It is important to understand the different types of menopause symptoms because they could start up to ten years before actual menopause begins. You should understand what is happening, not only to be prepared for menopause, but in order to treat the symptoms properly. You would not want to confuse them with some other health problem. The best thing is to know your body very well and to speak to a doctor if any symptoms are exhibited.
Menopause can start at any time between forty and sixty years of age. Some women can even start to feel the oncoming effects in their thirties. Usually this is qualified as pre-menopause.
A common mistake about menopause is thinking that its main event is the period ending. This, just like hot flashes and mood swings, is just another symptom of the bigger cause. Menopause is really when a woman’s ovaries stop releasing the same high level of estrogen. Eggs do not get released any more and periods then end when they have had the full effect of lowered estrogen levels. It also explains why other symptoms happen as they do.
Irregular periods will probably occur for a while before the periods stop entirely. This is very normal. The new hormone levels will throw your entire body off its usual track. Think of how irregular your periods were when you went through puberty. This is the same process, just going in the other direction. Irregular periods may mean other irregularities, like premenstrual syndrome at odd times or all month long, constant cramping, or sore breasts. A doctor can best examine and qualify these symptoms.
Many women also note a change in libido. This is usually a decrease, but in some cases sexual appetite increases. Usually a component of libido change is vaginal dryness, for which lubricants, medication, or suppositories may need to be used. It is only natural that one’s sex drive will change to correspond with a change in the reproductive system.
Less estrogen in the system will affect physical appearance. Many women experience hair growth in new areas, like the chin and upper lip. Skin can become rougher and hair can become more brittle. It is important to take proper care of these changing elements through conditioners, vitamins, and lotions. This will help prevent against lowered self-confidence.
Hot flashes may be the most notorious symptom of menopause because of the extreme discomfort they cause. The body attempts to regulate all of its changes, including temperature, by sending heat throughout the body. Temperatures skyrocket very quickly, leaving women sweating and exhausted. The flashes quickly fade away and women find themselves to be freezing. Medications can stop flashes and vitamins can reduce the effects.
The strain on your body will be tremendous, leading to many headaches and muscle stress. Joints and bones could be sore. You may feel like you have to pee more frequently. These should all be brought to the attention of your doctor but, for the most part, they are normal. Your body tries to cope with changes in strange ways.
Depression is another common symptom due to the fact that so much is changing. It could be the result of a chemical imbalance or due to the social stigmas women have about menopause. It is a normal change that every woman must go through, not a sign of an individual being ‘less of a woman.’ Of course, depression is not helped by the other symptoms, which are the frequent aches and pains, lowered sex drive, and difficulty sleeping. Sometimes therapy is needed to get women in the right mindset regarding the new phase of life.