What are the symptoms of menopause?
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Menopause is a biological process marking the end of a woman’s reproductive years. While it is a normal part of ageing, the transition into menopause can bring about numerous physical and emotional changes. Recognizing and understanding the symptoms of menopause is essential for women to navigate this transformative phase of life with confidence and optimal well-being. Here, we will explore the common signs and symptoms associated with menopause, empowering women with the knowledge to manage their health.

1. Irregular Menstrual Cycles

Irregular menstrual cycles serve as a prominent indication that menopause may be approaching. As women age, their ovaries gradually produce fewer hormones and significant changes in their menstrual patterns. This irregularity is often an early signal of the hormonal shifts occurring during perimenopause, the transitional phase preceding menopause. During perimenopause, women may experience changes in the duration, intensity, and timing of their menstrual cycles. These fluctuations can manifest as:

  • Shorter or Longer Periods: Menstrual cycles may become shorter and last fewer days than usual. Conversely, cycles may also lengthen, leading to periods that persist for an extended period.
  • Lighter or Heavier Bleeding: Some women may notice lighter menstrual flow, while others may experience heavier bleeding during their periods. This discrepancy is because of hormonal fluctuations.
  • Unpredictable Timing: The inconsistency of menstrual cycles can result in irregular intervals between periods, making it difficult for women to predict the occurrence of their next menstruation.

While some observe a gradual transition, others may encounter more pronounced changes. Consult a healthcare provider or gynaecologist to understand and manage these changes effectively.

2. Hot flushes and Night Sweats

Hot flushes and night sweats are the well-known symptoms of menopause. Women experiencing Hot flushes feel intense heat that spreads throughout their bodies, often accompanied by flushing of the face and neck, seeing a marked colour change of their skin around the face and rest of the body. These episodes can last a few minutes with excessive sweating. Night sweats are Hot flushes occurring during sleep, which can disrupt sleep patterns and cause daytime fatigue. Key points to consider:

  • Sudden and intense Heat: Hot flushes bring about a sudden surge of heat that spreads throughout the body, primarily in the upper body, face, and neck. This intense and uncomfortable heat sensation characterizes hot flushes.
  • Flushing and Redness: Hot flushes often cause skin flushing, particularly in the face and neck. The skin becomes noticeably red during hot flushes.
  • Duration and Frequency: Hot flushes vary, typically lasting a few minutes. They can occur sporadically or multiple times throughout the day. The frequency and intensity of hot flushes differ among women.
  • Excessive Sweating: Many women experience excessive sweating following a hot flash. This excessive sweating can contribute to discomfort and dampness.
  • Disrupted Sleep Patterns: Night sweats and hot flushes can disrupt sleep patterns. They lead to excessive sweating, discomfort, and interruptions in sleep. As a result, daytime fatigue may occur, affecting overall well-being.

Some experience mild and infrequent episodes, while others have more intense and frequent occurrences. Each woman’s experience is unique. Managing hot flushes and night sweats involves making lifestyle adjustments. In some cases, seeking medical interventions. Consider the following strategies:

  • Dress in layers and wear breathable fabrics to manage body temperature.
  • Keep the bedroom environment cool using a fan or adjusting the thermostat.
  • Practice stress-reduction techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, as stress can trigger hot flushes.
  • Avoid triggers like spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol and smoking, as they can worsen symptoms for some women.
  • If hot flushes and night sweats are significantly affecting one’s daily life, it is important to discuss with a healthcare provider regarding treatment options, which may include hormonal replacement therapy or non-hormonal medications.

3. Vaginal Changes

Decreased oestrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause lead to changes in the vaginal area. Women often experience vaginal dryness resulting in discomfort, itching and pain during intercourse. Furthermore, the vaginal tissues may become thinner, less elastic, and more susceptible to infection. Key points to be aware of are:

  • Vaginal Dryness: Menopause causes a decrease in oestrogen, leading to reduced vaginal lubrication. It can result in vaginal dryness, making sexual intercourse uncomfortable or painful.
  • Discomfort, Itching and Pain: Vaginal dryness may cause discomfort, itching and irritation in the vaginal area. It can affect daily activities and intimacy, impacting a woman’s quality of life.
  • Thinning and Reduced Elasticity: Oestrogen decline can contribute to the thinning of vaginal tissues and decreased elasticity. These changes can further exacerbate discomfort and make the vagina more prone to tearing during intercourse.

Increased Susceptibility to Infection: The thinner and less elastic vaginal tissues are more vulnerable to infections, such as urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections.

Some potential solutions may include:

  • Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants.
  • Hormone therapy, such as oestrogen-based pessaries, or creams or rings.
  • Lifestyle changes.

4. Sleep Disturbances

Sleep disturbances are common during menopause and can include difficulty falling asleep, staying awake most of the nights or not having restful sleep. Factors such as hot flushes, night sweats and hormonal fluctuations contribute to these disruptions. Lack of quality sleep can lead to daytime fatigue, mood changes and reduced overall well-being. Implementing healthy sleep habits and seeking medical advice if sleep disturbances persist is crucial.

5. Mood Swings and Emotional Changes

Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can influence mood and emotions. Women may experience mood swings, irritability, anxiety and even depression. These emotional changes can vary in intensity and duration, affecting one’s overall quality of life. Engaging in stress reduction techniques, maintaining a balanced lifestyle and seeking support from loved ones or healthcare professionals can be beneficial during this period.

6. Changes in Sexual Function

Menopause can affect sexual function and desire. Alongside vaginal dryness, women may experience reduced libido, discomfort during intercourse, or difficulty achieving orgasm. Open communication with a partner and consultation with a healthcare provider can help address these changes and explore potential solutions, such as lubricants, hormone therapy, or other interventions.

7. Changes in Bone Health

Oestrogen plays a crucial role in preserving bone density. However, as women enter menopause and experience a decline in oestrogen levels, they become more vulnerable to bone loss and osteoporosis. Although symptoms may not be immediately evident, the long-term consequences can include an increased risk of fractures. To promote and sustain strong bones during and after menopause, adopting strategies is essential. These include regular exercise, consuming a diet rich in calcium and engaging in open discussions about bone health with a healthcare provider.


Understanding the symptoms of menopause is essential for women to navigate this transformative stage of life with confidence and well-being. While the symptoms mentioned above are commonly associated with menopause, it’s important to note that every woman’s experience can be unique. Consulting with a trusted gynaecologist or healthcare professional can provide personalized guidance and support, ensuring that women receive the care and resources necessary to manage their symptoms and maintain optimal health during menopause. Book your appointment at Top Gynaecologists today!

Vivek Nama
Vivek Nama

I'm a Consultant Gynaecologist and Lead Gyn Oncologist at Croydon University Hospital. I pride myself on delivering compassionate and cost-effective care to all my patients. Patient satisfaction and experience are quintessential pillars of all my predominant decisions. With over 18 years of experience in gynaecology and gynaecological oncology, I strive to offer an evidence-based approach to my practice. It has been made effortless through my research activities and the many national and international presentations. If you are concerned about your gynaecological condition, I will be able to help you.