World Menopause Day is held every year on the 18th of October. 

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing.

The theme for this year set out by the International Menopause Society is Cardiovascular Disease.

What is Menopause?

Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman's reproductive years and occurs when the ovaries stop producing eggs, and levels of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone decrease significantly. Menopause typically occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55, but can occur earlier or later.

Menopause can also be induced as a consequence of surgical procedures that involves the removal of both ovaries or medical interventions that cause cessation of ovarian function (for example radiation therapy or chemotherapy).

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is when you have symptoms of menopause but your periods have not stopped. Perimenopause ends and you reach menopause when you have not had a period for 12 months.

While perimenopause and menopause is a normal and natural part of the aging process, it can be challenging for some women to manage the symptoms and changes that accompany it.

The decline in hormone production can cause a variety of symptoms but some of the most common menopausal symptoms include:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Changes to how you experience orgasm
  • Changes to sex drive
  • Heart palpitations
  • Mood changes
  • Joint pain
  • Changes to skin and hair
  • Weight gain, particularly around the waist
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Feeling anxious or irritable
  • A crawling sensation under the skin

What is Andropause?

Andropause also known as the "male menopause" is a gradual condition in men that’s caused by a decrease in testosterone levels. Not all men are affected by andropause, which is one of the reasons it’s not widely known. The levels of testosterone – which is the hormone that creates muscle mass, hair on the face and body and causes a man’s voice to deepen – reduce very slowly, such as by 1% to 2% each year. Unlike menopause in women, andropause in men doesn’t cause infertility.

There is no fixed ‘male menopause age’ or measurable point in time, like there is for women. However, most men who experience age-related testosterone health problems may experience signs and symptoms during their late forties to early fifties, but they can start any time from the age of 30 onwards.

These changes can, as with the menopause, have significant negative health, wellbeing, quality of life and relationship impacts. There are a range of medical terms for the resulting condition, but it is increasingly known as Testosterone Deficiency (low testosterone). Testosterone Deficiency has a range of possible causes, age-related hormone change being one of these.

Despite the gradual onset and effects of andropause, there are various symptoms that men can suffer from, including:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Night sweats
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flushes
  • A low libido
  • Brain fog
  • A lack of energy

Read more about the Male menopause, male menopause symptoms, andropause (