FAQs

All of the most commonly asked questions about perimenopause and menopause in one place.

We've pulled together all of your most commonly asked questions about perimenopause and menopause and got them answered in one place.

Browse below through the FAQs or select a different tab depending on the information that you need.

If there's a question missing that you'd like answered, please let us know.

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What is the difference between perimenopause and menopause?

Menopause can affect women in many different and individual ways. After the age of about 40 our hormone levels (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone) start to decrease and fluctuate and women enter into ‘perimenopause’ – the phase of life leading up to menopause. These hormonal changes lead to a wide range of symptoms – with 34 symptoms most commonly identified as part of this phase.

For some women, symptoms can begin much earlier than 40 years old, and for others it can be later in life too. Menopause is officially confirmed once a women has had no periods for 12 months.

What are the signs and symptoms of perimenopause and menopause?

There are at least 34 symptoms that women may experience during perimenopause and menopause. We have produced a helpful checklist which includes a notes area for you to track your own symptoms and prepare for your doctors appointment.

We recommend that you take a copy of this list along with your notes to any appointment with a GP or other healthcare provider.

You do not need to experience all 34 symptoms to be in menopause or perimenopause. Likewise, you may experience some of these symptoms for reasons other than menopause too.

When and where should i go for help with my perimenopause and menopause symptoms?

It’s likely your usual general practitioner (GP) will be your first port of call for help. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your first appointment.

It’s worth being aware that unfortunately GPs receive very little training in menopause.

As campaigner Diane Danzebrink explained for this website: “it is now clear that education for healthcare professionals on the subject of menopause is poor and sometimes non-existent and many GPs, often the first port of call, are simply not equipped to help. This is not the fault of the individual GP but that of those who set the curriculum for their training.”

A specialist in menopause and perimenopause can be your next port of call. By meeting with a Menopause Doctor you will ensure you receive the correct support, help and treatment that you need for your symptoms from someone who has a specialism in this area.

We have a directory of menopause specialists that we can recommend to you. The directory is searchable so you can find a specialist that is best suited to your needs.

Use our directory here to find a specialist to support you.

The British Menopause Society also carries a list of menopause specialists that you can contact if you are based in the UK or head over to your own regional menopause society to search for experts local to you.

We also offer monthly small group sessions with a doctor, giving you the opportunity to meet other women in a similar situation and ask all of your questions in a safe, confidential setting. Find out more about these sessions 'The Menopause Lounge' here.

What is HRT and is it safe?

HRT is a safe option for many women going through perimenopause and menopause, to help relieve symptoms by replacing the oestrogen that has been lost as we age. This article explains exactly what HRT is and the benefits it can bring during menopause.

There is contradictory and often misleading information from time to time in the media about HRT.

To help, world-leading expert Dr Avrum Bluming, co-authored the best-selling book ‘Oestrogen Matters’. In this book, Dr Bluming explored the benefits and risks of HRT and the links with breast cancer, heart health, osteoporosis and Alzheimers. You can watch some video clips of Dr Bluming explaining some of his key findings here.

You might also find useful this video interview with the BBC’s Kirsty Lang and menopause specialist Dr Tina Peers about why they both chose HRT after breast cancer.

Ultimately, The Latte Lounge believes that women should have access to the right information and support in order to make an informed decision about HRT – or indeed all aspects of their own health. This is why we have a directory of specialists to support you in your decision making process.

What other lifestyle options can i consider to support me during perimenopause and menopause?

We have some great articles and video interviews that can support you to manage your health, nutrition, fitness and weight management goals either instead of using HRT, or alongside it:

Managing your menopause without HRT – Dr Louise Newson talks through tips for your nutrition, exercise and other ideas to manage your menopause without HRT.

Using yoga to manage menopause – Yoga is now recommended by the NHS as a relaxing activity that may help with mood swings, low mood and anxiety around the time of the menopause.

Weight management - you will find lots of interesting articles, tips and support here, on how to manage your weight through nutrition, including some of the below:

The secret to weight loss in your 40s and beyond – A nutritionist’s advice on how to work with your fluctuating hormones and bodily changes rather than against them.

