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There's loads of confusing and often strange words, syndromes and medical jargon that come along with the menopause.

We've pulled together straightforward definitions for the most common expressions you'll come across, as well as some the more complicated terms which may crop up from time to time.

Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH)This hormone is released by ovarian follicles (the tiny sacks eggs develop in). The more eggs you have, the higher the level of AMH in your blood. Low levels may suggest you're approaching menopause.
AnxietyAnxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear, ranging from mild to severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety. However, for some, it can become overwhelming and seriously get in the way of leading a normal life. Read More.
Brain FogA symptom of the perimenopause and menopause, brain fog is described as an inability to focus or lack of sharp memory. Read More.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)The general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels, normally associated with a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries and an increased risk of blood clots. It can also be associated with damage to arteries in organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes.
ClimactericThe stage of life where a woman's fertility and sex drive decline.
DepressionMost people go through periods of feeling down, but depression is when you feel persistently sad for weeks or months at a time. This prolonged period may lead to feelings of hopelessness and sufferers often lose interest in things they normally enjoy. Read More.
Early MenopauseThis is when the menopause (12 months without a period) happens between the ages of 40 and 45.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)This hormone stimulates your ovaries to produce oestrogen. As oestrogen drops, FSH rises and it's this rise that doctors look for to determine if you're perimenopausal. These blood tests need to be repeated twice over a two month period to confirm a diagnosis.
Hot flush or Hot FlashThis is a sudden feeling of intense heat across the body and a common symptom of the perimenopause and menopause. Read More.
HRTHRT stands for Hormone Replacement Therapy, a treatment which aims to relieve symptoms of menopause, replacing hormones which are at lower levels during this time. It is available in pill form, patches, creams and gels. It can have some side-effects, and it's unsuitable for some women due to health reasons, which is why it's important to speak to a medical practitioner about it.
Induced MenopauseThis is when your periods are stopped by the surgical removal of the ovaries, chemotherapy or radiation damage to the ovaries, or by medication as part of the treatment of certain health problems.
LibidoAnother term for sex drive. Changes to sex drive affect many women during the perimenopause and menopause. Read More.
MenopauseMedically, the menopause is counted as a full year without a period. This means the ovaries have stopped functioning and a woman can no longer naturally get pregnant.
Mood SwingsUsed to describe rapid and sometimes intense changes in emotion. Mood swings often occur because of hormonal fluctuations but they may also have other triggers. Read More.
Night SweatsA hot flush that happens during the night, often causing women to wake up drenched in sweat. Read More.
Oestrogen or Estrogen"This is the primary female sex hormone responsible for the development and functioning of a woman's reproductive system. There are three kinds of oestrogen – estrone, estradiol, and estriol. As we enter the perimenopause, levels begin to decline which can cause a number of symptoms.
OsteoporosisA health condition that weakens the bones, making them fragile and break more easily. It develops over several years and is often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a fracture. Read More.
Papanicolaou Test (PAP Test)Also known as a smear test. This is when a medical professional takes cells from the cervix to check for any abnormalities. Abnormal cells can sometimes lead to cervical cancer so it's important to get checked every three years if you live in the UK.
PerimenopauseThe lead-up to the menopause. This is when many women begin to experience symptoms and periods become less regular as hormone levels fluctuate. The length of perimenopause is unique to each person. May also be called the 'menopause transition'.
Post MenopauseThe rest of a woman's life after the menopause (normally a whole year without a period).
Pre-menopauseThe period before any menopausal symptoms occur.
Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)This is when the ovaries stop functioning normally before a woman turns 40. It's important women with symptoms seek medical advice as POI increases the risk of some health conditions, including heart disease and osteoporosis. May also be called Premature Ovarian Failure or early menopause (if your periods have stopped completely).
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)This a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), which can cause serious emotional and physical side effects during the week or two before a period. Symptoms include depression, anxiety and severe irritability.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)The collective name for the symptoms many women experience in the week or two before their period, which may include mood swings, headaches, bloating, sore breasts and fatigue. Read More.
ProgesteroneAnother key female sex hormone made by the ovaries. It's production increases around the time of ovulation, thickening the lining of the uterus so a fertilised egg can implant itself. Progesterone levels begin to fall during in perimenopause and throughout menopause.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)Testosterone may be more commonly associated with the male gender but it’s present in females too. TRT can be used to boost levels of the hormone in order to treat loss of sex drive and loss of muscle's, and is also often given to transmen in higher doses as part of their transition. Sometimes referred to as androgen replacement therapy. 
Vaginal AtrophyThis is dryness, inflammation and thinning of the vaginal walls, and is often caused by low levels of oestrogen, making it a common symptom of the menopause. It can make sex uncomfortable and even painful, and lead to bladder problems as well as urinary tract infections. Read More.
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