Everything You Need To Know About Menopause

Everything You Need To Know About Menopause

22nd May 2024

The Ultimate Guide To Menopause

Looking for information about menopause? Whether you’re a man or woman, it’s important to know about this major life stage for females, so read our guide to menopause to have all your questions answered.

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What is the Definition of Menopause?

If you’ve ever been interested in the menopause meaning, then you’ll be interested to know that menopause is a stage of a woman’s life where their menstruation hormones begin to change and they stop having their period and, therefore, the ability to have children.

But, why does menopause happen? Menopause marks the end of the menstrual cycle.

What Happens During Menopause?

A woman’s ovaries begin to produce less oestrogen and progesterone which affects their body in various ways. It can change how a woman’s energy is used, where fat is stored and a higher chance of gaining weight, changes in bone and cardiovascular health, physical performance as well as appearance. Once they reach postmenopause, women can no longer get pregnant as their ovaries stop releasing eggs.

At What Age is Menopause?

Menopause occurs in different ages between women, but most commonly occurs between ages 45 and 55. It can, however, occur earlier or later in some women, but this is the general women menopause age.

What Are The 3 Stages of Menopause?

There are three types of menopause, each a different phase:

  1. Perimenopause: The period just before menopause where hormone levels start to fall. Periods can become unpredictable and menopausal symptoms may start to be felt.
  2. Menopause: When a woman no longer produces the hormones for her monthly cycle and has gone 12 months without menstruation.
  3. Postmenopause: The stage that women are in for the rest of their life, and where the chances of health conditions are higher.

How Long Can Menopause Last?

So, how long does menopause last? This is different for everyone, but the three stages generally look like this:

Perimenopause: Once you begin perimenopause, your body begins to slowly stop producing certain hormones and you will have irregular and unpredictable periods. During this phase, you may also begin to experience menopausal symptoms. On average, perimenopause lasts about four years.

Menopause: This stage begins once you have no longer had a period for 12 months and typically lasts about seven years, although can be as long as 14. This depends on lifestyle facts, including the age you start menopause, whether you smoke, your race and even your ethnicity.

Postmenopause: This stage is your body after menopause and is the stage you’re in for the rest of your life. For the first few years, you may still experience some symptoms of menopause, but these will ease or stop entirely. This change in hormones, however, means you need to continue monitoring your body and health as there can be an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and urinary tract infections.

Can a Woman Get Pregnant After Menopause?

While it’s true that your ability to have children ends during menopause, if you’re just starting to feel the symptoms of menopause, remember true menopause doesn’t occur until you haven’t experienced a period for 12 months. This means that during perimenopause, you can still get a menopause pregnancy, despite your period being irregular.

As for, ‘Can you get pregnant during menopause?’ once you’ve passed perimenopause and are in full menopause, then no, you cannot get a period as your body is no longer producing the hormones needed for menstruation and pregnancy.

How Can I Prevent Early Menopause?

Some women may go through menopause earlier than normal, either early menopause (before age 45) or premature menopause (before age 40). It’s rare for menopause to happen before age 30, but it has happened.

There are a range of reasons for why early menopause occurs, although sometimes the cause can be unknown. Essentially, anything that can cause your body to stop making oestrogen or that damages your ovaries can cause menopause.

Some causes include:

  • Cancer treatments using chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Surgeries that remove your ovaries or uterus — if you are not taking hormones, you will experience sudden menopause and menopausal symptoms immediately.
  • Family history of early menopause.
  • Getting your first period before age 11.
  • Having chromosomal abnormalities.
  • If you have rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, thyroid disease or other autoimmune diseases.
  • Smoking.
  • If you have HIV or AIDS.
  • If you have an infection like mumps.
  • Having chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis.

If you’re wondering, ‘Can stress cause early menopause?’ there has been a link made between excessive stress and menopause. This is because stress can elevate our stress hormones, which can affect a woman’s reproductive system and oestrogen and progesterone levels, which may accelerate menopause due to the drop in oestrogen.

