Experiencing the ‘change of life’?

Posted on: 28 March 2011 by Rhian Mainwaring

In the next of our NHS Choices series we discuss the menopause.


For women the ‘change of life’ or the menopause can be a very difficult time but gaining a better understanding of what is happening to your body and the type of support available can be the first step to managing your physical and emotional wellbeing.

Every woman will go through the menopause and each person’s experience of it is different. Did you know that the average age for women in the UK to reach menopause is 52, but a woman could start to experience menopausal symptoms between the ages of 45 and 55?

So, why do so many women experience both physical and emotional symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats and irritability and a lot more besides? Medical experts at NHS Choices, the NHS website, explain that it is during the time leading up to the menopause, the hormonal and biological changes that are associated with the menopause begin. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 women in the UK experience symptoms leading up to the menopause. Of these, 45% find their symptoms difficult to deal with.

That said, most women reach the menopause without seeking medical advice and learn how to address some of the symptoms by a change in lifestyle. But it is important to know that treatments are available that can ease the more severe or distressing menopausal symptoms. Clear guidance is also available via your GP and NHS Choices for all treatments, which outline the benefits as well as the possible side effects regularly discussed in the press. As an example, there is a lot of misinformation about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While there are some risks that you need to be aware of, many women find it dramatically helps ease their menopause symptoms but it is vital to source trustworthy information in order to make the decision as to whether it’s right for you.

To find out the facts and responses to a wide range of concerns generally faced by women, such as ‘how do I know if I’ve reached the menopause if I’m using the contraceptive pill?’, or ‘Is there a home test you can do to confirm whether you are going through the change?’ go to NHS Choices. Here you will find expert medical guidance, as well as be able to seek online advice from those who have, or are currently going through, the menopause. The change will happen to every woman but there is no need to go through it alone.

Get your questions about menopause answered by an expert.

NHS Choices is teaming up with talk menopause and The British Menopause Society to present an online forum taking place between Friday 25 March and Thursday 31 March. For more information visit http://talk.nhs.uk/content/menopauseforum.aspx

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