Although the symptoms of menopause vary, one thing’s for sure: it happens to every woman. While some women get through menopause without any complications or undesirable side effects, others experience debilitating symptoms that can last for years. Learn the early signs of menopause so you can be prepared for the change!
What is Menopause? | At What Age do Women go Through Menopause
Menopause describes the changes a woman goes through just before or after the end of her reproductive period, also recognized as when menstruation ceases. Women typically begin going through menopause between the ages of 45 and 50, though some begin earlier. Menopause that begins before age 40 is considered premature menopause.
During menopause, a woman’s body begins producing lower amounts of the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. In addition to regulating the menstruation cycle, estrogen also affects the reproductive system, urinary tract, heart and blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles and brain. Because so many different parts of the body are affected by estrogen, menopause symptoms can manifest themselves throughout the entire body.
5 Early Signs I Am Going Through Menopause
Women may begin experiencing symptoms of menopause one to two years before menstruation actually stops. This period, called perimenopause, is when estrogen levels start to drop, sending the body through several changes. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may mean the beginning of menopause:
1. Changes in periods: Your period may not be as regular as it used to be. It may be heavier or lighter than normal, or short or longer in duration. Occasional spotting is also common.
2. Hot flashes and night sweats: Most menopausal women experience hot flashes, which are indicated by a sudden feeling of heat either in your upper body or all over your body. The sense of heat may cause you to sweat or feel flushed. Intensity level varies, but most hot flashes last between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. Many women experience them while sleeping, which is what causes them to wake up sweating in the middle of the night.
3. Vaginal Dryness, Painful Sex: Decreased hormone production can affect the thin layer of moisture that coats the vaginal walls. This can cause vaginal dryness, which may result in itching, burning, pain with intercourse, light bleeding and the urge to urinate often. Using a vaginal moisturizer or a water-based lubricant with sex can help to reduce the unpleasant side effects.
4. Skin and Hair Changes: Everyone experiences changes in skin and hair with age, but lowered estrogen during menopause make these changes more apparent. Your skin may become drier and thinner due to loss of fatty tissue and collagen. You may experience hair loss and your hair may feel drier and become frail. Decreased estrogen can also cause hair to grow in places it normally wouldn’t, such as the upper lip and chin.
5. Mood Swings: Many women report feeling more irritable and upset during menopause and some experience mood swings that take them from high to low in short periods of time. These abrupt changes in mood are all part of the hormone fluctuation your body is going through and are perfectly normal.
Call OB-GYN Women’s Centre in Lakewood Ranch for Menopause Treatment and Care
These are just a few of the most common signs of menopause. Some women may experience additional symptoms like insomnia, vaginal atrophy, urinary incontinence, decreased libido and more.
For symptoms that are especially hard to manage, treatment options are available. Call OB-GYN Women’s Centre today to find out how we can make your journey through menopause more comfortable.