Menopause is the naturally occurring period of women life – actually it is the end of female menstrual cycle and ovulations, end of reproductive function and reproductive years. In healthy women usually menopause happens between the ages of 45 and 55. Age of menopause is genetically determined and usually occurs approximately at the same time in females of same family (grandmother-mother-daughter). During this period of life women experience several menopause signs including dramatic hormonal changes (mainly reduced production of main female hormone estrogen), slow disappearance of egg maturation, menstrual irregularities and natural infertility. Ovaries reduce production of two main hormones (estrogen and progesterone) which are necessary for normal regular menstrual cycles, ovulation and fertility. According to health experts, menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months (absence of menstrual cycles, absence of ovulation, natural infertility).
Menopausal process is happening slowly over 3 main stages – perimenopause (starting menopause signs), menopause (maximum menopause symptoms) and postmenopause (full body adaptation to reduced levels of hormones). Menopause signs may be different depending on stage, genetic factors, hormonal status and general health. Women in menopause could experience very different symptoms – typical and personal unusual. Fundamental menopause surveys discovered over 50 menopause symptoms including menstrual irregularities, hot flashes, sleep disorders, night sweats, mood swings and emotional disturbances, weight gain and obesity, reduced libido and vaginal dryness, urinary tract dysfunctions, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, skin changes, breast changes, sexual disorders, dizziness, memory problems and concentration difficulties, depression and anxiety, hair loss, tingling in extremities, changes in fingernails and more.
Top 5 menopause signs
In most women menopause happens naturally with age (after 45-55) but sometimes younger women could experience premature ovarian failure or premature surgical menopause (after ovariectomy) with similar menopause signs.
Some lucky women pass menopause smoothly without any severe symptoms. Many women (about 75-80%) experience typical menopause symptoms and small groups of women suffer from many severe menopause symptoms during few years.
In general, menopause symptoms stop gradually with aging (during 2-5 years after symptoms start). Some women suffer from severe menopause symptoms for longer period of life and they need adequate treatment.
Top 5 menopause signs – menstrual disturbances
In most cases menstrual disturbances are most common or first signs of menopause. As during menopause ovaries age and release fewer hormones, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) can no longer perform their usual functions to regulate estrogen, progesterone and testosterone productions. These inevitable changes in hormones and natural decline of estrogen levels during menopause significantly affect menstrual functions and fertility. Menopause occurs when all ovarian follicles and eggs are lost – it correlated with aging.
Some women just stop having menstrual periods but most women at the beginning of menopause experience different types of menstrual dysfunctions. Menopausal women could experience oligomenorrhea (rare periods), late shorter and lighter periods, shorter menstrual cycle (periods every 15-18 days), heavy longer periods, irregular periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding. All depend on abnormal hormonal fluctuations typical for menopausal period.
Top 5 menopause signs – hot flashes
Hot flashes are momentary sensations of body heat that can be accompanied by reddish flushed face and sweating. It is very specific feeling of warmth that spreads over the body. Hot flashes are often strongly felt in head and neck zone – women experience sudden, intense, hot feeling on face and upper body. Often hot flashes preceded or accompanied by rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, headache and/or weakness. During menopause some women experience so called “aura” (warning feeling just before hot flashes) which lets women to know that it is coming. Menopausal women can experience soaker or merely moist upper lip. Hot flashes can be accompanied by night sweats (episodes of night drenching sweats) which could lead to awakening, disturbed sleeping and difficulty falling asleep again.
Hot flashes are the most frequent symptoms which many women experience during menopause but not all menopausal women experience hot flashes.
Duration of hot flashes can be different starting from few second and finishing with several minutes. The frequency of hot flashes also can be different. Commonly women experience hot flashes every 2-4 hours. Some menopausal women can suffer from as many as 15-20 hot flashes per day.
Hot flashes can be accompanied by headaches, tiredness, irregular heartbeats or racing heart.
Top 5 menopause signs – mood swings
Unusual hormonal fluctuations during menopause are responsible for women mood swings, sudden tears, crashing fatigue, feeling doom, anxiety, depression, irritability, inconsistency, disturbed memory, difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion or just sadness.
Menopausal mood swings could create problems at working place, in private relations and family communications.
Top 5 menopause signs – weight gain
About 80-90% menopausal women could experience different types of weight changes (mainly weight gain, overweight or obesity). Menopausal weight gain associated with increased amount of fat around the mid section (abdomen, buttock) – making rounder body shape. Weight gain includes also increase of body mass, fat deposit and fluid retention.
Top 5 menopause signs – dry vagina and urinary tract disturbances
Decreased levels of estrogen during menopause usually trigger thinning of vaginal skin and mucous in vulva. Menopausal vagina loses its ability to produce adequate lubrication (wetness). This is why menopausal women could suffer from dry vagina and accompanied itching, soreness, discomfort and painful sexual contacts.
Similar changes could happen in urinary tract triggering dryness, internal lining fragility, bladder irritation and urinary tract infections. This is why menopausal women could experience painful frequent urination with burning sensation or difficulties to urinate.
HOT FLASHES – what is it? Hot flashes are the most frequent symptoms which many women experience during premenopause, perimenopause and menopause, but not all women undergoing menopause experience hot…
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.