Menopause is an essential milestone in a woman’s life. It marks the end of her reproductive years and signals the beginning of a new chapter. While menopause is natural, it can also come with unwelcome physical and emotional changes. For this reason, it’s essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms that can accompany it. In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about recognizing the symptoms of menopause.
Most women accept that they will experience menopause eventually, but many are uncertain how to recognize signs of menopause when it does occur. Many women are caught entirely off guard when told they are in menopause. Recognizing menopause signs is essential because these symptoms can be misdiagnosed and confused with other medical conditions. We also want you to understand how you feel when you are in menopause, and the symptoms you experience will differ from another woman. It would be best to never compare your menopause symptoms with someone else’s.
Our Atlanta-based doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating signs of menopause. Let’s take a moment to consider the most common early symptoms of menopause.
1. Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, and Menopause:
Hot flashes during the day can be pretty uncomfortable and embarrassing. They can cause you to strip or send you looking for the nearest fan, air conditioner vent, or freezer to cool down. At night, you might wake up drenched in sweat or unable to fall asleep due to night sweats. Often, menopausal women freeze others in their household, causing them to bundle up by setting the thermostat at low temperatures. These women discover they have less need for coats and sweatshirts and experience more discomfort in close quarters with others.
Menopause is a natural transition in life for women, but along with it often come some unpleasant physical symptoms. Hot flashes and night sweats are two of the most common issues associated with menopause. These sudden extreme heat episodes can leave many uncomfortable and overly warm.
Hot flashes and night sweats are two of the most common symptoms experienced during menopause. The fluctuation of hormones, specifically estrogen, is primarily to blame for these uncomfortable issues. Hot flashes are characterized by intense feelings of heat that can be accompanied by a flushed face and sweating. Night sweats refer to episodes in which an individual experiences excessive perspiration during sleep.
Hormones play a massive role in hot flashes and night sweats as they reach their lowest levels when women enter menopause. Estrogen helps regulate body temperature, so once levels decrease, sudden surges occur, creating the sensation of heat, known as hot flashes. At night, sweat glands may be overactive due to hormone fluctuations resulting in increased perspiration while sleeping or waking up drenched in sweat.
Hot flashes occur when blood vessels widen, causing an increase in body temperature, which leads to a feeling of warmth that can last from 30 seconds to 10 minutes or longer. Night sweats are similar in that they also cause an increase in body temperature. Still, unlike hot flashes, night sweats tend to last much longer, and the sensation of being too warm doesn’t necessarily dissipate when the episode has passed.
Although there is no cure for hot flashes and night sweats experienced during menopause, tried-and-true methods like hormone therapy are available to help lessen their effects.
2. Weight Gain and Menopause:
Weight gain is a common sign of menopause, and knowing the symptoms of menopause can help women prepare for potential weight gain.
Weight gain is not inevitable during menopause; however, there are certain lifestyle changes that can help minimize or prevent it from happening. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits and exercising regularly are two key components to avoiding weight gain during menopause. Reducing stress levels and getting adequate sleep can also reduce the risk of losing extra pounds during this time in life.
3. Fatigue and Menopause:
Fatigue is a common symptom of menopause, with many women reporting overwhelming tiredness during this life stage. Menopause can cause changes in hormone levels, which then lead to a decreased level of energy and fatigue.
Studies have shown that up to 75% of women experience physical or mental fatigue as one of the main symptoms associated with menopause. Other common symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, weight gain, and vaginal dryness. Many women find that managing these symptoms includes lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating, and relaxation techniques.
Women experiencing fatigue related to menopause should seek advice from their doctor if the condition persists or worsens over time. Regular visits with your doctor can help identify any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the fatigue so they can be appropriately treated.
4. Insomnia and Menopause:
Menopause and insomnia are closely related. As women age, the body undergoes several changes associated with menopause. Many women experience insomnia as one of the first signs of the menopausal transition. Insomnia can manifest in various ways, including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both.
