You are here

About menopause

From hot flushes and sleepless nights, to mood swings and loss of libido – it can feel overwhelming to imagine what menopause has in store for you. But the right information, resources and attitude can help make it easier for you to take control of your menopause experience. While every woman’s menopause experience is different, we’re all in this together. WomenBe is here with what you need to know to help you face menopause with humour and grace.

Let’s start at the very beginning

Many women want to know when menopause will start. To answer this question, it’s helpful to understand the three different stages of menopause.

Perimenopause, or the menopause transition, is the years leading up to your final period.

During this stage, your periods may become irregular and your menstrual flow may be lighter or heavier. You may also begin to notice the onset of some menopause symptoms. Perimenopause can last four to six years before menopause.

Menopause is your final menstrual period. Because perimenopause can be such an irregular time, you’ll only know that you have gone through menopause when you have not had your period for a whole year.

The average age of menopause for Australian women is 51–52, but it may happen as early as 45 or as late as 55.1

Post-menopause is all the time that follows menopause. This can be up to one-third of your life! So, menopause is certainly not the end of anything … except birth control and tampons!

What to expect during menopause

Every woman’s menopause experience is different. Some women will experience no menopause symptoms at all, while others will experience symptoms so severe that they interfere with daily life.

The majority of us will experience mild-to-moderate menopause symptoms. So, let’s take a closer look at what we can expect.

Hot flushes and night sweats

Hot flushes and night sweats are the most common symptoms of menopause, affecting around 80% of women.2

During a hot flush, you can expect to feel a sudden warming sensation over your upper body and face.

During a hot flush, you can expect to feel a sudden warming sensation over your upper body and face.

This may be accompanied by sweating and reddening of your skin. A night sweat is similar to a hot flush, with excessive sweating that may wake you up.

Vaginal symptoms

Low estrogen levels associated with menopause may cause you to experience vaginal dryness, discomfort or pain during sex.

Trouble sleeping

You may find it harder to fall asleep at night or have trouble sleeping through. This may be made worse by night sweats

Mood swings, irritability and fatigue

Hormone fluctuations can leave you feeling down and tearful. You may experience mood swings,  irritability, a lack of energy and fatigue.

Other symptoms of menopause that you may notice can include memory and concentration changes, weight gain, loss of libido and bladder problems.

We’ve seen that the stages of menopause can last over many years. You may start to experience symptoms before menopause and they may continue into your post-menopausal years. It’s important to remember that there are effective ways to manage your menopause symptoms. Read on to find out more.

Managing your menopause symptoms

The symptoms many women experience during menopause are the result of changes in the body's levels of estrogen and progesterone. Your doctor can prescribe medicine, called menopause hormone therapy (MHT), to replace these reduced levels of hormones. MHT can help to reduce symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness.

Your doctor will explain the risks and benefits of MHT, talk with you about lifestyle changes and other treatment options that can help manage symptoms, and then help you decide on the best treatment for your individual needs.

Maintaining a healthy diet and making regular exercise part of your life can also help you to manage your menopause symptoms.

Maintaining a healthy diet and making regular exercise part of your life can also help you to manage your menopause symptoms.

Remember, you’re not alone

As you prepare to face menopause (or if you are already well and truly entrenched in it), remember that you are not alone. Thousands of Australian women reach menopause every day. WomenBe is here to help you embrace this next stage of your life.

 

©Pfizer 2017. Pfizer Australia Pty Limited. Pfizer Medical Information: 1800 675 229. 38–42 Wharf Road, West Ryde, NSW, 2114. PP-DUA-AUS-0176, 09/2017

Am I experiencing menopause symptoms?
What should I ask my Doctor?
Set a reminder to see my Doctor

REFERENCES

  1. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health. Menopause fact sheet. Available at https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Menopause.pdf. Accessed 20 April 2017.
  2. The Royal Women's Hospital. The women's health book. (2014). 1st ed. Sydney: Random House Australia.