Common symptoms of menopause and perimenopause

Menopause and perimenopause symptoms can have a big impact on your daily life, including relationships, social life, family life and work.

It can feel different for everyone. You may have a number of symptoms or none.

Symptoms usually start months or years before your periods stop. This is called the perimenopause.

Changes to your periods

The first sign of the perimenopause is usually, but not always, a change in the normal pattern of your periods, for example they become irregular.

Eventually you'll stop having periods altogether.

Mental health symptoms

Common mental health symptoms of menopause and perimenopause include:

Physical symptoms

Common physical symptoms of menopause and perimenopause include:

Non-urgent advice: See a GP or nurse if:

  • you think you have perimenopause or menopause symptoms

You can also speak to a pharmacist for advice about treatments and things you can do.

How long symptoms last

Symptoms can last for months or years, and can change with time.

For example, hot flushes and night sweats may improve, and then you may develop low mood and anxiety.

Some symptoms, such as joint pain and vaginal dryness, can carry on after your periods stop.

Important: Get help for symptoms

Getting advice early can help reduce the impact perimenopause and menopause have on your health, relationships and work.

Menopause and perimenopause if you’re using hormonal contraception

You cannot know for sure you've reached menopause if you're using hormonal contraception like the pill, IUS (hormonal coil), contraceptive implant or contraceptive injection. This is because hormonal contraception can affect your periods.

If you're taking the combined pill, you'll have monthly period-type bleeds for as long as you keep taking the pill.

The combined pill may also mask or control menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats.

If you use the progestogen-only pill, IUS, contraceptive implant or contraceptive injection, your bleeds may be irregular or stop completely for as long as you use this contraception.

This can make it hard to know when you're no longer ovulating and therefore no longer fertile.

Stopping contraception

You can stop using contraception at the age of 55, as getting pregnant naturally after this is very rare.

You’ll be advised not to take the combined pill from the age of 50. You can change to a progestogen-only pill or other method of contraception instead.

Find local contraception services.

Page last reviewed: 17 May 2022
Next review due: 17 May 2025