What is pre-menopause? 

It’s called the Big Change and it sounds like a lot of gloom and doom. Menopause is basically your body going into a bit of a new direction. It will either stop producing certain womanly functions as you get older or these functions will deteriorate over time. A telltale sign of pre-menopause is when your cycles become unpredictable.

What does it mean? 

Pre-menopause is a period of transition that eventually ends in menopause. Menopause is the term used to describe the end of a woman's menstrual cycle. When you have not had a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months, you are in menopause.

Pre-menopause, however, can start in your mid-30s and last until your mid-50s. Some women only go through pre-menopause for a few months. But for many, it lasts between four to eight years.

As you get older, your ovaries produce less oestrogen and progesterone, preparing to stop releasing eggs entirely. Your body is in a state of preparation for when you will no longer be able to conceive. It's a normal part of a woman's reproductive cycle.


Important to know: menopause is a natural phase of a woman's reproductive cycle. At the same time, some women with a family history of premature menopause may begin menopause sooner. Menopause can immediately start after the uterus is surgically removed along with both ovaries. It can also be induced by certain types of cancer radiation and chemotherapy. Arthritis and Graves’ disease, as well as smoking and using tobacco products, could also cause premature menopause.


While some women experience no symptoms at all, others have mild to severe hot flashes, a sudden build-up of body heat, irregular periods, urinary urgency, insomnia, mood swings and vaginal dryness.

Can pre-menopause be treated?

There’s no way to prevent premature menopause. It’s a normal part of the ageing process. You can however, with the help your doctor, alleviate symptoms with:

  • Antidepressants to treat depression and mood swings.
  • Birth control pills to help balance your hormone levels.
  • Oestrogen therapy to help keep oestrogen levels in check. This is available as a cream, gel, patch or pill.
  • Vaginal creams to relieve vaginal dryness and lessen sex-related pain. 

Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of pre-menopause treatment with you and recommend the best option based on your needs.


Pre-menopause doesn’t need to be treated unless symptoms are bothersome. Stay healthy!

  • Eat a healthy diet with fruit, vegetables and wholegrains.
  • Get at least 1000-1200 mg of calcium each day through your diet or supplements.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Figure out what triggers your hot flashes, perhaps it’s caffeine or alcohol. Keep a record of this.
  • Stop smoking.
  • If your doctor advises you to lose weight, do so in a healthy manner. When you lose weight, your energy level rises, and your hot flashes and night sweats may disappear.


This article is for informational purposes only. Always check with your doctor or medical practitioner about any health concerns, before embarking on any fitness or nutrition programme, and usage of any medication.