8 Symptoms of Menopause

Menopause is a stage in a woman's life when she stops menstruating. It officially starts 12 months after your last period. Symptoms start way before that, though. The stage leading up to menopause is called perimenopause. On average, the transition to menopause takes about seven years but can last as long as 14 years. Most women experience menopause somewhere between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age being 51

Some women welcome this transition in life and look forward to not getting their period anymore. Some people are mournful at this stage since it marks the end of their child-bearing years. 

During perimenopause and menopause, your hormones fluctuate and may continue to do so even post-menopause. These hormone fluctuations are the root of most menopause symptoms. The compassionate providers at Women’s Health Care Center, PLLC in Helena, Montana, can help ease your symptoms as you transition to this life stage. Here, they share the most common menopause symptoms. 

Hot flashes

Hot flashes are the most common of menopause symptoms. About three out of four women experience hot flashes. Hot flashes are what they sound like. They are sudden bursts of heat that spread through your upper body. You may sweat, or your face, neck, back, chest, and arms may turn red and blotchy. They last anywhere from several seconds to several minutes. Some women experience them frequently throughout the day, while others experience them a few times a day or just once a week.

Night sweats

Night sweats are similar to hot flashes, but they occur at night. Night sweats wake you, leading to a poor night’s sleep. Night sweats and subsequent lack of sleep can contribute to other menopause symptoms such as moodiness, forgetfulness, and depression.

Vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness usually leads to sexual problems and a drop in sexual desire. Declines in estrogen can cause your vaginal canal to become thin and dry, making sexual intercourse painful and uncomfortable. 

Sleep problems

Sleep problems associated with menopause include having trouble falling asleep, having trouble staying asleep, waking too early, and not falling back asleep. As mentioned above, often sleep problems are caused by night sweats and may contribute to other menopause symptoms.

Mood swings

Fluctuating hormones can cause fluctuating moods. Mood changes during this transition can also be from stress, family changes, or lack of sleep. According to the North American Menopause Society, about a quarter of all women experience mood swings during menopause.

Hair loss or thinning

Again, blame it on the hormones! Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone help hair grow longer and faster. During pregnancy, for example, when you experience an increase in estrogen production, you may notice that your hair is longer and fuller. During menopause, however, you will probably notice the opposite. A decline in hormone production can lead to thinner, more brittle hair.

Urinary incontinence

Low estrogen can weaken your urethra, the tube where your urine flows from your bladder. With a weak urethra, you may experience urge incontinence, where you can’t make it to the bathroom in time. Another type of incontinence you may experience is stress incontinence, where you leak urine when you sneeze, cough, or laugh. 

Memory problems

Many women going through menopause have trouble concentrating and remembering things. In fact, up to two-thirds of women report these problems. Memory problems may be due to sleep issues or mood issues. 

Fortunately, many treatment options are available to help prevent or reduce troublesome menopause symptoms. Call the Women’s Health Care Center, PLLC to make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate providers to create a personalized treatment plan. 

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