Menopause Symptoms - An Overview

Women may experience a wide range of menopausal symptoms in advance of the menopause - the final cessation of menstruation, ovulation and fertility.

Menopause symptoms can be very challenging - seek out advice and support!

Menopause symptoms can be very challenging - seek out advice and support!

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Menopause symptoms can be physical and psychological

During perimenopause and menopause many of us will experience a wide range of uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms. See the list of symptoms in this article.

Some women will go through menopause and hardly be aware of the transition. About 70% of women are affected by menopausal symptoms that are caused by changing hormone levels. As our hormone levels fluctuate and ovarian function declines, we may experience symptoms intermittently. For example, we may miss our periods for several months and then resume normal patterns for several months during the lead up to final cessation of menstruation. We are all individual and these patterns are personal to us.

Factors such as diet and exercise, smoking, alcohol intake and stress levels can considerably impact menopausal symptoms. Any changes that we make towards a healthier lifestyle can have a great effect on reducing these painful and stressful symptoms.

Some of us may need to control symptoms through taking HRT for a limited amount of time. Some of us can manage the symptoms through therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathyreflexology or Feldenkrais.

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What are the most common symptoms of the menopause?

The most common symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause are listed below. Click on the title links for more in depth information and guidance.

Many of us will experience a range of these early symptoms of menopause. These are caused by changing levels of hormone production in our bodies, particularly the reduction of oestrogen produced in our ovaries. At this stage many of us may still have periods. This causes confusion amongst many women and indeed their doctors, who wrongly assume that symptoms of the menopause only occur after periods stop. It is common to experience early menopausal symptoms whilst still having periods.

What age does menopause take place at?

Menopausal symptoms typically start in the mid-40s in what is called the perimenopause. At this stage the symptoms may be mild. By our late 40s around 70% of us will have noticed some physical changes in periods and body temperature. We may also experience some psychological issues like anxiety, fuzzy thinking, memory lapses or low confidence.

Do all women suffer from menopausal symptoms?

Around 70% of us experience some or all of the symptoms mentioned above. Only about 10% will require help from their doctor. Some of us are fortunate and will pass through menopause with no recognition of symptoms at all.

What causes menopausal symptoms?

Menopausal symptoms take place as the body re-adjusts to the fact that the ovaries are slowing down their production of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. This is because the ovaries are preparing to stop producing eggs for fertilization, usually at the mid-life stage.

A gradual shift is taking place and these hormones will now be produced primarily in other parts of the body including the adrenal glands, the brain and fat cells in the skin. Uncomfortable symptoms are usually a sign that the body is making natural adjustments and may need support.

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NEW TO MENOPAUSE? Try our e-book - The Best Friend’s Guide to the Menopause - €8

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Supporting the changes taking place at menopause?

It is very helpful as a starting point to understand what is happening during menopause and embrace this process with plenty of advice and support. Lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and stress can have a big influence on menopausal symptoms. Key changes we should consider are to:

How long do symptoms of menopause last?

The duration of early menopause symptoms is very variable and can last from a few months to several years.

What are the key post-menopausal symptoms?

Post-menopausal symptoms may be the result of oestrogen deficiency and its impact on the skin, hair, bladder, vagina and bones.  These include:

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