Menopause is considered the period after a woman hasn’t menstruated for 12 months in a row and it usually happens between the age of 45 and 55 but some exceptions occurred both before and after this time frame. Usually the signs and symptoms of menopause are very uncomfortable and knowing what to expect might help you mentally prepare for this period of your life.
The symptoms of menopause usually become active after approximately 4 years before the woman’s last period and often last for another 4 years after it. There are some cases where women experienced these symptoms for 10 years before getting to the menopause phase of their lives. Usually the age when women experience menopause is 51 give or take a few years.
As we mentioned before, signs and symptoms of menopause may happen a long time before the actual menopause phase happens and this phase is known as perimenopause. Perimenopause symptoms are almost identical to menopause symptoms considering that all of the symptoms happening in menopause may occur in the perimenopause phase too.
The most common signs and symptoms of menopause are the following
One of the first signs that you are about to enter menopause or perimenopause is the irregularity of your periods. It doesn’t only mean that you may miss your period this month.
It can also last shorter, be lighter or heavier and harder than it was before. When you’ve hit the perimenopause your period will not be the same as before and it will also be hard to predict when it’s going to happen or even if it’s going to happen again. It’s also uncertain how long it is going to last and how heavy it’s going to be. During this time or irregular periods there’s still a chance to get pregnant so make sure you still use all the protection as before.
Once your period stops and you’re in post menopause, any spotting or bleeding that seems like you’ve gotten your period should be immediately checked out and you must visit your doctor because it’s not a normal occurrence.
- Difficulty Sleeping
If you’ve never had trouble sleeping before and you’re starting to experience some signs of insomnia and restlessness, it’s definitely a sign of menopause. It’s true, there are a lot of different reasons that you might have difficulty sleeping but if you’re in the proper age range and you can’t think of anything else that might be keeping you up at night, it’s probably a menopause symptom.
It usually goes hand in hand with other symptoms of menopause like night sweats and if you’re unable to get rid of this issue for some time, you should visit your doctor and get his opinion on the matter.
Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are characterized as a sudden feeling of warmth or hot for no reason whatsoever. Some women even have their skin turn red on the spot they feel hot and they also have a raised heartbeat. Usually this is followed by a sudden feeling of coldness and its one symptom of menopause. Night sweats, on the other hand, are similar to hot flashes but they occur when you’re asleep.
Sometimes their intensity is very high that they manage to wake you up from the deepest slumber. However, there doesn’t have to happen with such a strong intensity as they vary and are different for different individuals.
They usually last between 1 and 5 minutes and their intensity can be either mild or severe. There’s also a chance that you never have this symptom while others might have a few per hour.
During your perimenopause or menopause period you might become more forgetful than usual. Although it’s not a strong sign of menopause and anyone can have a memory lapse when trying to remember where he or she parked the car or a word that just escapes your thoughts but sometimes it’s a symptom of menopause and if it happens often you should see your doctor and figure out the root of the problem.
Women in menopause are usually very moody because of the change in hormones that occurs during this period. You suddenly won’t have the same patience as you did before and if you’ve ever hard issues like anxiety or depression, they might become much worse when you’re in menopause.
It can affect the quality of life and you might feel very bad about yourself so if it perseveres for a few weeks make sure you consult your doctor about what you can do to improve your situation.
Change in Libido
Menopause will probably affect your sex drive as well making you less interested in having sex and difficulty getting aroused. However, it doesn’t have to be the case because some women report that during their menopause they’ve enjoyed sex more because they didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant anymore.
There’s a high chance that your vagina becomes much drier than usual which makes having sex hurt and isn’t enjoyable anymore which is why using nature-based lubricants is smart if that’s the case.
- Physical Changes
Aside from the possibility of losing the lubrication in your vagina and thinning of the walls, your skin and your hair will probably feel much drier as well. Another physical change in some women is that they gain weight while others might lose muscle tissue and lose the fat around their waist. Some women report issues with their joints and they have difficulty moving around because of it and you’ll probably need to put more effort into working out to keep your strength and keep yourself fit and healthy.
While these are the most common signs and symptoms of menopause that women report and usually have during their perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause period, it doesn’t mean that they are bound to happen and many women might not even feel them at all. However, if you start feeling any of them and they happen to be severe, immediately go to your doctor so you can figure out a way to get relief of those symptoms because they can seriously lower your quality of life.