By mid-40s, a woman might begin to experience menopausal symptoms. For many women, the word menopause elicits such fear. Well, the symptoms of menopause can make you quite uncomfortable. It is one thing to enter menopause not knowing exactly what is happening to you, and another to be fully aware of what is going on and fully prepared to handle it.
In this article we want to equip you with the necessary knowledge on menopausal symptoms so you are prepared to face menopause and cope even with the most uncomfortable of the symptoms.
1. Irregular and Heavy Vaginal Bleeding
Irregular and heavy vaginal bleeding is a common symptom among menopausal women. This is a result of the fluctuations in body hormones. During the years prior to menopause, the ovaries start to produce less and less estrogen, until they finally stop the production of estrogen altogether. Estrogen is responsible for ovulation. This decline therefore leads to irregular periods; you may have your period earlier or later or not even have one. They may come in heavier or lighter.
2. Weight Gain
With menopause, many women gain weight, especially around the waist. This is also attributed to the fluctuating hormones in the body. With a decline in the secretion of estrogen, the body tends to retain fat cells, especially around the stomach area, as an alternative source of estrogen. To prevent weight gain, a woman will have to adjust her diet accordingly and do regular exercises.
3. Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are episodes of intense heat that engulfs the upper body and also the face. It could range from a feeling of warmth to a feeling of being engulfed in flames. At the end of this episode, the skin retains a flush kind of appearance. Hot flashes are the body’s way of reacting to the decreasing levels of estrogen in the body. Hot flashes could be more erratic in women who have abruptly terminated estrogen production through the removal of ovaries.
4. Night Sweats
Night sweats are episodes of intense sweating that come during the night. For some, they follow hot flashes. They are caused by hormonal changes. Environmental conditions could easily increase the intensity of night sweats. Make sure to put on light weight clothing for the night (preferably absorbent materials) and have a wet cloth to wipe yourself with and have a cooling effect during the episodes.
5. Vaginal Problems
Estrogen is a key hormone among women. It ensures a moist and elastic vagina. During menopause, estrogen levels decline in the body. This decline leaves the vagina dry and less elastic. A dry vagina makes sex very painful and may result in bleeding.
6. Problems in the Urinary Tract
Just like in vaginal problems, the urinary tract muscles are often maintained in an elastic state by estrogen. When estrogen levels decline in the body, the urinary tract muscles become less elastic, which may lead to urinary incontinence, which can create a situation conducive for infections in the urinary tract.
7. Low Sexual Drive
Low sexual drive in most cases arises after vaginal problems. As explained above, vaginal problems result from fluctuations in hormone levels. With recurrent painful sex, the body and mind often withdraw at the thought of having sex. Eventually the menopausal woman ends up with low sex drive.
8. Breast Changes
During menopause, the breasts of a menopausal woman often become tender (the breasts become painful and swollen). This is also a result of the hormonal changes in the body. This experience is unique with every woman.
9. Behavioral Problems
This is a common occurrence among menopausal women. They could be irritable, angry or aggressive. This also is as a result of the hormonal changes in the woman’s body.
10. Weak Bone Health
Bone health often weakens with increased age, especially among women. But with the onset of menopause, the process of bone weakening accelerates. The reason the bones weakening is because of a lack of estrogen, which is crucial in the absorption of calcium in the body.
11. Sleep Disorders
With menopause, it becomes increasingly difficult to fall asleep and have uninterrupted sleep throughout the night. A menopausal woman keeps on turning and tossing in bed and may also have insomnia. Causes of this sleep disorder include night sweats and hot flashes. Resent research also indicates that sleep disorders may not necessarily be a result of the two. Sleep disorders may just be menopausal symptoms in their own right.
Depression is characterized by feelings of sadness and less excitement over usually exciting activities. If these symptoms occur for short duration of time, there is no need to worry. But if they persist, then it is a depressive disorder and may need medical attention.
13. Digestive Problems
These are a result of the changes in the gastro intestinal tract. Menopausal women usually have excessive gas, cramping and nausea. Hormonal imbalance that results from menopause often disrupts the normal functioning and thus leads to digestive problems.
Treatment of Menopause
Start with lifestyle changes, like getting regular exercise and eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and complex carbohydrates. Eliminate cigarettes, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and drugs from your diets.
We hope that you can now have a better picture of what to expect in menopause through the symptoms shared in the article. We look forward to reading your comments on what your experience has been with these symptoms and what your thoughts are concerning menopause.