Other symptoms commonly associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings, can make falling or staying asleep even more difficult. A decrease in estrogen levels is thought to be responsible for disrupting regular sleep patterns during this time of life. Hormonal imbalances can also cause other physical and mental discomforts, such as headaches and memory problems, which may further contribute to insomnia during menopause.
5. Vaginal Atrophy, Vaginal Dryness, and Menopause:
Vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness are the most common and uncomfortable symptoms women experience during menopause. As hormone levels change, the walls of the vagina become thin, dry, and inflamed, resulting in painful intercourse. It can also lead to recurrent urinary tract infections or UTIs.
Sexual intercourse can become painful and uncomfortable before and during menopause due to vaginal atrophy. Hormones are essential for the health of the vagina. As hormones decline in menopause, vaginal atrophy occurs. As the vagina atrophies, it loses elasticity and painful intercourse results. The vagina can harden, which means it doesn’t stretch with sex. Vaginal atrophy can be somewhat disturbing and often sends women into their doctor’s office without suspecting menopause as the cause of their problem. Vaginal dryness also results in the decline of hormones during menopause. Although not as distressing as vaginal atrophy, vaginal dryness can cause irritation and discomfort. Women often turn to vaginal lubricants to help their vaginal dryness. Restoring hormone balance can reverse vaginal atrophy and dryness.
Treating this condition requires restoring the natural balance of hormones in the body. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often recommended for women experiencing severe vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness symptoms during menopause. This may involve taking a combination of estrogen supplements and other medications to increase the vagina’s moisture levels and reduce inflammation. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as increasing water intake, avoiding harsh soaps or detergents near the genital area, using lubricants during intercourse, abstaining from smoking, and other unhealthy habits can help relieve these conditions, too.
6. Changes in Period Regularity and Menopause:
Menopause is a natural part of life for many women, with most experiencing it around the age of 51. However, the physical and emotional effects of menopause can be far-reaching and unpredictable—one often-overlooked symptom changes in period regularity. Many women experience irregular periods, heavy periods, or both due to changing hormone levels during menopause.
These changes can be alarming and confusing for those used to regular cycles throughout their reproductive years. Understanding why these symptoms are happening can help women feel more prepared to deal with them if they arise. Women need to discuss any new or strange periods with their doctor so that any underlying health issues can be identified and addressed.
For many women, this is the first indication that they may be experiencing menopause. If you are in your mid to late 40s and your periods have been regular in the past, when that pattern changes, you might be experiencing your earliest sign of menopause. Many women say they experience menopause around the same age as their mothers. One might consider their age to be a benchmark for predicting the onset of menopause.
7. Excessive Urination and Menopause:
The bladder, like the vagina, is affected by the menopause hormone decline. The bladder loses its elasticity and ability and, thereby, its ability to hold urine, causing women to experience urinary frequency and urgency. This can be a subtle symptom many women fail to recognize as a sign of menopause.
Excessive urination during menopause is a common and uncomfortable occurrence for many women. This condition, known as urinary frequency, is caused by decreased female hormones during menopause. As hormone levels drop, the body’s ability to control urine production decreases, leading to frequent urination urges throughout the day and night. On top of this, some women experience urinary incontinence due to weakened muscles in their urethra or bladder walls. This can cause leakage when they cough, sneeze, or laugh, leading to even more frequent trips to the bathroom.
Fortunately, several treatments are available that help reduce excessive urination in menopausal women. Women should talk with their doctor about which treatment options might work best for them, as every woman’s experience with menopause is unique.
Treatments For Menopause
Taylor Medical Group can help you find the right solution to your menopause symptoms, like hormone replacement in the forms of capsules, troches, creams or pellets, medical weight loss, vaginal and bladder rejuvenation treatments such as the O shot and FemiWave, medical grade supplements, and lifestyle changes. Give us a call today to find the right menopause treatment for you.
Call 678-443-4000 today for an appointment!