Menopause indicates the end of a woman’s fertility. Unfortunately, there are no standardized tests to tell you how close you are and the journey toward menopause can take years. But recognizing the signs and symptoms of menopause can help you be aware that you’re nearing this stage of life.
When Do Menopause Symptoms Start?
Generally, this normal part of aging starts between 45 and 55 for most women. When you haven’t had a period for a full year, it’s officially diagnosed. But there’s also a perimenopause stage. Knowing the difference between these two changes in life will help you understand the signs and symptoms of menopause.
Perimenopause is the time when your ovaries gradually stop working and it’s the stage before menopause. During the perimenopause stage, you will begin to experience signs and symptoms of menopause.
There is also another stage called ‘postmenopause’. This is the stage after menopause. Happily, during this period your menopause symptoms will gradually start to subside, but they can continue for a few years into postmenopause.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
A change in your menstrual period might be one of the first signs that you’re approaching menopause. They can be longer than usual, heavier, or lighter. And as you get closer to menopause, it’s common to miss a period or even several.
This may be the only sign of menopause for some women, until they actually stop menstruating.
But it’s not uncommon to have other symptoms of menopause. They can even affect your quality of life due to their severity. With this in mind, here are some of the most common menopause symptoms.
- Memory problems
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- More frequent urinary tract infections
- Weight gain, especially around your belly
- Headaches, including migraines
- Mood changes like irritability or depression
- Having less energy or feeling tired
- Problems staying asleep or falling asleep
The infamous hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and sudden headaches are caused by hormonal changes. In addition, hot flashes can be the blame for other symptoms.
A hot flash is a sudden burst of heat that generally starts on your chest, face, or neck. It can last for several minutes, or just a minute. But sometimes, hot flashes are dramatic enough to interrupt your sleep. This leads to feelings of exhaustion, foggyiness the next day, and moody.
Luckily, hot flashes and its sleep-related problems usually go away after menopause. On the other hand, vaginal changes do not go away, However, they are often treatable. Eventually, you will return to feeling like a new version of your old self again.
How To Get Relief From Menopause Symptoms
Because menopause is not a disease, it does not require treatment. However, if your symptoms are affecting your hair or quality of life, talk to your doctor about getting relief from them. While lifestyle changes help many women, medication is usually more helpful.
Given these points, here are some lifestyle and diet changes you can make to help ease hot flashes and get more sleep. They can also improve your energy, as well as reduce the chance of weight gain.
- Limit processed foods and sugar to help reduce weight gain, and eat a nutritious whole-foods diet.
- Mind-body practices like meditation or yoga can help you destress and relax.
- Exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight and make you feel better in general.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Dressing in light layers will be helpful in easily removing them if you feel a hot flash coming on.
Oftentimes, your doctor can recommend medicines for menopause treatment if your symptoms are severe. But keep in mind, using certain medicines for menopause come with risks. So make sure to talk to your doctor so that you understand the pros and cons.
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