Menopause Clinic, New Malden
Updated: Apr 22
What is menopause?
A woman is born with all the eggs she will have for her lifetime. With the onset of puberty these mature and are released at ovulation. If unfertilised it results in the shedding of the womb lining (endometrium) as a period.
As a woman ages egg quality declines and egg reserve in the ovaries decreases. This is a slow process but eventually periods stop and fertility ceases. This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. If it happens between the ages of 40-45 this is defined as early menopause and if prior to age 40 is termed primary ovarian insufficiency. If a woman has her ovaries removed via surgery, this process happens suddenly and is caused a surgical menopause.
The time during which ovarian function is declining is known as the perimenopause. It can be associated with a number of symptoms as described below.
Periods can change, becoming less or more frequent, heavier or lighter.
Hot flushes and night sweats are known as vasomotor symptoms
‘Brain fog’, poor word finding, forgetfulness, tearfulness, difficulty concentrating and coping, sleep disturbance and insomnia, anxiety and depression are all symptoms.
Joint pains and stiffness
Palpitations and chest pain
Frequent urinary infections, vaginal dryness, discomfort during sex
Scalp hair loss and increase in facial and body hair
Skin changes, dryness and itch
Breast structure changes
Bone density loss
Some women sail through this transition but many women suffer distressing symptoms that can be helped by appropriate treatment.