February 23, 2021
Understanding Menopause – What Are The Signs?
Menopause is a phenomenon that’s often shrouded in myths and misconceptions, but there’s no reason to dread it. Simply put, menopause is the time when your menstrual cycles cease. It’s a natural fact of life that every menstruating person experiences.
Typically, menopause occurs in your 40s or 50s, but an earlier onset due to a medical condition or treatment is also possible. You’ll know that you’ve officially hit the mark when you’ve gone 12 months without menstruating, but there are lots of signs and symptoms to let you know it’s happening in advance. Many of these symptoms can be unpleasant. But there’s no dearth of ways to alleviate them, and the happy trade-off is that you’ll never have to worry again about menstruation or birth control.
Do note that the changes caused by menstruation can vary from person to person. If you’re struggling with any kind of discomfort, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention and get more information from a trusted professional. You can also improve your comfort when going through menopause simply by maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly.
Without further ado, then, read on to find out how to tell you’re going through the great change.
1. Irregular periods
Before your periods stop entirely, you’ll likely experience some variations in your regular cycle. Skipped periods are harbingers that menopause is on its way. You may find that your period skips a month then returns, or skips several months then kicks in again. Periods may also occur in shorter cycles. Other frequent symptoms include heavy bleeding, spotting, and periods that last longer than a week.
2. Fluctuations in vaginal health and bladder control
Vaginal dryness is an unfortunate side effect that often comes with menopause. Other health problems like vaginal or bladder infections may also arise. Incontinence, the lack of bladder control, may manifest in sudden urges to urinate and inability to hold in urine.
3. Trouble sleeping
Those going through menopause often struggle with falling asleep, or wake in the middle of the night and find it difficult to get back to sleep. Night sweats or hot flashes, which can strike at any time of day, can make bedtime unpleasant. The waning of reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone may also lead to the development of sleep disorders like sleep apnea.
4. Mood changes
Menopause is often said to feel like an emotional rollercoaster. You might experience an uptick in feelings of irritation, sadness, anxiety, aggressiveness. Mood swings, fatigue, tension, and difficulty concentrating are also frequent side effects of hormonal changes. A dip in your sex drive is also not uncommon.
5. Differences in body appearance
Weight gain and slowed metabolism are all part of the package when it comes to menopause. Prepare yourself for thinning hair, dry skin, loss of breast fullness, and aching joints and muscles.
Now that you know what to expect, it’s up to you to do the work of keeping healthy. Maintain regular visits to your doctor’s office during and after menopause. It’s always a good idea to get preventive services like mammography, colonoscopy, and triglyceride screenings. Other tests like thyroid, breast, and pelvic exams may also be recommended. To help with some of the symptoms of menopause, you may also want to consider lifestyle adjustments or treatments like hormone therapy.