Monday, December 2, 2013

Menopause Symptoms - What Happens to You During Menopause?

The symptoms of menopause are numerous and vary from mild to severe. The classic ones are irregular periods, hot flashes and night sweats.

Irregular Bleeding

This is usually the first sign of menopause. The erratic productions of hormones cause the menstrual cycle to be irregular. Some women experience a shorter cycle, menstruating every twenty days or so, others menstruate even less frequently, perhaps once every six months.

The flow pattern also changes. Some bleed for fewer days while some may have a heavier flow. The commonest pattern is less bleeding, less often. At this stage, it is still possible to become pregnant so don't throw contraceptive caution to the wind until a year or more after the last menstrual period.

What You Can Do

There is no cause for alarm as long as you are not bleeding heavily. If you are persistently having heavy periods, do see a doctor as it may be a symptom of something more serious and should be investigated.

Hot Flashes And Night Sweats

85 percent of menopausal women experience hot flashes. Hot flashes vary from the mild that pass quickly, to those that are most distressing and occur several times throughout the day and night.

During a hot flash, a woman perspires profusely. Her temperature rises, her heart beats faster and she may fell faint. Some women can sense a flash coming. Flashes usually last only for a few seconds, followed by a cold feeling accompanied by shivering.

What You Can Do

* Wear loose, comfortable clothing made from natural fabrics.

* Carry with you cologne tissues for freshening up after the flash.

* If you are driving or working with dangerous machinery, stop what you are doing when you feel a flash coming on, as you may feel faint.

* A fan might make you feel more comfortable.

* Shower before going to bed so that you will be more comfortable at night.

* Limit hot soups, heavy meals, caffeinated drinks and crowded places as they may trigger hot flashes.

* Take things easy and learn relaxation exercises.

* Exercise regularly; women who exercise tends to have fewer flashes than those who don't.

* If the hot flashes are severe and frequent, you should see your doctor. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is usually considered.


It can be difficult to get to sleep if you are felling depressed or anxious (menopause aggravates underlying anxiety and depression), or if you are frequently interrupted by night sweats. It is also common to wake up early in the morning say about 2am or 3am and then toss and turn for the rest of the night.

What You Can Do

* Seek help from your doctor if you are anxious or depressed as these require specific treatment.

* Bring the night sweats under control so that you can sleep undisturbed. See your doctor about this.

* Make yourself a warm drink before going to bed ?it works wonders for some people.

Mood Swings And Depression

Menopause can bring about several negative feeling simultaneously resulting in irritability, mood swings, tearfulness and depression. It is often difficult to pinpoint what it is exactly that brings about the emotional changes. Often, other major changes are occurring in connection with your home and family. Perhaps your children are leaving home and you are suffering from the 'empty nest syndrome'. It could be that you are going through a difficult time in your marriage struggling to make things work. You may long to go back to work now that the children are grown or you are tired of being in the same job for twenty-five years. Perhaps you have negative thoughts about menopause or are troubled by the symptoms.

Symptoms of depression are characterized by feelings of worthlessness and self-reproach, lack of concentration, feelings of doom, fatigue, unusual sleeping patterns, extreme eating patterns and suicidal thoughts.

What You Can Do

* See your doctor if you have been having negative depressive feelings for at least two weeks. HRT is the mainstay of treatment for emotional symptoms.

* Share your feelings with your husband and you may find him very supportive. Otherwise share them with a close friend.

* Join a self-help group or start one yourself.

* Exercise to keep fit. The hormone, endorphin, released into your bloodstream will lift your moods.

* Practice relaxation techniques; they promote tranquility and combat tension.

Thinning Tissues

When estrogen decreases, the skin and other tissues become thin and lose their suppleness. The skin has more wrinkles and the hair becomes thinner and less manageable. Thinning of the urinary tract often leads to loss of bladder control and thinning of the vaginal wall causes dryness resulting in painful intercourse.

What You Can Do

* Moisturize the skin as you grow older and protect it from the sun.

* Keep a simple haircut that is easy to manage.

* Use water-based jelly to ease painful inter-course.

* Do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen bladder control. It will also give you a more acute vaginal sensation, making sex more pleasurable.

If the symptoms are really bothering you, consult your doctor. HRT is often recommended for these problems. It may be in the form of tablets, skin patches or vaginal cream.

Other Symptoms

You may also experience headaches, muscle aches, slight memory loss, hair growth, a reduction in breast size and a change in body shape, in connection with estrogen loss.

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