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How will I know when I’m menopausal?

For many women, it can be difficult to know if you are going through menopause, especially if you already have irregular periods.

Menopause is a natural biological process, officially diagnosed when a woman hasn't had a menstrual period for 12 months. A natural menopause occurs because as you age your ovaries stop producing eggs and make less oestrogen (the main female hormone). The average age of the menopause in the UK is 51.

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Mental health and the menopause

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Dealing with menopause symptoms at work and the fallout from the physical and emotional effects on your career can be difficult. Our guide can help.

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If you’re struggling with urinary incontinence after giving birth or as a result of menopausal changes, we can help.

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Our guide to menopause treatment

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Sexual health

In the years around menopause, you may experience changes in your physical and emotional reaction to sex. There are treatments to help your symptoms, and our guide can help.

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I have a question about the menopause

What is perimenopause?

The time that leads up to menopause – which can be months or years – is known as perimenopause.

Why does menopause occur?

Oestrogen is a hormone mainly produced in the ovaries and is responsible for controlling many functions in the body including the production of an egg each month (ovulation).

 As a woman gets older, their store of eggs in the ovaries naturally declines. Menopause occurs when your ovaries stop producing eggs and your body’s oestrogen levels fall. As a result, there are many changes that can occur to the body including no longer having periods and other common menopause symptoms.

Can I go through the menopause early?

Your menopause is said to be early if it occurs before the age of 45. Menopause that happens before age 40 is called premature menopause. Our guide to early and premature menopause has advice and support if this is happening to you.

When will I go through the stages of menopause?

It’s impossible to say exactly when you’ll go through the stages of menopause. Although the age of girls starting their periods has got steadily younger since the start of the last century, the age of menopause has remained remarkably consistent.

If you started your period at an early age, it’s likely that you have a greater number of egg precursors in the ovaries. As a result, you’ll tend to menstruate for longer and may go through the menopause later than most.

The average age to start is 51, and the stages of menopause can look like this:


Perimenopause occurs when your periods have become irregular but haven’t stopped. The average age to enter the perimenopause is 47 and, while you may experience symptoms, you can still get pregnant.


Menopause is generally classed as the year after you have your last period. Symptoms such as mood swings and sleep problems are common during this time.


If you’ve not had a period for a year, you’re past the menopause or postmenopausal. Fortunately, symptoms of the menopause should reduce at this point for most women.

What are the signs and symptoms of menopause?

Symptoms of the menopause typically include hot flushes (which some women describe as “tropical moments”), night sweats, poor sleep, loss of concentration, issues with your sexual health and, sometimes, joint pain. Our guide to menopause symptoms outlines some of the most common signs.

Changes in your hormone levels and the stress associated with the menopause can impact your mental wellbeing. It’s common to experience stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, feelings of sadness, aggressiveness, and depression - as well as difficulty focusing and a lack of motivation. Our guide to good mental wellbeing during the menopause can help.

What are the most common menopause treatments?

The most popular menopause treatment is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) but if you’re unable to – or don’t want to – use HRT, our guide to menopause treatments can help withe some other options.

Exercise can also help by reducing your blood pressure and keeping your cholesterol levels low so that the changes in hormone levels don’t affect the functioning of your heart. Our guide includes some useful tips on staying active during the menopause.

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Our Consultant Gynaecologists

Mr Gupta

Abhishek Gupta

Consultant Gynaecologist

Mr Gupta's specialties include urinary incontinence, uterine and vaginal prolapse and heavy or painful periods.

Mr Connell

Rowan James Connell

Consultant Gynaecologist

Mr Connell's specialties include prolapse, incontinence, vaginal reconstruction surgery and MonaLisa Touch.

Miss Anahit Zakaryan

Anahit Zakaryan

Consultant Gynaecologist

Miss Zakaryan specialises in general gynaecology, including bleeding problems, vulval problems, contraception, HRT, fibroids and vaginal prolapse.

Ahmed Khalil

Consultant Gynaecologist

Mr Khalil's specialties include diagnostic laparoscopy, myomectomy and hysterectomy.

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