What is the menopause? Woman drinking from a coffee cup.
Home/Cycle Matters / Reproductive Health

What is Menopause?

Many of us have witnessed symptoms of menopause in work colleagues, family, and friends of a certain age. Menopause happens when women stop having periods and are no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Menopause can vary between individuals, with periods becoming less frequent over months or years or stopping suddenly.

Menopause can be a challenging time for women both physically and mentally. Although the content of this article may seem worrying to many, it's important to be aware of menopausal symptoms so women can seek help from their healthcare professional. Recognizing when it may be significantly affecting your everyday activities can help you manage menopause symptoms.

When does menopause start?

This is very individual however it usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. In the U.S. and the UK, the average age of menopause is 51. In 1 out of 100 cases menopause can occur before the age of 40, which is termed premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency. Premature menopause can occur at any age and in the majority of cases, there is no clear cause.

What causes menopause?

Menopause is caused by changes in the balance of the body’s sex hormones as a woman ages. It’s a result of the level of estrogen being released from the ovaries decreasing. This reduces and eventually stops ovulation - the release of eggs from the ovary. 

Menopause symptoms

The majority of women will experience symptoms of menopause and it's important to seek help from your healthcare professional when your everyday activities are severely impacted. 

Menopause symptoms include:

  • Hot flashes 
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness leading to discomfort during sex
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Low mood or anxiety
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Problems with memory and concentration

It's also important to acknowledge that these menopause symptoms can arise months or years before your periods stop and last for approximately four years after your last period, although some women experience them for a longer period of time.

When to see your healthcare professional

If you feel you are experiencing menopausal symptoms that are worrying you or if you are experiencing them below the age of 45, you should seek help from your healthcare professional. Based on your symptoms they can usually confirm if you are menopausal or if you’re under 45, a blood test can be used to measure your hormone levels.

Managing and treating menopausal symptoms

Your healthcare professional may suggest lifestyle changes or offer treatments to help reduce your symptoms. These may include:

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which comes in multiple forms (tablets, skin patches, gels, and implants), that relieve symptoms by replacing estrogen.
  • Vaginal estrogen creams, lubricants, or moisturizers for vaginal dryness.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a talking therapy that can help improve your mood and reduce anxiety.
  • Diet, as always, eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly to maintain a healthy weight can improve some menopausal symptoms.

Natural Cycles and the menopause

For anyone wanting to keep an eye on their menstrual cycles later in life, Natural Cycles can help visualize and track your cycles. It can capture whether or not you have ovulated, and how long your cycles are - useful information to take to your doctor or fertility clinic when discussing the condition. 

Irregular cycles as a result of menopause do not affect the effectiveness of Natural Cycles as a birth control method. However, you may experience an increased number of red (fertile) days as the app allows for your ovulation day to shift from cycle to cycle.

A fertility app that’s tailored to you

If you’re interested in getting to know your body better, Natural Cycles is a fertility app that learns the pattern of your unique menstrual cycle. By taking your temperature every day and inputting it in the app, our algorithm can then find your ovulation, and can tell you your own personal fertile window. This science can then be used either as non-hormonal birth control or to plan a pregnancy. Becoming aware of the pattern of your own cycle is also useful for those with conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis

Did you enjoy reading this article?

Discover Natural Cycles° today

Jack in a suit and tie holding a microphone and giving a presentation.

Written By

Jack Pearson

Dr. Jack Pearson is a previously HCPC registered Embryologist with a PhD in reproductive medicine. Prior to joining Natural Cycles leading Medical Affairs, he worked for more than 10 years in a clinical setting working at some of the busiest fertility clinics in the UK. Today he spends most of his time working with experts at the world’s leading institutions to carry out important research with the vision to further the field of female health. He earned his PhD from the University of Sheffield specializing in Sperm Metabolism and currently lives in London.

Featured Posts

Birth Control

A Birth Control App, not a Period Tracker

4 min read

Birth Control

11 Non-hormonal birth control methods and how they work

13 min read

Birth Control

Switching birth control methods: what you need to know

9 min read

Want to learn more about a hormone-free future?

Subscribe to our newsletter for access to our latest articles, exclusive promotions and more.

Keep reading...

Reproductive Health

How long does ovulation last?

Ovulation only lasts for approximately 24 hours in each cycle, as this is the maximum life of the female egg cell. Finding this short window can be tricky, but by no means impossible! In this article, we’ll dive into how to predict and confirm ovulation, the best time to have sex in the cycle to maximize chances of conceiving, and some tips on getting pregnant faster.

5 min read

Reproductive Health

What is brain fog?

Have you ever felt like you can’t concentrate when reading or watching TV? Or do you have trouble remembering things? If you have these symptoms, you might be experiencing brain fog. It’s something that many of us will experience at some point in our lives, particularly just before we get our periods, or during perimenopause and menopause. But what exactly is it, and why does it happen? Let’s take a closer look…

7 min read

Reproductive Health

What is a normal sperm count?

Join us as we take a look at male fertility, from what’s considered a normal sperm count to get pregnant, to other factors such as sperm motility and morphology. We'll unpack these technical terms and cover your options, such as sperm testing. Plus we'll introduce you to one step you can take today to better prepare yourself for pregnancy today. Read on to find out more.

6 min read