Menopause symptoms

Changes to your regular menstrual period could be a sign that you are entering perimenopause, the phase of transitioning to menopause. It is common for women to experience symptoms during this time, though these are not always bothersome. 

Common menopause symptoms

  • Hot flushes and night sweats (most severe in the year around the final period) 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Tiredness 
  • Pain in your joints 
  • Dry vagina 

If you are concerned about your symptoms, it is important to speak to a doctor. You can also read more information on common symptoms on the Australian Menopause Society website. 

Other changes in our bodies as we age – what’s the link to menopause?

There are a few changes that may occur to our bodies as we age that are often ‘blamed’ on menopause, however the links are much less direct. Nonetheless, these changes can be distressing, and if so it’s important to seek help and support.  

A common myth is that menopause contributes to weight gain, however this is not the case – weight gain occurs throughout life. Rather, menopausal hormonal changes may influence where this occurs. During and after menopause weight gain may be more noticeable around the stomach rather than hips, thighs, and buttocks as in younger women. 

Illustration in menopause symptoms

Problems with urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (uterus, vagina or bladder) are more common as women get older but are not due to menopause. The main risk factors for urinary incontinence and prolapse are ageing and vaginal birth, as well as smoking, higher body weight, constipation, and previous pelvic surgery. Menopausal Hormone Therapy can increase the risk of urinary incontinence – something to be aware of for those of us considering MHT.

Finally, mental health can decline during the menopause transition for some people. The evidence is very mixed on this issue as there are many different factors involved, including:

  • whether you have experienced depression previously (this may increase your chances of depression recurring during menopause),
  • how bothersome your menopausal symptoms are and whether you can find helpful ways of managing them,
  • how well-supported you are, and 
  • what else is happening in your life.

To find out more, see our section on Mental health and menopause 

The good news is that, if you are finding any of these changes are bothering you, there are things you can do. A few suggestions are below:


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Australasian Menopause Society (2019) Lifestyle and behavioural modifications for menopausal symptoms. 

Australasian Menopause Society (2022) What is menopause? 

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