Not sure whether you are going through menopause? The typical definition of menopause is having gone an entire year without having a menstrual period. If you have a menstrual period any time throughout the year, you would be classified as being in perimenopause.
Perimenopause can start anywhere from 5 to 10 years before you are officially classified as being in menopause. This is the time when hormonal changes can be noticed in many women. Postmenopause is the time after menopause and is often referred to as menopause.
The average age of menopause is 51. Some women, however, can go through menopause much earlier and some much later. The hormonal fluctuations that occur prior to menopause can begin as early as the age of 35. Many women experience symptoms associated with it before, during, and after menopause.
What are some signs of these hormone changes that you may notice? We give you 8 important signs of menopause:
1. Hot Flashes
This is the most common sign of menopause. It involves having sudden feelings of warmth and the body feeling very hot and flushed.
Hot flashes can last from a few seconds to a couple of hours and can be very distressing for many women.
Some women may have multiple hot flashes every day. Hot flashes are due to the fluctuations in the ovarian production of hormones. Hot flashes usually start in the perimenopausal years. It has been reported that some women can have hot flashes for up to 14 years!
2. Night Sweats
Night sweats, like hot flushes, are extremely unpredictable. It can frequently trouble women during menopause. It is not uncommon for a woman to get up drenched in sweat, which can be embarrassing. Night sweats are perhaps the second-most common sign of menopause.
3. Irregular Periods
Some periods may be longer and heavier, while some may be light.
Hormonal levels may not follow a regular pattern. The ovaries produce fluctuating amounts of estrogen and progesterone. Some cycles may produce an egg and be ovulatory, while others may not produce an egg and be anovulatory. Ovulatory and anovulatory cycles last different lengths of time, so the periods may be irregular or you may miss it.
4. Mood Swings
Depression, anxiety, and times of elation can be unpredictable during menopause. This can make a woman more irritable and emotional. Many women complain of not feeling like themselves. There can be a feeling of hopelessness because of lack of control over the situation.
5. Lack Of Libido
The discomfort and less interest in sex can become a sense of constant tension.
Many menopausal women complain of having little or no sex drive. Sex may also be more painful due to changing hormone levels, which in turn causes vaginal dryness.
6. Urinary Symptoms
You might feel like relieving yourself more often and the urge incontinence may increase too during menopause.
7. Vaginal Dryness
Due to lack of estrogen exposure to the vaginal tissues, there can be an increase in vaginal dryness. This leads to thinning and drying out of vaginal tissues, which can also cause pain during intercourse.
Fortunately, women can use a vaginal lubricant during sex; use a vaginal moisturizer; or can be prescribed estrogen in the form of a gel, cream, or suppositories that will have few systemic effects but increase vaginal secretions. Hormone replacement therapy can also increase vaginal moisture.
Women during menopause suffer from insomnia or sleeping problems. It might be difficult to just get to sleep and even staying asleep through the night.
Not every woman in menopause will experience each and every one of these symptoms. And this is not a complete list of symptoms that women might experience.
If you think you’re experiencing menopausal symptoms that interfere with the quality of life, you should see your doctor to be evaluated further and discuss your treatment options.
Menopause doesn’t mean you stop producing sex hormones; you do but in smaller amounts.
The adrenal glands produce half of the estrogen and progesterone in postmenopausal women so that small amounts of circulating estrogen and progesterone are still found in this stage.
This is why some women experience no vaginal dryness, hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats, even after going through the perimenopausal years. Every woman experiences menopause differently. Some may have very few symptoms and others many unpleasant ones. The journey through menopause is unique for every woman.