Menopause is a period in a woman’s life when the production of eggs and the regular menstrual cycle ceases. It typically occurs around the age of 45-50 but may occur anytime earlier or later. It can also happen for no apparent reason, known as primary amenorrhea. Many symptoms accompany menopause, including hot flashes, sleep problems, mood changes, and vaginal dryness.
1. Periods Become Irregular
In some cases, a woman may experience periods that become irregular during menopause. This happens because the ovaries begin to make less estrogen, the hormone that regulates menstruation.
The first sign of irregular periods is that you may skip a period from time to time. However, if this becomes more frequent, it can mean that your body is not producing enough estrogen for ovulation to occur, which means you will not be able to get pregnant.
2. Experiencing Vasomotor Symptoms
Vasomotor symptoms are the most common and distinctive menopause symptoms. These are caused by a lack of estrogen and include hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness.
Some women experience them occasionally, while others have an occasional flare-up that lasts for weeks or months. However, at least half of women who enter menopause will have these symptoms every day for several years during the transition period.
3. Lower Fertility
The final sign of menopause is that a woman will not be able to get pregnant. Although there is no evidence that taking hormone replacement therapy can help restore fertility. However, it is essential to discuss this option with a doctor in case of low fertility.
4. Vaginal Dryness and Discomfort
Although many women experience some vaginal dryness in their thirties, it often becomes more noticeable during menopause. This can be due to reduced estrogen levels, a sign of a vaginal infection, or low hormone levels.
5. Complaints about Sex
Many women experience sexual difficulties as menopause approaches. Although this is no surprise, it’s important to discuss the changes that will happen with your doctor.
If you are experiencing pain during intercourse, it could be due to vaginal dryness or a urinary tract infection. Other factors include decreased lubrication during sex and a decrease in sexual desire. However, you can also get back your sex life after menopause.
6. Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are the most common complaint of menopause. They appear suddenly, last for a few minutes, and then disappear. Many women experience hot flashes only occasionally, while others will have them constantly. However, hot flashes can affect any woman experiencing them. Several different types of hot flashes can occur during menopause:
Temporary but intense: These are similar in intensity to mild fever and can be caused by an infection, low blood sugar, and emotional stress.
Frequent but mild: These are brief, faint sensations that frequently occur during the day and go away on their own. They can be caused by low estrogen levels, weight gain, and certain cancer treatments.
Frequent and severe: These hot flashes can begin at night and wake the person from sleep, sometimes lasting up to 30 minutes. They are common in older women and may be caused by low estrogen levels or a change in the brain’s thermostat.
7. Sleep Disturbances
Changes in hormone levels can affect the quality of sleep during menopause. A woman’s body adjusts to changes in her monthly cycle, and this process causes a person to wake more often at night. Additionally, osteoporosis can lead to difficulty in falling and staying asleep, as well as waking during the night.
8. Changes In Mood
Menopause brings many changes to a woman’s life. It can be stressful, worrying, or unnecessary emotional upheaval. Periods of depression are common during this time because a woman is dealing with many physical and hormonal changes. She also may feel that her youth is slipping away as she begins to age. Stress, anxiety, and mood changes can occur after menopause. Some women do not experience any mood problems during or after the transition and live long healthy lives. However, some find that their mental health deteriorates significantly during menopause or afterward, and some suffer from clinical depression.
Conclusively, menopause can be a positive experience. As you may have noticed, many physical, emotional, and psychological changes can occur during this time. However, these are not permanent and can be treated using hormone replacement therapy.
Miranda Spears is a Texas native who after graduating from University of Texas at Austin, spends her time as a freelance writer. When not writing, Miranda enjoys horseback riding, shopping, trying new recipes, and spending time with her lovely little pug, Gizmo. Miranda often turns to happy healthy you to alleviate her menopause symptoms.