Common Symptoms of the Menopause

When it comes to menopausal symptoms, some women may feel relieved that they no longer have to be concerned about getting pregnant or suffering painful periods. Yet for others, this menopausal transition can generate depression, irritability, moodiness, painful sex, insomnia, hot flushes, or a mixture of the aforementioned [1]. – In which case, the smart move is to book an online or in-person appointment with a Vulva Doctor. – A much highly experienced medic who is extremely understanding, and sensitive towards women’s issues; and one who is abreast of the current cutting-edge treatments that can make the transition as smooth as possible, with a multi-faceted Holistic Personalised Treatment Plan

Putting a Spotlight on Menopause & Perimenopause

The Facts

As a Vulva Consultant will tell you: “menopause is a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period. The years leading up to that point, when women may have changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other symptoms, are called the menopausal transition or perimenopause. The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about seven years but can be as long as 14 years” [1]

The amount of time that the menopause transition takes place, is subject to a number of factors. These include:
• Your age when it begins
• Smoking, and other lifestyle factors
• Your ethnicity and race [1]

Throughout perimenopause, there is a great variability in the production of the two hormones, progesterone and oestrogen, (both of which are generated by the ovaries). Moreover, the transition into menopause impacts every woman uniquely, and in different ways:
• They start to utilise energy differently
• Their fat cells change, and
• They can find themselves putting on weight more easily
• They may also experience changes in their heart or bone health, their physical functioning, and their body composition and shape [1].

Menopausal Symptoms to Look Out For

Of note, this list includes common midlife changes, a number of which could be down to aging, as opposed to being directly related to the menopause:
• A change in your period, (you may notice this first). Your periods may stop being regular. Moreover, you may bleed less, or more than normal. And your periods may last longer, or be shorter. These changes are all normal, however, in order to be sure that there is not an issue, consult a Vulva Doctor if:
• Your periods occur very close together
• You have spotting
• You experience heavy bleeding
• Your periods go on for more than 7 days
• Your periods re-start after no bleeding for over 12 months
• You experience hot flashes. Of note: in some cases, these can go on for many years post-menopause. A hot flash describes a sudden feeling of heat all over, or just in the upper region of your body. Your neck and face may become flushed. And cold shivering and heavy sweating can ensue. Hot flashes could be linked to changing oestrogen levels. They may be mild, or forceful enough to awaken you in the night (night sweats). Generally speaking, hot flashes last for anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. They can occur a few times each hour, several times a day, or only once or twice per week [1]

Ascertaining That it is Actually Menopause

If you are undergoing common menopausal symptoms, then after knowing your age, reviewing your medical history, and hearing about your symptoms; in some instances, your Vulva Doctor may conduct a blood test in order to determine your levels of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and E2 (estradiol) levels. This will determine whether there are any other reasons for the changes that you are experiencing [1].


[1]. National Institute on Aging (NIH) (2024). “What Is Menopause?.”