In terms of ‘how can I prevent menopause?’ you cannot prevent menopause altogether. It’s a stage of life that occurs once the female body can no longer reproduce.

How Does Menopause Affect A Woman?

Despite being a natural process, there are various physical symptoms that affect women, including menopause hot flashes, pain during sex and even breast soreness menopause symptoms. The menopause effect on mental health is also a large one, including menopause mood swings, irritability and depression.

What are the Worst Effects of Menopause?

When in menopause, the female body slowly stops producing eggs and the levels of oestrogen and progesterone decrease. Due to the changes in hormones, the body goes through a range of both physical and emotional menopause symptoms, including:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sexual discomfort
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Insomnia
  • Weight changes
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Increased risk of certain conditions, including osteoporosis and heart disease

These menopause side effects may or may not occur for you but they’re signs of menopause to look out for.

How Do I Know if I’m in Menopause?

If you’re experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, it’s a good idea to see your medical professional to get confirmation. Your doctor may ask you questions about your symptoms, age and family history to help determine whether you’re going through the phase or they may suggest a blood test that can rule out other causes for the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Remember, the signs of menopause at 47 are the same as the signs at 51, so if you’re experiencing them, it’s best to get yourself checked out.

Menopause is a huge change to a woman’s system and is an incredibly difficult time for women, but symptoms can be managed and health risks can be reduced with various treatments, such as hormone therapy, antidepressants, vaginal creams, medication for hot flashes and NMN.

Symptoms can also be managed through lifestyle changes, including:

  • Regular exercise
  • Meditation
  • Eating foods rich in phytoestrogens, such as whole-grain cereals, flaxseed, chickpeas and legumes
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Using water-based lubricant during sex

Some signs that menopause is almost ‘over’ include better sleep, feeling healthier overall and noticing the effects of their hormone levels balancing out, leading to improved mood, energy and cognitive function. You will likely still experience occasional menopausal symptoms for some time until you’re fully in the postmenopausal stage.

Menopause treatments

When looking into a menopause treatment tailored to you, begin by speaking with your doctor as they know your medical history and can help prescribe any specific drugs or recommendations for you.

Let’s start by saying that menopause isn’t an illness that requires medical treatment. It’s best to focus on relieving yourself of the symptoms of menopause and trying to prevent or manage any chronic conditions you become more susceptible to developing as you age.

Let’s go through various treatments you may want to speak with your doctor about.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone, or oestrogen, replacement therapy (HRT) helps relieve menopausal hot flashes. It’s a dose of oestrogen — if you still have your uterus, they will add progesterone with this to help protect the lining of the womb from the effects of oestrogen — that comes as a skin patch, a gel or spray, implants or tablets.

This has been shown to have benefits for some women, with the added benefit of helping prevent bone loss, especially when started around the time of menopause. It may help relieve most symptoms, including hot flashes, brain fog, joint pain, mood swings and vaginal dryness. This is only a short-term treatment, though, since long-term hormonal therapy may have some cardiovascular and breast cancer risks, along with raising the risk of blood clots and stroke.

Vaginal Oestrogen

Oestrogen can also be used directly on the vagina through a vaginal cream, tablet or ring to help reduce vaginal dryness, pain, itchiness and discomfort when you urinate. This small amount of oestrogen is absorbed by the vaginal tissues and can also help with discomfort during intercourse and some urinary symptoms. Keep in mind that symptoms usually come back when you stop using them.

Testosterone Gel

HRT may help to restore your sex drive during menopause, but if it doesn’t, your doctor may prescribe a testosterone gel or cream to help improve this, along with your energy levels and mood. While not common, some side effects of testosterone in women include acne and hair growth, but if you use it, make sure to wash your hands immediately and cover the area with clothing as side effects can occur in people who come into contact with it regularly.

