3 Stages of Menopause

menopause perimenopause clinicThe journey around menopause can be a difficult time for women, so it helps to understand what is going on and what to expect in the 3 stages of perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.  

Full menopause can be a long process, commonly lasting around 4 years, although 1 in 10 women will be in the perimenopause for over 10 years.

It helps to understand the 3 stages involved.

1/ Perimenopause – Stage 1

Perimenopause is often thought of as the stage leading up to menopause; but in actual fact the word means ‘around menopause’.

It refers to the  transition time during which your body moves towards full menopause – which is the point at which periods fully stop and a woman is unable to conceive naturally. Perimenopause symptoms are caused by a decrease in oestrogen production.

Thinking about the perimenopause as the run up to menopause can be misleading and many women experience its symptoms without understanding what is going on. It can be very frustrating to feel tired, depressed and irritable without any real cause.

Irregular periods are just one symptom. Often irregular bleeding is an early sign of perimenopause; but for many women, menstruation can remain largely uninterrupted during the first stages of perimenopause, although they may experience other symptoms such as tiredness or irritability as a result of the changing hormone levels. Other symptoms may include hot flushes, mood swings or sleeping problems.

The latter stages of perimenopause can be the hardest, with anxiety often accompanying an increase in symptoms.

Most women start perimenopause in their 40s but it can be earlier and in the case of early perimenopause, symptoms can be particularly severe.

2/ Menopause

Full menopause follows the final menstrual period and is confirmed when a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months.

It may sound like this would be a relief, but for many women the perimenopause symptoms don’t stop. Living with less oestrogen can be a difficult adjustment for the body, and so problems with sleeping and hot flushes commonly continue long after the last period.

This can be particularly difficult after a long and problematic perimenopause.

3/ Post-Menopause

After menopause, the risk of certain medical conditions increases due to the depletion of oestrogen. Potential issues include:

  • Osteoporosis – increased risk of fracture due to weaker bones
  • Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
  • Urinary incontinence and/or UTI (urinary tract infections) as the pelvic floor tissues become less elastic
  • Vaginal dryness and lower libido
  • Weight gain

Menopause Clinic London

The Smart Clinics offers support for women throughout all stages of the menopause. The menopause clinic is led by a team of experts from The Female Health Clinic, recognised by the BMS (British Menopause Society).

Many women have been helped to regain a better quality of life and the message is that it is never too late to seek help – whatever you are experiencing!

Hormone replacement therapies can be helpful not only in reducing symptoms during the perimenopause, but also provide some protection against post-menopause concerns such as brittle bones and weaker pelvic floor muscles.


Private Healthcare London

The Smart Clinics is a private healthcare company established in 2013, offering a membership-based alternative to NHS care for individuals and families. Vital health services include private GPs, travel clinic, sexual health, skin treatments, psychology, physiotherapy and much more. There are also a range of children’s services available, including immunisation and health visitors. The Smart Clinics brings together a host of medical professionals offering patients high quality health services in a choice of accessible London clinic locations.

For more information contact us on info@thesmartclinics.co.uk or call  020 7052 0070.

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