Definitions and Symptoms

We know that hormone health and the menopause can often be confusing, with a plethora of medical terminology. To help with this, we have included a useful list below, of common terms and their definitions. We have also listed a variety of symptoms that are associated with the perimenopause, menopause and post menopause. 


Menopause is the stage in a woman’s life when she has not experienced a natural menstrual period for a continuous year (unless medication is used to suppress periods). The average age for menopause in the UK is around 51, but it is considered normal for it to occur anywhere between ages 45 – 55.  After menopause, a woman is referred to as postmenopausal.


This is the period during which menopausal symptoms start to appear while you are still menstruating, although your periods may become more frequent, less frequent, lighter, or heavier. This phase can extend for up to a decade and concludes once you have experienced 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle

Surgical Menopause

Surgical menopause occurs when a woman’s ovaries are surgically removed, typically during a bilateral oophorectomy. This leads to a sudden onset of menopausal symptoms due to the abrupt decrease in oestrogen and testosterone levels.

Medical Menopause

Medical menopause can be induced by treatments like chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or certain medications, resulting in the cessation of ovarian function and the onset of menopausal symptoms.

Early Menopause

Early menopause refers to menopause occurring before the age of 45.

Premature Ovarian Insufficiency

Premature ovarian insufficiency is a condition where menopause sets in before the age of 40. It affects approximately 1 in 100 women. It is crucial for women diagnosed with early menopause or POI to consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to safeguard their heart and bone health, even though some may have concerns about it.


Hormone-related symptoms can vary widely among women and can affect various parts of the body. These symptoms can include: irregular periods; hot flashes; night sweats; sleep disturbances; migraines; palpitations; fatigue; muscle and joint discomfort; vaginal dryness; urinary issues; decreased libido; breast tenderness; skin and hair changes; mood swings; cognitive difficulties; and more. It’s important to note that not all women experience the same symptoms, and they can persist for several years, with an average duration of about 7 years.

Urinary symptoms
Oestrogen receptors in the bladder, vulva, and pelvic floor rely on oestrogen for normal bladder control and function. As oestrogen levels decrease, structural changes can lead to urinary frequency, urgency, and recurrent urinary tract infections.
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