Symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats and hot flushes are often the main indication that a woman is going through the menopause.
Menopause is defined as when periods stop, but symptoms can begin before that time. Some women also experience menopause earlier than others.
Diagnosis of menopause will involve a doctor asking about symptoms and changes to periods, taking into account the woman's age.
If there is uncertainty, or if the woman is under 40, tests may be arranged to confirm a diagnosis of menopause. A common test is the FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) test. This blood test measures FSH levels which rise during menopause.
Once a diagnosis of menopause is confirmed, there are some questions many women will want to ask their doctor.
10 questions to ask your doctor about the menopause
- Do I need treatment for my menopause?
- Is hormone replacement therapy right for me?
- What side effects can I expect from hormone replacement therapy?
- Am I at high risk of heart disease?
- Should I undergo bone density screening? How often should I be screened?
- Should I be taking medicines to protect my bones and my heart?
- Could any medicines other than oestrogen help relieve my hot flushes or other symptoms?
- Do you recommend soya supplements or other natural remedies?
- Could you help me set up an exercise programme?
- What other lifestyle changes could be especially helpful for me?