The incidence of climacteric symptoms was determined in 247 healthy premenopausal women in a community setting. These volunteers had been recruited to a longitudinal study of bone density. Of these subjects, 46 ceased to menstruate during the study, and in this subgroup symptoms were compared before and after cessation of menstruation. Only hot flushes increased after cessation of menstruation in the longitudinal study and showed age correlation in the cross-sectional study. Hot flushes thus emerged as a true menopausal symptom. Although evidence for this is weaker, cold sweats and suffocation seem likely to be genuinely menopausal. Breast discomfort and the four mood symptoms of irritability, excitability, depression and poor concentration improved after cessation of menstruation, and this study gives no support for their being part of the menopausal syndrome; it suggests that these symptoms are more likely to be related to menstruation than to the menopause.