Menopause marks the end of a woman’s fertile years and occurs once you stop having your period. Once menopause begins the ovaries start producing lower levels of the reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The average age for menopause in New Zealand is 51.5 years but it can occur anytime between the ages of 42 and 56.

Perimenopause is the period of five or so years up to the last period when menstruation becomes irregular or occurs less often and eventually ceases. During this time hormone levels change and you may begin to experience changes in your body. After menopause your body achieves a new hormonal balance, however during the transition phase, the changes in hormone levels can have a number of effects on women.


Experiences of menopause vary among individual women and different cultures. How menopause affects individual women is influenced by biological and social factors, including genetics, physical and mental health, diet, lifestyle, and social and cultural attitudes toward older women.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

irregular periods (when periods come closer together or further apart), and when blood flow becomes lighter or heavier
hot flushes
night sweats
headaches and migraines
disturbed sleep patterns
vaginal dryness
joint pain
short-term memory problems
dry eyes
itchy or ‘creepy’ skin
mood swings
anxiety and irritability
lower libido or sex drive
difficulty concentrating and making decisions

Managing Menopause and Hormone / Menopause Replacement Therapy

Adequate exercise, a healthy, balanced diet, taking time for rest and relaxation, and smoking cessation can all help address the symptoms of menopause. For information about HRT and MRT please visit:

Hot flushes and night sweats

Up to 80% of women experience hot flushes but they tend to go away within one to two years. Common triggers for hot flushes are caffeine, alcohol, and spicy food. Traditional or natural remedies that women have reported to be useful include a diet rich in legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, sage tea, black cohosh, or acupuncture.

Useful links

Health Navigator » Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT)

Menopause – Family Planning » information on managing menopause in New Zealand

Menopause – Mayo Clinic » general information on menopause

NZ Early Menopause Support Group » support group for women in New Zealand experiencing early menopause