Symptoms and Signs of Menopause

So... the menopause occurs on average at the age of 51 years, but symptoms and signs of menopause are noted [and perhaps most troublesome] in the ten years leading up to the menopause - the perimenopause.

However, it is only about one in ten women who will suffer symptoms troublesome enough to seek medical treatment. Others may benefit from self-help techniques and natural remedies, and some will only remember mild symptoms in retrospect.

Despite all this attention being focused on the years leading up to the menopause itself, it is equally important that we learn about the long term effects of the post menopause years. Early attention to lifestyle can help to prevent some of these serious and debilitating problems.

Short Term Effects

I have included in this category those symptoms and signs which are primarily related to the changing hormonal levels of the perimenopause and early menopause but which tend to naturally resolve either during or in the year or two after the menopause once hormonal levels begin to settle.

Hot flushes

Night sweats and insomnia

Changes in the periods - irregular, heavy, painful, missed periods

Breast symptoms - tenderness, increase in lumpiness, swelling

Hormonal mood symptoms - PMS

Mood swings


Breast changes - pain, lumpiness

Gall stones and gall bladder infection

Medium Term Effects

This category includes symptoms which sometimes start during the hormonal changes of the early years of menopause but which can also persist during the postmenopausal years.


Palpitations [awareness of the heart beat]

Indigestion and constipation

Joint pain


Loss of libido

Weight gain - the middle age spread

Vaginal dryness


Urinary problems - incontinence, urgency, frequency, infections

Memory problems and lack of clarity

Dry skin

Hair changes and hair loss

Long Term Effects

Long term effects are related to the lower level of female hormones in the postmenopausal years.

Heart disease


Metabolic syndrome and diabetes

Underactive thyroid - see thyroid and menopause


January 2011: They say there is always a silver lining, and for those of you who are suffering with troublesome menopausal symptoms - here it is. The results of this new medical study are due to be published in one of the major cancer medical journals next month.

It appears that women who have suffered perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms - and particularly those who experienced more intense symtoms, for example hot flushes severe enough to wake them at night - show a 40%-60% reduction in the risk of the most common types of breast cancer.

Read more about hot flushes

Return from Symptoms and Signs of Menopause to menopause-medic homepage


This video contains irreverent material - best avoided if you're feeling sensitive about the menopause

For the female perspective - see Victoria Wood in action ...


Menopause hot flushes

Go to menopause hot flushes