Menopause - Symptoms

Managing the Signs and Symptoms of Menopause


Confident_menopauseMenopausal symptoms affect almost 70% of women and often begin long before menopause actually sets in. Peri-menopause signals the onset of this transitional period and can last for a variable period of time.

Although most menopausal symptoms will improve on their own within 2 to 5 years of onset, there are numerous lifestyle measures, natural approaches and medical treatments that can help.

Menopause is experienced differently by every woman. While a friend may make the transition smoothly, you may face multiple physical and psychological symptoms. The commonly experienced symptoms of menopause are:

Menstrual irregularities

The earliest symptom of perimenopause is a change in your menstrual pattern resulting from an uneven rise and fall in the levels of your reproductive hormones. Menstrual cycles that were previously very predictable may either lengthen or shorten, occurring every 2-3 weeks. Cycles where ovulation fails to occur gradually become more frequent. The amount of blood loss may also change varying from scant to heavy. Periods may become longer and heavier as ovulation becomes increasing irregular and infrequent. Fertility also reduces as pregnancy can occur only when ovulation takes place. _________________________________________________________________________

Menopause_SymptomsUnderstanding Irregular Periods and The Menopause:

Women experience irregular periods due to the changing hormone levels. Periods may stop suddenly, or gradually get lighter or heavier and then stop... more _____________________________________________________________________

Hot flushes

Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms and are reported by almost 75% of women at some point during perimenopause, menopause or post menopause. Hot flushes can begin up to 2 years before the menopause and may continue for several years. A hot flush usually lasts several minutes and is often described as an intense feeling of heat, generally spreading from your face, neck and chest. While the exact cause is largely unknown, it is believed to be triggered by changes in the temperature controlling part of the brain. _________________________________________________________________________

Menopause_Hot_FlushManaging Hot Flushes - What works and what doesn't?

When it comes to hot flushes it's usually best to begin with the least aggressive approach, if natural or lifestyle approaches don't work you can move on to...more _____________________________________________________________________

Night Sweats

Medically termed "sleep hyperhidrosis", night sweats are the night-time equivalent of the hot flush. Studies suggest that as many as 75% of menopausal women experience night sweats. They usually happen in the first year after your last period. Although they only last a few minutes, they can be unpleasant and interfere with sleep. For some women their night sweats can be so severe that they leave bedding drenched with sweat. _________________________________________________________________________

Menopause_Night_SweatsManaging Night Sweats - What Works and What Doesn't:

Most women who experience night sweats also have day-time hot flushes but the reverse is not always true..more _________________________________________________________________________

Sleep Disturbance

Women entering menopause commonly need to grapple with distressing sleep disturbances, mostly owing to symptoms like night sweats. Many women find it difficult to fall or stay asleep, but this may also be an outcome of an underlying anxiety or a primary sleep disorder. Lack of sleep may result in fatigue, irritability, poorer short-term memory and concentration issues. ___________________________________________________________________

Sleep_Irregularities_MenopauseHow To Sleep Through Menopause:  

Being a busy woman, daily exhaustion is normal. Throw in menopausal aging and it's no surprise that you may end up staring at the ceiling nightly trying to fall and stay asleep. more ___________________________________________________________________

Vaginal symptoms

Both vaginal and bladder symptoms occur commonly and are often quite distressing. Unfortunately many women are too embarrassed to discuss these issues with their doctors. Vaginal dryness, discomfort and itching may be troublesome in perimenopause. Declining levels of oestrogen induce changes in the vagina, causing it to become thinner. Atrophic changes are observed in about 30% of women during the early post-menopausal phase. Symptoms attributable to vaginal atrophy may be seen several years after your final period. The diminishing levels of the hormone oestrogen trigger vaginal dryness along with a loss in tissue elasticity. Sexual drive wanes as a result of the ensuing discomfort during sex or dyspareunia, together with declining libido in perimenopausal and menopausal women.


Urinary Symptoms

You may become more susceptible to frequent urinary infections during menopause and in the years following it. Urination may become more frequent. Changes in the urinary tract with a loss in muscle tone also make menopausal women susceptible to incontinence or an involuntary passage of urine during activities which increase the pressure on the bladder, like exercise, coughing, laughing or lifting heavy weights.


Mood Changes

It is unclear what exactly triggers mood swings in the perimenopausal period. Depression, irritability, anxiety and nervousness induced by hormonal changes may be worsened by other distressing symptoms such as hot flushes, poor sleep and fatigue. Other major upheavals occurring during this period of a woman's life such as coping with teenaged children and work related stress may all contribute to this. 


Stress_MenopauseCoping With Stress During Menopause:  

We all experience stress, but women going through menopause face new physical and emotional changes that add to daily stressors. more ___________________________________________________________________

Joint pain

Early morning pain and stiffness of the hands, knees, hips, shoulders and lower back have been reported by perimenopausal women. Although falling oestrogen levels are believed to be responsible for this symptom, the precise cause remains unclear.


Weight Gain

Weight gain during menopause is believed to result from changing hormones and natural slowing of your body's metabolism, this is also associated with aging and change lifestyle.

Falling oestrogen levels along with rising levels of the androgen hormone are responsible for the redistribution of body fat from the hips and thighs to the abdomen, the so-called middle-age spread.


Physical Changes and Symptoms

Declining levels of the hormone oestrogen at menopause results in thinning of the skin and a reduction in skin elasticity. Your skin may feel either more dry or oily than normal, with an alteration in its tone and the appearance of fine lines. Many menopausal women report a sensation akin to ants crawling over the skin, called 'formication'. Thinning of scalp hair may also be evident, with an increase in facial hair.

Reduction in oestrogen also places menopausal women at risk of health conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Bone loss is most marked 5 to 10 years after menopause, resulting in fragile bones which may fracture easily. Unfavourable changes may also be noted in your blood cholesterol levels, with a rise in the 'bad' cholesterol (LDL) and a fall in HDL (or 'good' cholesterol). These biochemical changes along with other risk factors such as a family history of heart disease, smoking, excessive body weight, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, diabetes and stress contribute to an increased incidence of heart disease in postmenopausal women. ___________________________________________________________________ 

Confident_menopauseStaying Confident Through Menopause: Going through menopause may be challenging, but with a plan you can take control of your health and happiness fueling a healthy self-esteem. more


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