The best foods to eat during perimenopause and menopause – A guide to the food to incorporate in your diet (and why they’re so beneficial during menopause) by nutritionist and Dr Harriet Holme.

Good mood food to beat the menopause blues – Nutritionist Jackie Lynch explains which food can help you overcome anxiety and low mood during menopause.

Top 5 nutrients to support you through perimenopause and menopause - Viridian Nutrition’s Jenny Carson shares her top 5 nutrients to support you through

and shows you how to kick the sugar habit for good. She also demystify supplements for your 40s, 50s and beyond including a complete guide to Vitamin D

Explore our many fitness articles too, including this great VIDEO INTERVIEW: Keeping fit in your 40s, 50s & beyond with Founder of Passion Fit online workouts, Reena Voukon

Do I still need to use contraception if i'm menopausal?

Although you may be having symptoms relating to the menopause years before your periods end, your ovaries may still be working, all be it sporadically, and they can continue to do so for a while after the menopause. So you do need to think about safe sex, both from the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. For more information, read this article by GP and menopause specialist, Dr Philippa Kaye.

How can I increase my libido?

"Testosterone, that’s the male hormone right?  Well, not quite, females have it too, though in lower amounts than males.  Women have three sex hormones: oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone and levels of all three of these hormones fall after the menopause.  Testosterone is made in the ovaries but also in the adrenal glands which are found above the kidneys and the levels gradually fall throughout adulthood, even before the menopause.  Now, although the levels of testosterone are lower after the menopause there still is some present and without the opposing effect of lots of oestrogen the effects of the testosterone can be ‘unmasked’, leading to hair on your face or hair loss on your scalp.

Testosterone is involved in your libido, your sex drive as well as your sexual responses themselves, in arousal and ability to reach orgasm.  Aside from sex it also has role to play in your energy level or fatigue, in memory and concentration, in muscle mass and metabolic rate.  In fact when it is prescribed as part of HRT, women often say they feel more back to their normal selves again, that they just ‘feel better’.

Read more from our resident dr Philippa Kaye in this article, about the role of testosterone and how, where and why it’s worth discussing this really important hormone with your dr or menopause specialist.

What can I do about recurrent UTI's and urinary incontinence?

UTI's and urinary incontinence are common during the peri-menopause and menopause. If you are suffering with these symptoms, please speak to your dr or see a menopause or pelvic floor health expert. We have many specialists who can support you in our directory here.

We also have some excellent articles and books written by some of our pelvic health specialists here:

The Pelvic Floor Bible

Pelvic Health - its no laughing matter (or is it?)

Must-read books about perimenopause and menopause

How can I cure vaginal atrophy/dryness?

Please speak to your Dr or a menopause specialist if you are suffering with vaginal dryness/atrophy which may well be affecting not just your physical and mental health but also your sex life. Please also read this fantastic article and book by Jane Lewis, on managing vaginal dryness in menopause.

What should I do if I am experiencing unusual or heavy bleeding?

Please see your Dr immediately if you are concerned about any unusual or heavy bleeding. It could be nothing but it is always worth getting checked out incase its a symptom of any other underlying issue. You may be referred to a gynaecologist for further investigations. There is also lots of very helpful information on our charity partner (THE EVE APPEAL) website here. They have a free 'Ask Eve' helpline if you have any questions you need some advice on.

I have endometriosis and have been recommended various treatment options including an ablation or hysterectomy, what is involved?

Many women experience heavy bleeding as they go through perimenopause and menopause and often their drs will offer treatment options such as an ablation or hysterectomy.

Considering a hysterectomy is a really big decision, especially for women whose families are not complete, as often drs will suggest that the ovaries are removed too.

Key hole option/lasering are usually discussed first as well as trying progesterone or similar drugs.

If your family is definitely finished, then surgery might just radically improve your life and relieve you of pain and bleeding but please make sure you discuss HRT before the operation as you will go straight into menopause once your ovaries are removed.

The rate of hysterectomy has fallen dramatically, for women with heavy periods whose families are complete though, with a day case surgical technique called ‘Endometrial Ablation’ which you may also want to discuss with your dr first.

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