Are you approaching menopause or know anyone in peri-menopause or menopause? Generally, when women reach their forties and fifties, they start complaining about body aches, dry skin, joint pains and generally, how “low” they feel. Many of these complaints are usually related to their reproductive cycle changes and the process of menopause.
Once “the period” or menstruation ceases, it’s a sign that ovulating is no longer taking place. When this occurs, it’s a major sign one is approaching menopause, and this period is known as peri-menopause. When menstruation periods stop for a whole year and don’t resume, officially a woman is said to have entered menopause.
Although menopause tends to take place for women in their forties and fifties, there are rare cases where menopause symptoms or signs occur at an earlier or later stage in a woman’s life. One of the main factors that may trigger early or late menopause include genetics, environment and lifestyle.
While menopause is one of life’s transitions, it can also be the beginning of new and exciting changes in life as well. However, menopause doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a gradual process that can even take up to 14 years.
26 Main Common Symptoms and Signs of Menopause:
Hot Flashes/ Hot Flushes
This is one of the major symptoms of menopause. Hot flashes are an instant heat or warmth that spreads across the body causing redness or flushing which is noticeable on the upper body and the face. Hot flushes occur when the body reacts to a decrease in the supply of estrogen.
However, not all women experience hot flashes but many of them do. In some women, estrogen production decreases slowly producing fewer hot flashes. On the other hand, some women ovaries stop estrogen production almost at once and hot flashes become a major battle and issue. Speak with you health practitioner for some tips on options for handling hot flashes.
Mild or Intense Sweating at Night (Night Sweats)
Night sweats are hot flashes that take place when one is sleeping and are often accompanied by heavy sweating. Night sweats are also referred to sleep hyperhidrosis and termed as a perspiration disorder that attacks menopausal women when sleeping. The heavy sweating can be severe or mild and can be caused by hormonal imbalances as well as environmental factors. Many women who get night sweats are unable to sleep well and therefore, become stressed and fatigued if this continues for an extended period of time. Having light pjs and a change of pjs available for middle of the night changes can help as well as having a fan close at hand in your room. Also, speak with your health care practitioner for other suggestions and options.
Change in Menstruation Cycle
When women are approaching menopause, they experience absent, irregular or short periods. Different medical conditions can cause irregular periods but during perimenopause, the common cause is hormonal imbalance. Period irregularity is a major sign for women in their mid 40s as they approach menopause and is likely caused by decreasing levels of progesterone and estrogen. How it happens varies with the individual. Some experience a gradual tapering off over months or years. Others find that they have light period months and then very heavy periods for a time period during the process. And there are some that find that one month it just never comes….and it’s done.
Each person’s experience is different based on several factors.
Decrease in Sexual Desire
We all experience an increase or decrease of sexual desire in life as a result of different factors throughout our lifetime. However, for women going through menopause, the loss of libido is a common sign that some women experience. The main cause for the decrease in sexual desire in menopausal women is hormonal imbalance and androgen deficiency.
Just like there are so many different styles of women, women’s libidos also are impacted in different ways with menopause. Some women experience a big decrease in sexual desire beginning in their midlife years, others notice no change, and a few report increased interest in sex at midlife. Those women whose desire increases may feel liberated by their new freedom from contraception or by newly found privacy if their children have recently left home. If you find that this is something of concern to you, it’s best to speak with your doctor or health care provider to discuss the various options that you have to improve this situation.
Severe Vagina Dryness
Normally, a vagina should be soft and moist. Vaginal dryness happens when the soft and moist feeling of the vagina disappears and brings forth irritation and itchiness. When estrogen levels in menopausal women decrease, the vagina becomes dry, thinner and less elastic. Vagina dryness has become one of the most emotional draining menopause symptoms for many women.
Mood swings in menopause is an unavoidable symptom. A menopausal woman experiencing mood swings may feel as if she is battling different kinds of emotions. Mood swings can be mild or intense although the experience differs from one woman to another. The change of mood is caused by hormonal imbalances when the mood regulating neurotransmitters and hormone estrogen production drops.