All women are different, and the experience of menopause can vary greatly between individuals. This is why it’s important to seek the advice and care of a doctor who can help by tailoring a program specific to your needs.

Symptoms of menopause

As mentioned above, the period before menopause when symptoms first start to appear is referred to as peri-menopause. The symptoms of peri-menopause are similar to those we associate with menopause, however in peri-menopause a woman can still have menstrual periods although these can often be irregular and somewhat erratic. The difference between peri-menopause and menopause is usually the length and severity of symptoms; other than that they are very similar. With menopause, these symptoms are more constant and often more severe. Both menopause and peri-menopause symptoms are treatable, although peri-menopause is more unpredictable and can require a more focussed approach while a woman passes through to full menopause.

These symptoms are signs of peri-menopause and menopause:

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of sleep
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Decreased libido
  • Hot flushes
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Anger
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Foggy head or difficulty concentrating,
  • Weight gain
  • Joint pain

There are also other symptoms not mentioned in this article that a woman may experience during menopause. Officially, menopause begins when a woman has not had a period for over 12 months. While the symptoms can be very uncomfortable, it’s important to get help so that they can be controlled until a woman has successfully gone through the change and no longer experiences symptoms.


Menopause is a normal stage of a woman's life. You are not alone.

What to do

Lifestyle adjustments can help to alleviate symptoms of menopause. Improve your diet and maintain a regular exercise regime. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and veggies and avoid junk food, fatty food, and limit your consumption of alcohol. Drink plenty of clean, filtered water.

Alongside these things, most women need to also take supplementary hormones to help alleviate these symptoms and help further improve their hormone imbalance.

Finding a doctor

It is important that you do some research and find a doctor who is experienced in treating hormone imbalance. Make sure that you weigh the options on what’s available and what is best for you in particular. It’s important that you choose a doctor who is up to date with the latest information regarding hormones, and has experience in this particular field.

What sort of hormones are best?

This is something to consider. Bio-identical hormones, for example, are now used by up to 40% of women in Australia and other western countries. Many women turned to bio-identical hormones after the Women’s Health Initiative in 2002 concluded abruptly that certain synthetically derived hormones increased the risk of breast cancer and other conditions. Millions of women all over the world then turned to bio-identical, plant derived hormones that are believed by many doctors and practitioners to be a safer option.

What to look for in a practitioner

Before making an appointment, get as much information as you can about what the doctor does and what experience they may have. It’s essential that you are comfortable and confident you’ve found the right place to look after you during this time. A good doctor will know and understand their subject, and you should be confident this is the case. Do not be afraid to ask them questions of your own.

To help find the right regime for you in particular, the doctor will ensure that a medical history is taken. This might include:

  • A list of your symptoms
  • Current and past medications
  • Current and past conditions
  • A history of allergies
  • Any operations or procedures you may have had in the past

The doctor may do a blood test prior to or soon after you start any hormones. This is because any tests for hormone levels can be unreliable at certain stages of menopause, and so the doctor will determine the best strategy.

The journey ahead shouldn’t be something to feel anxious about. The right treatment options will see you through this journey, and you’ll find that you can overcome these symptoms without having to put up with uncomfortable and debilitating pain.

Your First Appointment

Finding the right doctor is the first step. Now you will meet them and learn how they will help make this period of your life easier for you. Some people may feel worried or anxious before their first appointment, but this needn’t be the case. It’s important you feel comfortable and at ease, knowing you are in safe hands.


What will I need to be ready for when I speak with a doctor?

The doctor will require from you a medical history that details your current state of health, any symptoms you may be suffering, and the duration of these symptoms. Details of the medications you’re currently taking, as well as any surgeries and operations, will also be required. Most of this information will be asked for by the administration staff, who would prepare a file ready for the doctor who will then ask any further questions that may be applicable to your needs.


What questions should I ask and what questions might I expect?

Be confident when speaking with your doctor, and ensure you ask them anything you feel you need to know. Be honest and do not try to avoid questions or hold back on anything. Remember that the doctor is there to help you. It’s important that you feel comfortable.

Does the doctor believe in natural alternatives? Does he or she prescribe bio-identical hormones as a treatment for hormonal imbalance? If you are unhappy with the answers you are given then you should not feel any obligation. Consider your options, find a doctor that you feel comfortable with, but be ready to accept that the doctor is there to help, and that any advice given is based on knowledge of your needs. Find a doctor that has experience in menopause and what you’re going through. If the doctor has little or no knowledge of hormonal issues, then keep looking.


As treatment for menopause can last anywhere between 2 and 7 years, it’s very important that you find the right treatment for you. This is why bio-identical hormones are a good solution. A doctor who is competent in prescribing bio-identical hormones will be able to prescribe a low dose that is suited to your needs.

Bio-identical hormones are considered by many doctors to be a safer option to the synthetic variety, as bio-identical hormones have the same chemical structure to that which our bodies produce naturally. Synthetic hormones, while effective, are not easy to prescribe exactly to the low dose that may be required to treat the symptoms of some people. Studies have also shown that there can be dangerous side effects to synthetic hormones, such as increased risk of breast cancer and certain diseases.


Talk clearly and openly with your doctor, and listen to their suggestions. It is important throughout your consultation that you are honest with your answers so that the doctor can make the right diagnosis.

Because this particular journey lasts an average of five years, it’s important to have the right treatment and to continue to communicate with your doctor. Do not assume that they can read your mind, speak up and keep them appraised of how you are faring. Follow up from a doctor is also very important. Make sure your doctor is proactive in providing the support you need.

Why not let the Australian Menopause Centre lead you through this journey and ensure that you receive the proper help and guidance that you need?