What is Menopause?

The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.

Periods usually start to become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop permanently.

The menopause is a natural and usually occurs between ages of 45 and 55; in the UK the average age is 51.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

HRT is a treatment to relieve symptoms of the menopause. It replaces hormones that are at a lower level as you approach the menopause.

HRT, like any other medication, has risks as well as benefits.

HRT can increase the risk of breast, ovarian and womb cancer, but the increased risk is small for most women, unless you have specific personal risks (eg past medical history or a family history). For some, the benefits of taking HRT may outweigh the risks.

You can find out more specific information, including data, about risks here.



HRT can help relieve most of the menopausal symptoms, such as:

  • hot flushes
  • night sweats
  • mood swings
  • vaginal dryness
  • reduced sex drive
  • osteoporosis


HRT may not be suitable if you:

  • have a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer or womb cancer
  • have a history of blood clots
  • have untreated high blood pressure – your blood pressure will need to be controlled before you can start HRT
  • have liver disease


There are alternatives to HRT - take a look here for more information.

Tests to check for menopause

Menopause (or peri-menopause) is a clinical diagnosis, and there isn't a blood test that can specifically confirm it.

If you have symptoms, we may arrange a blood test to check for other causes eg thyroid.

If you have symptms of menopause under the age of 45, we may arange a blood test to check your hormone levels.

Type of HRT

There are two types of HRT: oestrogen-only, and combined (oestrogen & progesterone).

Oestrogen-only HRT is only recommended if you have had your womb removed during a hysterectomy, or have the Mirena coil.


HRT comes in tablets, patches, and gels.