Explainer: What exactly is menopause?

Menopause is when women stop menstruating and is caused by a gradual decrease in the hormone oestrogen in the body.

The average age of menopause is 51.  

But the build-up to menopause - which is called perimenopause – is when most people start to experience symptoms.   

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New global data says the average woman goes through this for more than seven (7.4) years.  

Then, there's post-menopause. This can take up to a year while the symptoms stabilise.  

So, women spend basically a decade of their lives dealing with symptoms of menopause.  

And the symptoms are serious. They're much more than hot flushes: there's anxiety, lack of confidence, weight gain, cravings, reduced sex drive, sleep problems, night sweats, fatigue, palpitations, low mood, and memory problems.  

This year a groundbreaking new study of more than 4000 women by menopause advocate Dr Linda Dear gave an incredible insight into what Kiwi women are going through.

Watch the video above.

Patrick Gower is the host of Paddy Gower Has Issues on Three and ThreeNow.