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The menopause is a subject that’s weirdly shrouded in mystery – but just like menstruation, it’s a totally natural process. We’ll talk through what age it usually starts at, the symptoms and signs of menopause as well as possible treatment

And while it can be tricky to navigate if you aren’t sure what to look out for, knowing what it entails means you can take it in your stride.

So what is menopause exactly?

The menopause is when you stop ovulating due to a fall in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone in your body. But it’s also a collection of symptoms and changes that a woman goes through just before or just after she stops menstruating for good.

What are the first signs of menopause?

The first signs of menopause happen in the time known as ‘perimenopause’ when the body displays various symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, and erratic menstrual flow. The first sign of the menopause is usually a change in the pattern of your menstrual cycle, and you may experience irregular periods.

At what ages does the menopause usually start?

The menopause is a gradual process that tends to happen in stages. The age you are at its onset is hereditary. It can begin as early as 40 or as late as 60, with the average age being 51.

When do periods stop?

Perimenopause symptoms typically start a few months or even years before your periods stop and continue for around four years afterwards.1 It’s important to note that periods don’t just turn off one day – the reality is more gradual.

You may experience substantial period bleeding, where your flow becomes uncharacteristically heavy. Or your periods may become much lighter and more intermittent. You may have a period every two or three weeks, or not have one for months at a time. All this is normal.

Mentions of menopause don’t have to be overwhelming – get help accessing support through the British Menopause Society or find out more information on the NHS website.

Do you have personal experience with menopause? We believe that our #wombstories need to be heard. Watch our video, share your story and post on social using #wombstories.


Continue learning

  • What is the Menstrual Cycle 
  • Signs of your period coming 
  • Is Brown Discharge Normal?