Local Menopause Support Services
Menopause is when your periods stop due to lower hormone levels. This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. It can sometimes happen earlier naturally or for reasons such as surgery to remove the ovaries (oophorectomy) or the uterus (hysterectomy), cancer treatments like chemotherapy, or a genetic reason. Sometimes the reason is unknown.
Perimenopause is when you have symptoms before your periods have stopped. You reach menopause when you have not had a period for 12 months. Menopause and perimenopause can cause symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, hot flushes and irregular periods. These symptoms can start years before your periods stop and carry on afterwards.
There are things you can do to help with symptoms. There are also medicines that can replace the missing hormones and help relieve your symptoms.
Common symptoms of menopause and perimenopause
Menopause and perimenopause symptoms can have a big impact on your daily life, including relationships, social life, family life and work.
It can feel different for everyone. You may have a number of symptoms or none.
Symptoms usually start months or years before your periods stop. This is called the perimenopause.
Changes to your periods
The first sign of the perimenopause is usually, but not always, a change in the normal pattern of your periods, for example they become irregular.
Eventually you'll stop having periods altogether.
Mental health symptoms
Common mental health symptoms of menopause and perimenopause include:
- changes to your mood, like low mood, anxiety, mood swings and low self-esteem
- problems with memory or concentration (brain fog)
Common physical symptoms of menopause and perimenopause include:
- hot flushes, when you have sudden feelings of hot or cold in your face, neck and chest which can make you dizzy
- difficulty sleeping, which may be a result of night sweats and make you feel tired and irritable during the day
- palpitations, when your heartbeats suddenly become more noticeable
- headaches and migraines that are worse than usual
- muscle aches and joint pains
- changed body shape and weight gain
- skin changes including dry and itchy skin
- reduced sex drive
- vaginal dryness and pain, itching or discomfort during sex
- recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
NHS Menopause information
The NHS Menopause pages offer advice, help and support.
Page last reviewed: 28 April 2023