Low-Dose Antidepressants

Antidepressants similar to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) drugs may lower the chances of hot flashes. A low dose of these antidepressants may be a solution for women who can’t take oestrogen due to various health reasons or for those who take antidepressants for a mood disorder.

Low-Dose Hormonal Birth Control

Your doctor may recommend low-dose hormonal birth control if you’re in the premenopausal period, a few years before your final period. This may help reduce hot flashes, vaginal dryness and mood swings, as well as help with heavy or irregular periods during this time. Keep in mind that this can increase your risk of blood clots and high blood pressure. Don’t use hormonal birth control if you smoke.


While it’s used to treat seizures, it can help reduce hot flashes, too, especially in those who can’t do oestrogen therapy and for those that experience night hot flashes.


While clonidine is primarily used to treat high blood pressure, this pill or patch may also help relieve hot flashes.


A hormone-free option for treating hot flashes during menopause. It does this by blocking a certain pathway in the brain that helps regulate our body temperature.


If you’re targeting postmenopausal symptoms and treatment, this hormonal medicinemay help women who are experiencing pain during sex due to vaginal dryness. It’s applied to the vagina once per day.

Medications for Osteoporosis

Certain people may also be recommended treatment that prevents or treats osteoporosis and helps reduce bone loss and the risk of fractures.

Supplements for Menopause

There are various menopause supplements that may help you during this stage of life. Always speak with your doctor before taking any supplements to make sure they’re right for you and not harming your health.


As we get older, we tend to require less food, especially for women during menopause where the same amount of food you always ate feels as though it’s making you stack on the kilos. This makes it incredibly important to continue consuming enough vitamins and minerals that our body requires. A multivitamin can help, as they contain magnesium, calcium and vitamin D, all needed to manage the effects of declining oestrogen and menopausal symptoms.


Women in postmenopause should ensure they are eating a healthy diet and consuming enough calcium for bone health. This is because the risk of osteoporosis and other health issues increases during this time due to the changes in hormones. Women under 51 need 1000mg each day, with women older than this needing 1200mg per day. As a supplement, take small doses with food during the day, no more than 500mg at a time. Speak with your doctor and get a blood test to check your calcium levels and see if you need to take calcium supplements other than what’s in your multivitamin.


There is a strong link between menopause and magnesium, and if you’re not taking a multivitamin, you might want to take a magnesium supplement. About 60 per cent of the magnesium in your body is stored in your bones, which helps prevent osteoporosis. As our oestrogen levels decline during osteoporosis, this can lead to increased bone loss, with a magnesium deficiency also linked to osteoporosis and inflammation.

Magnesium may also improve sleep and the insomnia symptoms of menopause by regulating your body’s natural clock, as well as increasing muscle relaxation. Maintaining optimum magnesium levels may also help with depression symptoms, along with brain function, mood regulation and stress.

If you’re in need of a magnesium supplement, Xandro Lab’s Magnesium Glycinate is highly absorbable, meaning you can experience the benefits faster without the laxative side effects that come with other forms of magnesium, such as the cheap magnesium oxide.

Vitamin D

Your doctor might recommend taking vitamin D supplements to help strengthen your bones and prevent or treat osteoporosis, especially since your body can’t absorb calcium without vitamin D. You need 600IU daily, 800IU per day if you’re over 71.

Vitamin B6

As women age, serotonin (the chemical used for transmitting brain signals) levels drop. Vitamin B6 helps make serotonin, helping reduce fluctuating serotonin levels that may contribute to mood swings, loss of energy and depression. The recommended daily allowance for women is 1.3mg each day between 19 and 50, and then 1.5mg when over 50.


This herb is thought to contain various compounds that have oestrogen-like effects and studies have shown it can help manage menopausal symptoms. Stay clear of sage and its oils if you’re allergic, have high blood pressure or epilepsy, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.


