The Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Periods are a major part of a woman’s life. The cramps, the desire to eat different foods, the habit of carrying pads or tampons in her purse – all are normal parts of the day-to-day routine, at least after living with it for a time.
The first period can be quite dramatic for many. Even if the warning about pain has been given in advance, nothing can ease it when it finally comes.
In the same way, the symptoms that appear when periods finally stop are equally dramatic. The onset of menopause has many signs and symptoms that need to be recognized and understood.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the onset of period-free days ahead. Most of the symptoms of menopause can be seen in the perimenopause stage. Perimenopause begins several years before menopause. For some women, menopause passes quite easily without much difficulty, but for some, this experience is a weakening one that drains them of their energy.
These symptoms are experienced by women due to a lower rate of production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Since every female body is different, the symptoms also vary for each woman.
How and Where Does Estrogen Affect the Female Body?
Estrogen affects the menstrual cycle of the body, along with the following body parts:
• Blood vessels
• Urinary tract
• Reproductive organs
• Pelvic muscles
Signs and Symptoms
• Irregular Periods: The first symptom of menopause is the irregularity of your periods. They will not be as regular as they used to be. The amount of bleeding also varies – you could bleed heavier or lighter and might spot. The duration of periods gets affected, too – they may be longer or shorter.
• Hot Flashes: Many who start noticing symptoms of menopause experience hot flashes. Hot flashes vary from person to person. For some, they may come and go in a matter of seconds. For others, they can last for minutes. According to the National Institute of Aging, hot flashes can last from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Hot flashes are experienced by women for a year or two after menstruation stops.
• Vaginal Dryness: The thin layer that moisturises and coats the vagina can be affected due to lower production of estrogen and progesterone. Dryness can happen at any age, but it is most prominent during menopause. This can lead to itching around the vulva and a burning sensation.
• Sleeplessness: It is recommended for adults to get at least seven hours of sleep every night, but this pattern gets hampered during menopause. It might be hard for you to fall asleep or to sleep peacefully for seven straight hours. If this happens, try getting as much rest as you can. Relaxation, breathing techniques, and exercising during the day helps. Before going to bed, try taking a warm shower, reading, and listening to soft music. Avoid cell phones and laptops, since the light can disrupt your sleep.
• Frequent Urination and Urinary Tract Infection: Another observed symptom of menopause is needing to urinate often. The constant need to urinate even when the bladder is not full is common during menopause, as is a loss of bladder control. Stay hydrated and perform exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. Also, during menopause, the urinary tract becomes more prone to infection than before. This happens due to a lower level of estrogen.
• Mood Swings: During periods, many women experience mood swings. These also occur during menopause. Anger, irritation, and depression occur in many women who are in the menopause stage and can vary from woman to the next.
• Changes in Skin and Hair: During menopause, changes in skin and hair are common. The skin becomes dry and the vagina becomes less lubricated. Due to reduced estrogen, hair becomes brittle and dry, leading to hair loss.
Menopause symptoms can last for months or days. Be sure to visit your doctor regularly and keep your health checked.
Explore Your Options
To treat the symptoms of menopause, it’s best to visit with Dr. Kevin Light, an expert in bioidentical hormone therapy, nutrition, and fitness. Dr. Light will be available to discuss your options. Contact us to arrange your consultation.