While it can start sooner for some women (known as premature menopause), the menopause tends to happen anywhere between the ages of 40 and 58, and in the UK the average age is 51. It is preceded by the perimenopause which lasts between four to ten years, as your ovaries gradually start producing less oestrogen and your body transitions towards menopause.

In the final phase of perimenopause (roughly one to two years), the oestrogen decline accelerates, and it is during this time that some women may experience more noticeable menopausal symptoms. Once your ovaries stop releasing eggs and you haven't had a period for a year, you are officially diagnosed as menopausal.

However, it's not uncommon for some women to have one or a few periods after this time and for them, it might be more appropriate to diagnose them as menopausal after two years without a period. The postmenopausal phase is the years after menopause, and it's during this time that menopausal symptoms may ease.

Postmenopause women are more at risk of conditions such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease due to lower oestrogen levels.

We are all different, and not all women will have the same experience of perimenopause and menopause. Some can breeze right through it, while others can struggle. Aside from irregular periods, common symptoms include night sweats and hot flashes, disrupted sleep, muscular and joint aches and pains, brain fog, vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex, skin changes, thinning hair, increased facial hair and lowered sex drive.

For many women, mood swings, anxiety, and depression are a challenging and unexpected reality, and that's what we'll be discussing in this article.