Sometime in your 40s or 50s, you will experience the process of menopause. This represents the natural decline in fertility, and the end of the menstrual cycle. Find out what to expect as you go through menopause.

Eventually, menstruation comes to an end, typically in the late 40s or early 50s. When you have had no periods for a full year, you are considered to be menopausal. The period of time when your periods are slowing down, becoming irregular, and your hormones are changing is called ‘perimenopause’. Most women experience some symptoms related to the change in hormones that happens as the cycles slow down. There are many things you can do to cope with perimenopausal symptoms if they become difficult to manage.

What is menopause?

Menopause is considered to have occurred when a woman has not had a menstrual period in 12 consecutive months. The period of time leading up to this milestone is called perimenopause. During perimenopause, monthly cycles begin to change, becoming lighter (or in some cases heavier) and more irregular, and a number of symptoms may be experienced. Just as menstruation is a different experience for every woman, so too is menopause. Some women experience virtually no symptoms, while others have a lot of difficulty with their symptoms. If your symptoms are interfering with your life, contact your doctor. There are numerous treatments available to help ease discomforts.

What are the symptoms of perimenopause?

Changes in your hormone levels related to the ending of your menstrual cycles can cause certain symptoms. These include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • A change in sexual desire
  • Changes to skin texture and appearance
  • Bladder control problems
  • Vaginal fluid changes (dryness)
  • Disruption of sleep patterns (difficulty sleeping)
  • Mood swings
  • Memory loss

When do I expect symptoms to start?

Women typically experience menopause between the ages of 45 and 58.

What treatments are there to manage my symptoms?

For information on the management and treatment of the symptoms of menopause, see