Women’s lives change for the better once they are past the menopause, suggests a survey.
The Jubilee Report, which examined the lifestyles of women over the age of 50, found 65% reporting that they were happier.
The process leading up to menopause usually takes place over a number of years in the late 40s to early 50s.
Over this period, women stop menstruating and lose the ability to bear children.
They may also suffer menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and water retention.
Post-menopausal women are also more vulnerable to osteoporosis and heart disease.
However, the survey, of 200 women, suggests that women feel that many areas of their life are in the ascendancy despite the end of their fertile years.
Some woman also feel that the cessation of periods frees them from inconvenience - and medical problems such as abnormally heavy menstruation.
In all, 76% of post-menopausal women said their health was better, 75% said they had more fun, and 93% said they had more independence and more choice in everything from work to leisure pursuits.
Women who took hormone replacement therapy were particularly positive about their lives, accoring to the survey.
Half of these reported improvements in their sex lives following menopause, compared with 18% of those not taking HRT.
Dr Annie Evans, a specialist in women’s health from the Bristol Royal Infirmary, said: “One hundred years ago the average age of the menopause was 47, but the life expectancy of British women was only 49.
“Now women become menopausal at just over 50 years old but life expectancy is nearer 80, so we can expect to spend 25 to 30 years in the post-menopause.
“Women need to be able to make the kind of informed choices that will help them to maximise their enjoyment of all those extra years.”
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD