What is menopause?

Menopause is the time of life when a woman stops having her menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. Perimenopause is the time period leading up to this milestone.

Symptoms may occur earlier, but most women experience the physical and emotional changes of perimenopause in their late 40s or early 50s when:

  • their monthly cycle begins to change;
  • estrogen and progesterone production becomes unpredictable; and
  • the number of stored eggs in the ovaries decreases.

No two women experience menopause in the same way. Some may have difficulties, while others may be symptom-free. Generally, changing hormone levels may lead to:

  • irregular periods
  • night sweats
  • hot flashes
  • fatigue
  • aches and pains
  • a change in sexual desire
  • changes to skin texture and appearance
  • bladder control difficulty
  • vaginal fluid changes (dryness)
  • disruption of sleep patterns (difficulty sleeping)
  • mood swings
  • memory loss

Whatever your situation, there are ways to help you manage the transition.

  • Refocus on you.
  • Make sure you’re eating well.
  • Improve your fitness level.
  • Seek support from family, friends and health professionals.
  • Talk to your health-care practitioner to learn more about treatment options such as hormonal and non-hormonal therapies.
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Last updated: 2019-08-22