Menopause is a term that is often used to mean the period of a woman’s life when she transitions from her child-bearing years to permanent infertility. During this stage of life which happens anywhere between 40 and 55 years of age, the ovaries produce less and less of the hormone estrogen. This decline in estrogen levels is what is believed to cause many of the common menopause symptoms.
However, only a few of the menopause-related symptoms are caused by changing hormone levels. Life changes, aging, and psychological changes can also contribute to some menopause-related symptoms. If you believe you may be going through menopause, here are 7 common signs of menopause.
1. Hot Flashes
Menopause hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause experienced by fifty percent and more of women. They usually last for up to a year in most women, but some women can experience hot flashes even after menopause. Hot flashes are experienced as a spontaneous sensation of heat followed by sweating. They usually last up to three minutes and when happening at night are referred to as night sweats. Hot flashes are a result of a disrupted vasomotor response caused by declining estrogen levels.
2. Vaginal Dryness
Up to one-third of women will experience vaginal dryness during menopause while 50% of women are believed to experience vaginal dryness after menopause. Decreased estrogen production causes the vagina to become less lubricated which can make sex uncomfortable. The female reproductive organs will go through other changes such as vulvovaginal atrophy manifest as the lack of vaginal rugae and cervical changes. Vaginal dryness may be accompanied by pain, soreness, and irritation.
Studies show that up to 61% of menopausal women experience sleep disturbances. In most cases, sleep problems are caused by night-time hot flashes, but co-morbid disorders may also lead to poor sleep. The rise in core body temperature from a hot flash causes you to wake up suddenly during the night which results in fragmented sleep. This usually follows feeling sleepy and tired during the day. Some women may also start feeling depressed at the same time.
4. Mood Problems
Although depression and anxiety are not considered to be more prevalent among menopausal women; some mood problems may happen during menopause in women who have a history of mood disorders. Women who experienced episodes of bipolar disorder especially after childbirth are at a higher risk of mood disturbances during menopause. Hormone replacement therapy is also believed to help with some of the mood-related symptoms of menopause although there are not enough studies to support this claim.
5. Sexual Dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction is another symptom associated with menopause but that women rarely discuss with their doctors. Decreased libido and vaginal dryness are two of the most common sexual dysfunction problems in perimenopausal women that impair life quality according to an article published in Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey. Furthermore, the many bodily and social changes a woman goes through during her menopausal years can lead to sexual dysfunction.
6. Bladder Problems
Estrogen does not only regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle; it also plays a role in the functioning of other bodily tissue such as the bladder. According to an article published in Menopause International, the bladder, and its surrounding tissue is rich in estrogen receptors which may explain the physiological changes taking place in bladder functioning during menopause. Some of the urinary symptoms that can happen around menopause are urinary frequency, urgency, and incontinence. Urinary incontinence seems to be a result of estrogen deficiency while urinary urgency is more of an age-related symptom.
7. Weight Gain
Weight gain is another sign of menopause that is also caused by fluctuating hormone levels. Women will usually gain weight in their abdominal region around menopause which puts women at risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Changes in weight during menopause is also caused by changes in growth hormone levels which leads to less muscle mass and more body fat. Estrogen and hormone replacement therapy were found in some studies to help with excess body weight during menopause and decrease the risk of type two diabetes.
Menopause is a natural period in a woman’s life that can, unfortunately, lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms. While some of the symptoms listed here are a direct result of fluctuating hormone levels; others are simply a result of aging. Luckily, women can mitigate some of these menopause symptoms with the help of hormone replacement therapy or even alternative treatments like EstroSense, which helps counteract hormone problems with natural ingredients.
Also watch this video on: Menopause and Body Changes – What You Need to Know