Although this is far from being a complete list of terms that you might hear being used when the menopause is being discussed, the following five essential terms should help you to understand the basics.

  • HRT (hormone replacement therapy): A treatment to supplement the hormones you lose during menopause – generally a combination of oestrogen, progesterone, and sometimes testosterone.

  • Menopause: Technically speaking, menopause starts one year after you experienced your last menstrual period. Women whose ovaries are removed go through an immediate surgical menopause.

  • Oestrogen: This hormone is responsible for your female characteristics, such as breasts, curvy body, menstruation, and reproduction. The three types of oestrogen are: oestrone, oestradiol, and oestriol. Oestradiol, produced in the ovaries, is the most potent form of oestrogen and serves hundreds of bodily functions.

  • Perimenopause: The years before menopause when your hormones are in flux and your periods are not regular. Some women are perimenopausal for up to 10 years before their periods actually stop, but most women experience the symptoms for just four or five years.

  • Progesterone: A hormone that’s made in larger amounts after you ovulate and release an egg. Progesterone is also produced in the placenta when you’re pregnant to help prepare the uterus to nourish a fertilised egg. Synthetic forms of progesterone are called progestogens.