Menopause signifies the end of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. It occurs due to a change in a woman’s reproductive hormones and the ovaries no longer release any eggs. You will know that the menopause has taken place if you have not had any menstrual bleeding for 12 months.

Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. Menopause before the age of 40 is called ‘premature menopause’ and before the age of 45 it is called ‘early menopause’. Periods may stop unexpectedly due to primary ovarian insufficiency, or menopause can be caused by surgery, or following treatment for cancer.

Perimenopause is the stage before natural menopause, and is when the ovaries are running out of eggs. It is often the time when women begin to experience the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, vaginal changes and mood swings.

Management and treatment of menopausal symptoms depend on each individual woman, stage of life, relationships and general level of health and wellbeing.

Some of the symptoms that women may experience include:

  • hot flushes and night sweats
  • aches and pains
  • crawling or itching sensations under the skin
  • forgetfulness
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • lack of self-esteem
  • reduced sex drive (libido)
  • tiredness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • urinary frequency
  • vaginal dryness
  • discomfort with sexual intercourse

For more information;

SHFPACT Menopause Centre

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health

Australasian Menopause Society (AMS)

– AMS Members in the ACT

Better Health Channel

The Royal Women’s Hospital

Articles of interest

What is perimenopause and how did it go from hush-hush to hot topic?

Fact sheets