Perimenopause and Menopause
Menopause is when periods stop due to lower hormone levels. This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. However, it can sometimes happen earlier than this.
Perimenopause is when symptoms are experienced before your periods have stopped, whereas menopause is when an individual hasn't had a period for 12 months.
Menopause and perimenopause symptoms can have a big impact on daily life, including relationships, social life, family life and work.
Mental health symptoms
Changes to mood such as, low mood, anxiety, mood swings, and low self-esteem
Problems with memory and concentration
Hot flushes in face, neck and chest which can cause dizziness
Difficulty sleeping, which may be a result of night sweats and can cause irritability during the day
Headaches and migraines
Muscle aches and joint pains
Changed body shape and weight gain
Changes in the skin, such as dry and itchy skin
Reduced sex drive
Vaginal dryness and pain, itching or discomfort during sex
Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Recent research has indicated that menopause may be an especially tumultuous time for autistic people. During this life transition, there may be rapid and unexpected changes in sensory sensitivities and executive functioning. Menopause can also add to conditions experienced by autistic people, such as depression and sleep difficulties.
Quotes From Our Participants:
"Menopause is when l discovered sex toys and all their wonders. It took some pressure off sharing a overheated confused body with another person."
"I didn't get to see all of them, but my inquiry, one of my inquiries at the moment around intimacy and autism, is about menopause and as a menopausal women and the women in her 50s and finding it incredibly difficult as a as I want to identify as as queer, for instance."
"It’s horrifying to see women trying to cope with frustrations around HRT. Why it’s not working for them. Queries not being answered"
Bridging the Silos
Autistic Menopause Study
Bridging the Silos is a research project which aims to study the experiences of menopause by autistic people in Canada, the UK, and beyond. The first two phases of the project focused on experiences in Canada and the UK, whereas phase 3 will focus on experiences from around the world. During phase 2, the researchers invited creative submissions from autistic participants with experiences of menopause. Paintings, poetry, and graphic art created by autistic participants can be viewed here:
Resources we love
Adult and geriatric autism
Musings of an aspie