While some women experience no symptoms, others could be having a hard time handling the onset of menopause that make your life erratic.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on August 2, 2019. It has since been updated.
Menopause is a normal part of a woman's life. It is the end of the reproductive cycle since women stop menstruating. It's not a condition or disease. Some women experience symptoms for years or months before their last period while it can be easier for others. In the United States, the average age for menopause is 51 years, according to Medical News Today.
The female sex hormone levels go down with age and ovaries stop releasing eggs eventually. Women who have had menopause will no longer be having periods or be able to get pregnant. Before you have menopause, you could have hot flashes and irregular periods -- a phase called perimenopause.
While you may not be sure when you will have menopause, it is important to keep a lookout for changes in your body and emotions. The symptoms can vary from person to person but here are seven symptoms that you could be experiencing:
This is the most common sign that menopause is around the corner. Erratic periods means it can be more or less often. It can also be heavier or lighter. It can also go on for a longer time. Periods become harder to predict since they are not in a regular cycle. While it is harder to get pregnant in this phase, it is still possible as long as you keep having periods, according to WebMD.
You could be experiencing dryness, itching, and discomfort in the vagina during the period before perimenopause. These can then lead to dyspareunia, or pain during sex. The reduced estrogen levels cause pain and vaginal atrophy. Atrophy happens when there is inflammation leading to shrinking of tissues and reduced lubrication, according to Medical News Today.
You could be feeling warm or hot at unexpected times and without reason. During this, your skin would flush red and your heart rate would increase too. You could then feel cold suddenly. If you have hot flashes during sleep it could be night sweats. It could be so extreme that you wake up. The duration of hot flashes depends on the person. Some experience a mild case while others could have more serious ones. You could also be experiencing it regularly or not at all, according to WebMD.
The change in hormone levels is likely to affect your moods. Those with mental health issues like anxiety and depression could experience an increase in symptoms during menopause. You should speak to your doctor if it has affected you for several days or weeks.
For some people, night sweats can lead to discomfort at night and lead to difficulty in sleeping. As menopause progresses, you could have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. However, your disturbed sleep pattern could also be because of insomnia or anxiety.
Some women find it harder to be interested in sex or be aroused after menopause. Using lubrication can help with vaginal dryness if that is the reason for losing interest in intimacy. However, for some women sex is better since they can have it without the fear of getting pregnant, according to WebMD.
You will experience changes in your body around perimenopause. Your hair and skin could become drier or thinner. It can also cause weight gain with the fat settled around your waist. In general, it can lead to more fat and less muscle in the body. Other problems would include stiff joints that hurt when you move making it harder to move, which is why it is important to stay active during this period. You would have to work harder to be fit and strong.