Menopause is the permanent end of periods and is only diagnosed with certainty when a woman has not had a period for 12 months.
The average age of the menopause in the UK is 51 years although for some it is earlier and for others, later.
A variety of changes may be evident in the run up to the menopause. For example, your periods may become irregular and you may develop drier skin, headaches, hot flushes or sweats, vaginal dryness or soreness, changes in the way the bladder works, sleep disturbance and memory issues. Most women cope well with the physical and psychological changes of the menopause but for some the impact is profound.