The menopause is sometimes known as the ‘change’ and is marked by the ending of menstruation. In the UK, the average age of menopause is 51 yrs. A woman is said to have become menopausal once she has not had a period for one year. When menopause occurs under 40 years of age, it is known as premature menopause. It is estimated that premature menopause affects 1% of women under the age of 40 and 0.1% of women under the age of 30.
As the ovaries now produce less estrogen, many women experience both physical and emotional symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats and irritability. These symptoms may start about 3-4 years before menopause and continue for a further 2-3 years. For women who find the symptoms interfering with quality of life, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may provide significant relief.