NMN shows promise in reducing ovary aging, conserving eggs and possibly extending female reproductive years. It can reverse insulin resistance in female mice with PCOS, improve metabolic function and reduce fat deposits. In postmenopausal women (ages 55–77) with prediabetes, 250mg of NMN daily for 10 weeks improved muscle insulin sensitivity. More research is needed for its effects on younger women, men, and those with type 2 diabetes or poor kidney health. NMN may also enhance hormone functions by increasing NAD+ levels, potentially improving sleep quality. NMN does not increase estrogen but helps estrogen receptors use existing estrogen more effectively, supporting menstrual cycles and mood regulation.

Further Reading: What to Know About NMN and Menopause

Maca Root Powder

Maca root powder may reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, and improve sleep and mood, especially with 3g of red or black maca root powder daily for 12 weeks. It may reduce exercise-induced fatigue in mice and everyday fatigue in young women, with one study showing an energy boost after 12 weeks of 3g daily maca. Another study found maca root powder may lower blood pressure in postmenopausal women.

Further Reading: A Guide to Maca Root Powder and how it can help with menopause.


A 4-week study found that pomegranate supplements significantly reduced menopausal symptoms, including sweating, hot flashes, insomnia, nervousness, melancholia, vertigo, fatigue, headaches, formication, sexual complaints and urinary tract infections. Even those who stopped taking menopausal medicine saw improvements. Pomegranate supplements, in particular, may enhance the vasomotor, psychological, physical and sexual aspects of menopause-related quality of life.

Further Reading: The Benefits of Pomegranate Supplements and how they may help with menopause.

Xandro Lab’s POM-Q10 has a range of scientific benefits behind it, so try it out today to see if it benefits your menopausal symptoms.

St. John’s Wort

This helps with mild depression and might help improve mood and smooth out the mood swings that come with menopause. This is especially so when combined with black cohosh.

Natural supplements that have conflicting research:

  • Black Cohosh: The roots and stems of black cohosh are sometimes used to help treat menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, and are used fresh or dried into tea, capsules, pills or liquid extracts. Some studies have found no benefits to using black cohosh, though. Don’t take if you have liver problems.
  • Red Clover: This contains phytoestrogens, similar to estrogen, and can be taken as a tea or pill. Due to its oestrogen-like properties, it’s not recommended to take alongside menopausal hormone therapy with oestrogen. Results on red clover have been mixed, with recent studies disproving an increase in uterine cancer risk in women who take it for three months.
  • Soy: The seeds of soy (soybeans) make isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen, but again, it’s not recommended to take if you’re taking menopausal hormone therapy. Soy may be mildly effective in relieving hot flashes.
  • Flaxseed: May help with mild menopause symptoms, although some studies have found no benefits, but they’re a good source of lignans (in ground form) which may balance female hormones.
  • Wild Yam: Some of the natural compounds in certain species of wild yam are similar to oestrogen and progesterone, but clinical studies have yet to find if they ease menopausal symptoms.
  • Ginseng: May help improve quality of life during menopause, like boosting mood and improving sleep, but the physical symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, have not been found in studies on American or Korean ginseng.
  • DHEA: Evidence is mixed on whether DHEA supplements can ease menopause symptoms, like hot flashes and low libido. Speak with your doctor before use as long-term use or high doses of DHEA may raise the risk of breast cancer.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes

Since many of the signs and symptoms of menopause are temporary, there are various measures you can take to help reduce or prevent the effects.

