At some point in a woman’s life, the menstrual cycle stops occurring and this is called menopause. On a deeper sense, it is when the ovulation stops in the ovary. It is a natural occurrence but sometimes due to the challenges that women go through especially during the pre-menopausal period, they require additional help and guidance.
Signs and symptoms vary from women to women. Below are some of the symptoms women experiences during menopausal period.
• Blushing skin
• Sleeping issues such as night sweating or insomnia
• Mood swings, which may include anxiety, feeling of depression and irritability
• Vaginal concerns such as dryness and pains during sex
• Less frequent menstrual period
When does menopause start?
The age bracket that typically experience menopause is between the late 40s or the early 50s. Studies have shown that in western countries, the average age for having their last period is 51 years old, while in Australia, it is 51.7. In Asian countries such as Philippines and India, the average is at 44 years old.
POF or premature ovarian failure is a rare case wherein a woman’s ovary stops functioning at a very age. It can happen as early as puberty age to 40 years of age. Statistically, about 1% of women experience POF at 40 years of age and 0.1% are known to have experienced this at 30 years old.
Understanding the stages of Menopause
Menopause is a period of changes until the menstrual flows comes to a halt. The four stages are:
• Pre-menopause. Some specialists describe as the peak where which the menopausal stage would start to occur.
• Peri-menopause. The stage where most women would feel most of the symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness or hot flashes.
• Menopause. The time when a women has her last menstrual flow. This is undetermined until it happens and a woman would only know that the last one has happened after counting the months back. Experts recommend to consult a specialist if they find any vaginal bleeding a year after the last menstrual flow.
• Post-menopausal. Any point in time after a woman had her last period.
What to do when Menopause starts?
Once you start to see signs and symptoms of menopause, you can visit your family physician about it. There are two tests that can be done to identify the stage that you are in.
• Blood Test. The levels of follicle stimulating hormone or FSH can be checked through blood tests. FSH dramatically shots up as the ovaries begin to slow down and eventually shut down.
• Pap Smear. A process that is rarely done but is used to check the thinning of the vaginal walls for the amount of estrogen present in the vagina. The most precise way of checking menopausal period is by to monitor and to keep track of your menstrual cycle for a year. Some experts recommend using protection when in peri-menopausal period. This is because the fertility of a woman may be low, but there is still a possibility of pregnancy.
What are the perimenopause symptoms?
When a woman undergoes a transition period whereby the production of hormones slows down, it’s known as perimenopause. It is a stage every woman must undergo as she ages. Some start as early as 30 years, others between the ages of 40 and 50. The actual menopause takes place years after the symptoms begin.
It is however important to note that perimenopause differs in women so are the experiences. This means that you should not expect to undergo the same changes as your best friend or relative. As much as we often put more importance on the hormones, also the estrogen has a big role to play in body functions. With its withdrawal come side effects incurable by medicine.
Here are some of the notable symptoms of perimenopause.
Change in menstrual flows.
Periods in women are never consistent and might change due to certain factors such as drastic climatic change, consumption of different food types new to your body system, pregnancy, stress, medication, just to mention a few. But when it happens consistently, and not due to these factors, might certainly relate to perimenopause. If it’s been 12 months since the last menstrual period and the pregnancy tests negative, quite certainly you are on menopause. During perimenopause, the periods get lighter and shorter or heavier and longer. Make a point of visiting a doctor when things don’t feel right.
Difficulty in Sleeping.
This is one of the most common symptoms. Sleeplessness can be caused by estrogen withdrawal which makes the brain to release flight-or-flight response chemicals. Though not for all, hormone replacement therapy might help calm down the late-night prowls.
The hormones trigger the brain to regulate body temperature. When this message is misread by the hypothalamus, instead of cool-down your body system puts high gear, resulting in you soaking wet. Advice, do not wear silk, and in the case of severe symptoms, hormone replacement therapy is another option. Also, antidepressants, soy rich diet and black cohosh help alot.
Periods come with mood changes- crying spell, sudden irritability and irrational anger, due to the hormones. Lack of adequate sleep is also a contributing factor to mood swings though some women have complained of this during perimenopause. Studies show that women above 45 are less likely to suffer from depression compared to younger women. It isn’t natural for anyone to suffer from depression in the aging process.
Some women will feel freedom to explore sex with possible pregnancies and menstrual periods being old news. Others will have low self esteem and feel less desirable while others who gave sex less priority might feel relieved. Inadequate sleep, stress and feelings about menopause can affect your excitement.
Less estrogen equals less moisture. Estrogen helps produce oils and seal moisture in the skin. Perimenopause results in thinner drier vaginal tissue which can result in painful sex. Pills, gel, cream, tablet, ring lubricants can be used during intimacy.
It’s a frustrating perimenopausal symptom singe the weight gained doesn’t distribute evenly. Mostly settles around the belly. The older one gets the easier it is to gain weight and difficult to get rid of.
Tender breasts can also mean periods or pregnancy. In perimenopause, the breasts tend to retain fluid causing them to swell due to the hormone changes. They may feel sore and heavy. Cut down fat and caffeine intake, pop some pain killers and apply hot or cold compress to help relieve the discomfort.
The health of the urinary bladder is partly dependent on estrogen so its reduction weakens bladder control. It’s a common symptom in perimenopose women though most don’t talk about it. There are medications, exercises and behavior techniques that help restrain the weak muscles.
Migraine is caused by abnormal brain activity and can be triggered by unfamiliar odors, stress, exercise, or an empty stomach. Withdrawal of estrogen is said to prompt migraines in women undergoing perimenopause and others frequency of the migraines diminished.
Author Bio – Sunil Kumar is a passionate blogger, penetration tester, software programmer, seo expert and digital marketer. He is the founder of website ” Blogging Hub “.