More than half of UK women do not know what early or premature menopause is

Almost 60% of British women confessed to not knowing what premature and early menopause is, according to research.

In a survey conducted by Health & Aesthetics, 34.3% of women said they did not know the difference between the two conditions, while 25.4% confessed they were not aware of what either is.

The average age that women go through ‘the change’ in the UK is 51 but according to research, one in 100 women reach menopause prematurely before the age of 40.

Early menopause, which can occur between the ages of 40 and 45, affects around 5% of women. 

However, the survey results suggest that only a third of women aged between 18 and 24 know the difference between early and premature menopause, while respondents aged 65 and over showed the most awareness about the conditions.

Chart showing results of survey by Health & Aesthetics

Dr Rekha Tailor, founder and medical director of Health & Aesthetics, said: “Experiencing menopausal symptoms at a younger age than expected can put a strain on romantic relationships and disrupt everyday activities. But there are ways to manage the symptoms and cope with any distressing feelings.”

The main difference between early and premature menopause is the age at which they happen. However, both conditions are caused by similar issues, such as autoimmune diseases, genetic abnormalities, family history and smoking.

However, the cause of premature and early menopause is not always known. It has been suggested that in 60% of cases the cause could not be identified. 

The symptoms of both conditions are similar to those associated with menopause in general, including hot flushes, loss of libido, vaginal dryness and mood swings.

But going through menopause at an earlier age can also trigger complex emotions, which may include embarrassment or feelings of loss.  

Counsellor Beccy Stremes said: “I think it is important to realise that the physical symptoms are not always as obvious to others as it is to the person who is suffering from them. When you are having a hot flush any anxiety around it can make it worse.

“It’s important to try to relax through it. Recognise that the flush will pass and all will resume as normal again, usually within minutes. Take some deep breathes and be kind to yourself. Going through the menopause is a time where you need to give yourself extreme self-care.”

While menopause is not reversible, there are solutions that can help women cope with the symptoms. These include hormone replacement therapy (HRT), vaginal rejuvenation and lubrication products for the physical symptoms and counselling for the emotional impact.

You can read more on the above and other ways to help here.

Women struggling with premature or early menopause must seek help from medical and psychological professionals as there are many ways to ease symptoms and cope with complicated feelings.