  • Cool down during hot flashes: Try to pinpoint what may cause the hot flash. It may be caffeine, hot drinks, alcohol, spicy foods, stress, hot weather or warm environments. It may help to dress in layers so you can remove one when a flash occurs, to go somewhere cooler or to have a cold drink once one starts.
  • Reduce vaginal discomfort: Look into purchasing a water-based lubricant or a silicone-based lubricant or moisturiser to help during intercourse. Some people are sensitive to glycerine (often found in lubricants), so if this is you, look for one without it to prevent burning or irritation.
  • Sleep more: Try to avoid caffeine and drinking too much alcohol, as these can disrupt sleep. Exercise throughout the day, although not right before you head to bed as your body needs time to wind down.
  • Exercise regularly: Try to exercise or do some form of physical activity most days as this can help protect against conditions linked with aging, such as osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Learn relaxation methods: Learn about how to properly do exercises such as deep breathing, guided imagery, paced breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and massages to help with menopausal symptoms.
  • Strengthen pelvic floors: These muscle exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can help improve loss of urinary control.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Try to improve your diet, including a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while reducing sugars, oils and saturated fats. You may want to look into a multivitamin to make sure you’re meeting daily requirements.
  • Stop smoking: Smoking can increase your risk of various health problems, including heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer and stroke, but it can also bring on earlier menopause and increase hot flashes.

End Note

Menopause is a major life change in a woman’s life and it’s especially important for a woman to surround herself with people who can support her during this time. Hormones are constantly changing, causing symptoms that can be difficult to manage, so if you are struggling, make sure to have a chat with your doctor to see if there are any treatments to help you during this time.

Menopause FAQs

How can I prevent menopause?

Menopause is a natural part of aging for women and cannot be prevented. It typically happens between ages 45 and 55 and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise and managing stress can help manage symptoms.

Does menopause go away by itself?

Menopause itself doesn't go away because it's a permanent change in a woman's body, but the symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes and mood swings, often lessen over time. You might find that your menopause symptoms go away by themselves or that they are manageable without treatment, but many women need help managing symptoms.

Do women’s personalities change during menopause?

Menopause can affect a woman’s mood or irritability levels due to changes in hormones, stress and tiredness. These fluctuations can create a feeling of being out of control, causing further irritability, anxiety and fatigue, making it seem as though a woman’s personality is changing. It’s not, though, and it’s important to note that this is a difficult time in a woman’s life. These changes are usually temporary.

There are relaxation and stress-reducing techniques that women can try to help improve their mood changes, such as massages, deep-breathing exercises, meditation and a healthy lifestyle.

What is the link between sex and menopause?

Some menopause symptoms include dryness in the vagina and lower libido, which can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable. These symptoms are due to decreased estrogen levels but can be managed with treatments like lubricants or hormone therapy. Due to changes in your body and mood swings, this can also affect how you feel about sex, making you feel less interested or even the complete opposite — making you feel freer since you can no longer become pregnant.

Can men go through menopause?

Menopause for men doesn’t occur like menopause for women, but they can go through andropause, a gradual decline in testosterone levels. This can lead to symptoms like fatigue, depression and decreased libido. While not the same as menopause, it’s often thought of as male menopause.

Does PCOS cause early menopause?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) doesn't cause early menopause. In fact, women with PCOS often have a later onset of menopause compared to those without the condition.

Does menopause cause itchy skin?

Yes, menopause can cause itchy skin. The drop in estrogen levels affects the skin's hydration, making it drier and itchier.

Does menopause cause hair loss?

Menopause can lead to hair loss or thinning due to hormonal changes. Reduced estrogen and progesterone levels can affect hair growth.

Does menopause cause insomnia?

Menopause can disrupt a woman’s sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or making you wake up too early. It may also cause night sweats that wake you up and it may be difficult to fall back asleep. This can cause sleep problems, as well as insomnia.

Try dressing in light clothes, using layered bedding that can be easily removed during the night, using a fan to cool down or putting a cold pack on your feet to help with night sweats.

Does menopause cause weight loss?

Menopause typically causes weight gain rather than weight loss. Hormonal changes can slow metabolism and lead to an increase in abdominal fat, as well as possibly cause women to lose muscle and gain fat. To help combat this, some menopause weight gain solutions include moving around more and exercising, looking into menopause and fasting (where you eat less food while paying more attention to your nutrition) cutting back on sweets and limiting alcohol.

Does menopause cause dizziness?

Some women experience dizziness during menopause due to hormonal fluctuations, but it's always good to check with a doctor to rule out other causes if you are experiencing this symptom.