What is the menopause?
The menopause is a natural process and happens to every woman as she grows older.
Women produce oestrogen hormones from their ovaries throughout their adult life.
These hormones are important in sexual development and control of the menstrual cycle.
The menopause happens when the level of hormones produced by the ovaries goes down.
This is a gradual process. As the amount of oestrogen produced by your body decreases, the menstrual cycle may become irregular and your period may only occur once every few months. During this time the levels of oestrogen can go up and down. This can cause:
- Hot flushes, night sweats or mood swings
- Vaginal problems such as dryness or itching
- Uncomfortable or painful sexual intercourse You may get the same symptoms if you have had your ovaries taken out in an operation.
Eventually your periods will stop altogether.