Women whose lives are being affected by the symptoms of menopause should not feel they have to suffer in silence. The symptoms of menopause aren’t hard to miss. Some women go through menopause without any complications or unpleasant symptoms. But others find menopausal symptoms debilitating, beginning even during pre-menopause and lasting for years. The symptoms that women experience are primarily related to a lowered production of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Symptoms vary widely because of the many effects that these hormones have on the female body.
The following are the symptoms of menopause:
- Changes in Menstrual cycle
This is the main symptom of menopause. Your period may not be as regular as it used to be. You may bleed heavier or lighter than usual, and occasionally spot. Also, your period may be shorter or longer in duration.
- Hot flashes
Many women complain of hot flashes as a primary menopause symptom. Hot flashes can be a sudden feeling of heat either in the upper portion of your body or all over. Your face and neck might turn red, and you may feel sweaty or flushed. The intensity of a hot flash can range from mild to very strong, even waking you from sleep.
- Vaginal dryness and pain during sex
The decreased production of estrogen and progesterone can affect the thin layer of moisture that coats the vaginal walls. Women can experience vaginal dryness at any age, but it is a particular problem for menopausal women. Signs can include itching around the vulva as well as stinging or burning. Vaginal dryness can make intercourse painful and may cause you to lightly bleed or feel like you need to urinate frequently.
During menopause, it might be hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. You might wake up earlier than you wish and have trouble going to back to sleep. Avoid using your computer or cell phone before bed, as the light can disrupt your sleep. Bathing, reading, or listening to mellow music before bed may help you relax.
- Mood swings and depression
Changes in hormone production affect the mental stability of women during menopause. Women report feelings of irritability, depression, and mood swings, and often go from extreme highs to severe lows in a short period of time. So if you’re feeling “blue”, you know why.
- Weight Gain
Weight gain, specifically a thickening around the waist, is another sign of changing hormones levels during menopause. While some sources claim that menopause has nothing to do with weight gain, hormonal changes during menopause actually influence weight gain and redistribution of fat.
Together these symptoms can severely affect a woman’s life. Yet the effects of menopause are often not fully understood. As a result, women do not always get the help they need from their GP, nurse, practice or hospital specialist to manage their symptoms effectively. Starting at perimenopause, schedule regular visits with your doctor for preventive health care and any medical concerns. Continue getting these appointments during and after menopause.