10 Common Symptoms of Menopause
Many women dread getting their period every month, but menopause is no picnic either! Women naturally experience a decline in reproductive hormones when they reach their 40s or 50s. Basically, your ovaries stop producing the hormones that give you menstrual periods. Menopause is reached when 12 months have passed since your last period.
Treatment for menopause focuses on relieving symptoms, including topical lubricants or estrogens for vaginal dryness; and venlafaxine and gabapentin to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
Symptom 1: Irregular Periods
With perimenopause, you experience irregular menstrual periods. Once you reach menopause, your periods stop.
According to Mysecondspring.ie, “Irregular or heavy periods are often one of the first symptoms of menopause or perimenopause. Periods usually become erratic before they stop altogether. Average age for women to stop menstruating is 52 years of age.”
Symptom 2: Hot Flashes
Once you are in menopause you can experience hot flashes for a few months or several years. Hot flashes are described as sudden body heat, flushing, and sweating.
According to Womenshealthnetwork.com, “Hot flashes — a defining symptom of menopause — can seriously disrupt your life. A hot flash can occur without warning, creating embarrassing episodes especially if your face flushes, or if you routinely perspire through your clothes.”
Symptom 3: Night Sweats
Do you wake up drenched in your own sweat? Night sweats are common with menopause.
According to WebMD, Valerie Omicioli, MD, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science and a certified menopause practitioner at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, stated: “Some women experience the heat and flushing of hot flashes without sweating, while others sweat so much they need a change of clothes. When hot flashes happen at night, leaving you and your sheets drenched, they’re called night sweats. For about 75% of women, hot flashes and night sweats are a fact of life during perimenopause and menopause. A lucky minority won’t experience them at all. Some women will experience only mild hot flashes. But for 25% - 30% of women, hot flashes and night sweats will be severe enough to interfere with quality of life.”
Symptom 4: Weight Gain
Do you gain weight easily now? Along with menopause, hormonal changes, aging, lifestyle, and genetics all play a role in you possibly gaining weight.
According to WebMD, “Menopause and weight gain: Do they always go hand in hand? It may seem that way, especially because gaining weight is so common after menopause. About 30% of women ages 50 to 59 are not just overweight, but obese.”
Symptom 5: Trouble Sleeping
Are you exhausted? Wake up too early? Unable to fall asleep and stay asleep? Menopause can definitely disturb your sleep. You may experience insomnia or fatigue.
To combat sleep problems, try various over-the-counter medications and products designed to give you a good night’s sleep – even when you are going through menopause.
Symptom 6: Vaginal Dryness
Are you experiencing vaginal dryness?
According to WebMD, “The hormone estrogen helps maintain that fluid and keeps the lining of the vagina healthy, thick, and elastic. During menopause, the drop in estrogen levels reduces the amount of moisture available. It also makes the vagina thinner and less elastic.”
Symptom 7: Pain
Do you have pain, especially during sexual intercourse?
According to Menopause.org, “Menopause-related vaginal dryness often leads to pain with penetration and during deep intercourse, and can be associated with arousal difficulties as well. Many different topical vaginal treatments are available, from nonprescription, nonmedicated lubricants and moisturizers to prescription-only topical forms of estrogen…”
Symptom 8: Anxiety/Depression
Are you suffering from anxiety? Depression? Irritable? Menopause can quickly change your moods and emotions.
According to the Australian Menopause Centre, “Mood Swings are described as an extreme or rapid change in mood. Hormonal imbalance experienced during Peri Menopause and Menopause where there are fluctuating hormone levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone results in mood swings that can be wild and erratic. Women often find themselves reacting to the slightest things with unexplainable anger or irritability. There can be great emotional stress suffered by women because of these mood swings and often result in people around them being affected as well. Relationships suffer, and women find themselves wondering what is happening.”
Symptom 9: Hair Loss
With menopause, you may lose scalp hair, but gain facial hair. Also, your hair may become dry.
Fortunately, there are shampoos and other forms of treatment to help with dry and thinning hair due to menopause.
Symptom 10: Osteoporosis
Going through menopause increases your risk of getting osteoporosis.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “There are multiple reasons why women are more likely to get osteoporosis than men, including: Women tend to have smaller, thinner bones than men. Estrogen, a hormone in women that protects bones, decreases sharply when women reach menopause, which can cause bone loss.”