mood, sleep and energy levels.


We hope you've found this article useful, however, it cannot be a substitute for a consultation with a specialist

If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.

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Author Information

Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.

The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:

Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager

Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor

Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.