How Do You Know if You are Undergoing Menopause?

Menopause is diagnosed once you’ve gone twelve months without a menstrual period, and generally occurs sometime in your 40s or 50s. In Australia, the average age is 51, though it is not unheard of for women to experience menopause earlier or later in life; roughly one percent of women even undergo menopause before age 40. Though it is a natural biological process, the sudden onset of its symptoms can be uncomfortable, confusing, and emotionally taxing. In the months or years leading up to your eventual menopause, you might experience any of the following signs and symptoms:

These signs vary greatly from woman to woman, and you may experience all of the above, or only a few. Most likely, you will at least experience some irregularity in your periods before they end. Skipping periods during this time is common and expected, and it may be several months between periods altogether— it is for this reason that it takes a full year of missed periods to diagnose that menopause is complete. Despite irregular periods, pregnancy is still possible, so if you have skipped a period but aren’t certain you’ve started the transition to menopause, consider taking a pregnancy test to be safe.


What Are the Causes of Menopause?

Menopause usually occurs through a natural decline in reproductive hormones. As you approach your late 30s, your ovaries slowly begin making less oestrogen and progesterone, and your fertility declines. Through your 40s, your menstrual periods might change length, becoming shorter or longer, heavier or lighter, more or less frequent. Eventually, typically by your early 50s, your ovaries will stop releasing eggs and your periods will cease. This, however, is not the only cause. Less common causes include:


What Can You Do to Treat Menopause and its Effects?

After undergoing menopause, your risk of certain illnesses or medical conditions will increase. These can include:

Menopause itself requires no medical attention, and so treatments generally focus on relieving your symptoms or managing chronic conditions that can occur with continued aging. These might include:

Menopause is a natural, expected part of growing older, and is nothing to be afraid or embarrassed about. Discuss your concerns with your partner and health professionals, including the risks and benefits of treatments and recommended lifestyle changes. Every woman goes through menopause, but it is different for everyone— don’t be afraid to ask about other options, or seek clarification if what you are experiencing is confusing or unexpected.


For more information on Menopause, view The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of Menopause, make an appointment with Dr.Nicole Stamatopoulos here.