The natural process called menopause is experienced in different ways by each woman. Navigate through this article to know the various signs and symptoms of menopause.

Menopause Symptoms

The state of absence of twelve consecutive periods leads to a stage called menopause. It is during this phase that the body undergoes several changes, the most common of them being irregular periods, a reduction in the estrogen and progesterone levels, lining of the vagina and urethra getting thinner and dryer, and sexual intercourse becoming painful and uncomfortable. This indicates that the productive years in a woman’s life are getting over and the menstrual cycle is coming to a halt. Though the average age of reaching menopause is 51 years, this can largely vary in different women. Most women reach this stage between 45 to 55 years, but menopause can occur as early as in the 30s or 40s, or even as late as in the 60s. As a general rule of thumb, women undergo the menopause stage at an age similar to when their mothers had reached. Learning the signs of menopause is very crucial so that you can prepare yourself well in advance and welcome this new stage happily with open arms. Take a look at the various signs and symptoms of menopause in the following lines.
Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause
Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are one of the most frequent symptoms of menopause, experienced by a vast majority of women. Hot flashes are characterized by sudden heat strokes in the upper part of the body with a noticeable redness in the face and neck. They are a result of body’s reactions to reduced supply of estrogen hormones that occur when a woman enters the menopause stage. Depending upon the reduction in the estrogen hormones, hot flashes differ variedly. When they decrease gradually, women complain of few hot flashes, but in women, where ovaries stop producing estrogen suddenly, hot flashes turn out to be a roller-coaster ride.
Night Sweats
An evening cousin of hot flashes, night sweats can be mild or severe, but usually disappear after few years of menopause. Also known as nocturnal hyperhydrosis, night sweat is a common perspiration disorder wherein women suddenly wake up in middle of the night and find it difficult to fall asleep again. As a result, they complain of un-refreshing sleep and tiredness during the day.
Irregular Periods
Women experience menstrual irregularities with their periods occurring more frequently or getting farther and farther apart. As such, the menstrual cycle can become shorter, occurring every 24 days instead of 28, or longer, after 2-3 months, with no “normal” pattern of bleeding. Also, the bleeding can last for only few days or extend up to like there’s no end. This menstrual irregularity is commonly observed in the mid-40s as women graduate towards the menopause stage.
Vaginal Dryness
Dryness in the vagina is another common symptom of menopause. The moist and soft feel of the lining of the vaginal area is lost, since the tissues start getting thin and less elastic. As a result, most women have problems with regular intercourse that leads to pain and discomfort, causing vaginal itching, irritation, or even severe infections.
Loss Of Libido
It is due to the changes in hormones that causes a change in sexual drive. With a reduction in the estrogen levels, the vagina gets dryer and takes more time to get lubricated. As such, women may experience loss of libido or trouble in getting aroused. However, in some cases, women become more sexually active since conceiving or getting pregnant is no more a worry.
Mood Swings
Complaining of mood swings is another common symptom of menopause, though it varies intensely. In some cases, women experience anxiety and clinical depression, which can be treated through medical prescription. But for most women, these signs are similar to normal mood swings occurring during menstruation. Since exhaustion is a frequent sign during menopause, it becomes difficult to get rest due to night sweats and interrupted sleep. As such, less sleep leads to more stress, thereby leading to more mood swings.
Weight Gain
Weight gain, especially around the mid section, is yet another sign of reaching the menopause stage. Numerous books and doctors state that menopause has got nothing to do with weight gain, but it is a commonly observed sign in menopausal women. This generally happens as women are aging and their metabolism is reducing. Lean muscle mass reduces, thereby making it difficult to maintain or gain lean muscle.
Breast Pain
Often, women complain of pain, soreness, or tenderness in one or both breasts before or during menstrual periods. However, these signs are possible during pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause as well. As a result, they can lead to discomfort and pain on touching or applying pressure to the breasts. Though these signs fade with time, if they persist for more than two months, seek medical advice. Also, any breast pain that is accompanied with a breast lump or nipple discharge should not be ignored and reported to the doctor on an immediate basis.
Other Menopause Signs:
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Loss or thinning of hair on head, pubic, or whole body
  • Menopause sleep disorders
  • Disturbing memory lapses
  • Concentration, disorientation, and mental confusion problems
  • Dizziness and light headedness
  • Incontinence (easy passage of urine on sneezing, and laughing)
  • Sudden bouts of bloat
  • Change in body odor
  • Increase in allergies
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sore joints and muscle aches
  • Severe headaches
  • Digestive problems, such as indigestion, nausea, flatulence, and gas pain
  • Gum problems, like intensive bleeding
  • Increased tension in muscles
  • Cold or tingling hands and feet
  • Ringing and buzzing in ears
  • Yeast infections
  • Leg cramps
  • Osteoporosis (after many years)
  • Sensations of electric shock under the skin and in the head
  • Softening, cracking, or easy breaking of fingernails
  • Increase in premenstrual syndrome 
By following a diet with low fat content, regular exercising, and relaxing techniques, like yoga and meditation, you can reduce the signs and symptoms of menopause to a great extent. All the best and take care!

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