Menopause is a natural biological event in a woman’s life, commencing when her period stops. It is a normal part of ageing. Menopause can also be induced medically, for example as a result of chemotherapy or the surgical removal of a woman's ovaries due to other medical conditions. Sometimes menopause, occurs prematurely in women who are less than 40 years old.

Menopause - myths and facts

  • Myth: Menopause doesn't require medical treatment

    Fact: Some women who undergo menopause naturally do not require medical assistance to deal with their symptoms. Other women do require treatment, in particular, women for whom menopause occurred prematurely. Healthy living, natural, complementary therapies and other medications may assist with menopause symptoms. For example:

    • herbs and phytoestrogens
    • menopause hormone therapy (MHT) - also known as hormone replacement therapy or HRT
    • some antidepressant medications
    • other medications - such as clonidine (used for high blood pressure) and gabapentin (used for chronic pain or epilepsy)
  • Myth: Once a woman's period stops, she doesn't need to use contraception because she can't fall pregnant
    Fact: It is recommended that women use contraception to prevent pregnancy until they have had one year without a natural period if they are over 50 years old, or two years without a natural period if they are under 50. Condoms are still required after this time to protect from sexually transmissible diseases when having sex with a new sexual partner. 
  • Myth: Hot flushes are the only symptom of menopause

    Fact: Women may experience a number of other symptoms including:

    • night sweats
    • aches and pains
    • crawling or itching sensations under the skin
    • forgetfulness
    • headaches
    • irritability
    • lack of self-esteem
    • reduced sex drive (libido)
    • tiredness
    • difficulty sleeping - wakefulness or waking hot and sweaty
    • urinary frequency
    • vaginal dryness
    • discomfort with sexual intercourse.

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Sexually transmissible infections

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Jean Hailes for Women's Health

Last updated: March 2018

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