Symptoms of the menopause

Most women willexperience some symptoms around the menopause. The duration andseverity of thesesymptoms varies from woman to woman.

Symptomsusually starta few months or years beforeyour Periods stop, known asthe perimenopause, andcan persist for some time afterwards.

On average, mostsymptoms last around four years from your last period. However, around1 in every10 women experience them for up to 12 years.

If you experience the menopause suddenly rather than graduallyfor example, as a result of cancer treatmentyour symptoms may be worse.

Changesto your periods

The first sign of the menopauseis usually a change in the normal pattern of your periods.

You may start having either unusually light or heavy periods .

The frequency of your periods may also be affected. You may have one every two or three weeks, or you may not have one for months at a time.

Eventually, you'll stop having periods altogether.

Common menopausal symptoms

About 8 in every 10 women will haveadditional symptoms for some time before and after their periods stop.

Thesecan have a significant impact on daily life for some women.

Common symptomsinclude:

  • hot flushes short, sudden feelings of heat, usually in the face, neck and chest,whichcanmake your skin red and sweaty
  • night sweats hot flushes that occur at night
  • difficulty sleeping this may make you feel tired and irritable during the day
  • a reduced sex drive (libido)
  • problems with memory and concentration
  • vaginal dryness andpain, itching or discomfort during sex
  • headaches
  • mood changes, such as low mood or anxiety
  • palpitations heartbeats that suddenly become more noticeable
  • joint stiffness, aches and pains
  • reduced muscle mass
  • recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) ,such as cystitis

The menopause can also increase your risk of developing certain other problems, such as weak bones (osteoporosis) .

See your GP if you're finding your symptoms particularly troublesome, as treatments are available. Read about how to manage symptoms of the menopause .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 29 Nov 2016