Women in the Black Country and West Birmingham struggling with menopause symptoms are being urged not to suffer in silence and to visit their local GP for help and advice.

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 altogether, although for some women they can stop suddenly. It is a natural part of ageing and usually occurs in women aged between 45 and 55, when levels of the hormone oestrogen decline.

Symptoms can start a few months or even years before periods stop, which is often known as the perimenopause, and they can also persist for some time afterwards. The duration and severity of symptoms can vary from person to person but include:

• Hot flushes

• Night sweats

• Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex

• Difficultly sleeping

• Low mood or anxiety

• Reduced sex drive

• Problems with memory and concentration.

Women are encouraged to come forward for help and advice from your GP who can offer treatments and suggest lifestyle changes if you have severe menopausal symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day life. If your symptoms do not improve, they can refer you to a menopause specialist.

Dr Salma Reehana, local GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Most women will experience menopausal or perimenopausal symptoms and unfortunately some of these can be quite severe and have a detrimental impact on all aspects of their lives.

“The effects of menopause are often misunderstood and underestimated, but I want all women who are experiencing symptoms to know that they aren’t alone.

“There is help available so if you’re struggling with your symptoms please contact your local GP to discuss your options. Nobody should be suffering in silence.”

For more information on the menopause, click here.