Menstruating woman between the ages of 40 and 55 are naturally approaching menopause. Many changes accompany this stage of life, but they do not have to include anxiety or disorientation. Women nearing menopause usually experience a variety of physical and emotional symptoms caused by hormonal imbalances. This phase of fluctuating hormone levels, perimenopause, differs for every woman and typically lasts for a few years. Lowered production of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone cause these signs of menopause.
Hormonal changes in a woman's body affect the ovaries, which in turn impact periods. Women entering perimenopause will notice their periods become more erratic. Some months, periods will be delayed, while others will arrive early. Menstruation varies from lighter to heavier than before. As you reach this stage of life, irregular or even missed periods are as likely or more likely to be a sign of menopause as a sign of pregnancy.
A typical sign of menopause is the sudden sensation of heat spreading through the body, referred to as a hot flash. This overwhelming blast of warmth varies in intensity as well as duration and often disturbs sleeping patterns. A woman's face and neck may turn red and her skin may look blotchy during a hot flash. Approximately 70 to 80% of women experience hot flashes during menopause. To alleviate these symptoms, try wearing breathable clothes made of cotton and drink extra water.
Hormonal changes cause a drop in estrogen levels, resulting in a loss of lubrication and vaginal elasticity. They also cause thinning or atrophy of the lining of the vaginal walls. This can make sexual intercourse painful. Some women experience vaginal irritation and itchiness, which are side effects of dryness. Vaginal dryness is perhaps one of the most distressing symptoms of menopause, but a doctor can prescribe medicated creams and gels to alleviate this symptom.
Many women notice an increase in the number of UTIs they contract when nearing menopause. Lower estrogen levels cause the urinary tract to be more prone to infections. Women who notice a change in the frequency of urination or a persistent urge to pass urine accompanied by a burning sensation should speak to a doctor, as these are signs of a UTI. Perimenopausal women may also begin to notice urine leakage, more frequent urination, or the urgent need to urinate as muscles lose their elasticity.
With the onset of menopause, women may begin to gain weight, particularly in their midsection. This may be due to a slowing metabolism and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It is especially important for perimenopausal women to maintain a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly to maintain general health.
Some women experience menopausal mood swings, which can result in outbursts of anger, anxiousness, a short temper, and irritability. As hormones fluctuate, a woman may experience changes that make her very sensitive emotionally. Such bouts can leave menopausal women and their families confused and frustrated. To manage this symptom, try to get sufficient amounts of good quality sleep and regular exercise.
A good night's sleep may seem like a distant fantasy for some women in menopause. With age, many people begin to lose their ability to sleep through the night. With the onset of menopause, some women experience difficulty falling and remaining asleep. Women might find themselves waking up in the middle of the night and having trouble falling back asleep. Meditation, a warm bath, listening to soft music, dimming the lights, and avoiding cell phones right before bedtime may help improve sleep.
Women going through menopause tend to lose their libido as estrogen levels in the body decline. Other factors contribute to a loss of libido in menopausal women as well, including delayed clitoral reaction and lack of orgasmic response. Women who struggle with this symptom may wish to consult a doctor who can suggest hormone replacement or over-the-counter medications that may help.
The sudden reduction of estrogen in the body can affect the bones, ligaments, and joints; hormones play an important role in the health of these tissues. Women may lose bone density, which can increase the risk of hip fractures, and some experience joint pain. While these symptoms may seem minor, they can have serious long-term effects. Women should increase their intake of vitamin D and calcium and maintain a low-impact exercise program.
In the lead-up to menopause, a lot of women complain about memory loss or lapses. They experience forgetfulness and may have difficulty concentrating. After the onset of menopause, instances of misplaced house keys, forgotten anniversaries, and skipped meals often become more common. Memory lapses are a common symptom directly associated with decreased estrogen levels. If memory lapses become a regular occurrence, it is best to seek the advice of a physician.
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