Change is inevitable in life, and there sure are a lot of changes in life. Some of the changes are deemed good and call for a celebration, especially in cases of academic excellence, tying the knot in a wedding, childbirth, landing a job, moving into your home, and so on.
Family and friends will be there for you to share in your glory, with cards, flowers and gifts flying left-right- and center! After many years of faithful service, there are even those who celebrate retirement.
But when it comes to menopause, nobody calls for a party. You don’t want to confirm your fears to your partner lest he thinks you are now too old for him!
And there is your mother again who has always been your confidant, this time; you can’t say a word about it lest you imagine you have become age mates. Yes, you know you will no longer have monthly periods, and so no more conceptions, but most of your friends are still having babies!
But wait a minute, are you truly in menopause, or this is your imagination? Is it possible that you have another medical condition creeping in? Is this menopause?
Changes in Weight
Naturally, women tend to put on more weight in the latter years that coincide with menopause. Around this time, there are numerous factors that can lead a woman to have additional pounds. Remember, reduced inactivity levels as you age simply narrows down the possibility of losing weight.
While genetic factors may have a bearing on weight gain during menopause, the key issues here include the dwindling levels of estrogen, change of fats distribution pattern around the hips and the abdomen.
Menopausal women inclined to alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking exposes themselves to additional weight. This is the time to give careful thought to the type and amount of food taken and make appropriate lifestyle changes.
Irregular menstrual cycles
One of the early pointers to menopause is irregularities that are experienced during menstrual cycles. For up to 5 years before the periods finally stop entirely, bleeding may become heavy and the otherwise regular periods become irregular. As a result of changing hormone levels, the usual release of an egg by the ovaries become disrupted, which in turn can shorten or lengthen your monthly periods.
In some cases, the periods may be absent altogether for a couple of months and then resurface. This is called the perimenopause stage. Only after missing the periods for 12 consecutive months is a person considered officially to be in menopause.
Others call them hot flashes and are defined as a build-up of intense heat that is characterized by sweating. This experience usually lasts for no more than 3 minutes and can either occur during the day or the night.
While the entire body can be affected by the sudden heating, major areas include the face, the neck, and the chest; these parts may also become reddish. Luckily, not all hope is lost. There are many menopause treatments that you can resort to, to help ease the discomfort that comes with hot flashes.
Also, there are many supplements available for minimizing night sweats and hot flashes such as Femosa. To alleviate this symptom, clothing such as cotton will be both friendly to your skin (which is usually itchy) and breathable. Abstinence here will mean staying away from alcohol, cigarette smoking, caffeinated drinks, and spicy foods, which are some of the triggers of hot flushes.
Sweating at night
You surely may do not want to keep changing your pajamas or to keep having to change your sheets sometimes in the night because of feeling hot and sweaty. When menopausal sweating occurs in the night, it’s called ‘night sweat,’ a condition that can truly ruin your sleep.
If you haven’t discussed your situation with your partner to update him of the symptoms of menopause so that he can be there for you during this transition, these are issues that can stress relationships out of lack of awareness and misunderstanding.
Loss of Sexual drive
Because of low estrogen levels, the vagina technically loses its natural lubrication, leaving it dry and making sex painful and uncomfortable.
Almost by default, your mind and body will not be ready to welcome sexual excitement, especially with an impatient partner. Time and understanding will be of the essence to rebuild the sexual system.
Menopause is a close cousin of adolescence and puberty for women, as mood swings are a common occurrence. The fluctuating hormones in the body (especially estrogen) are largely responsible for the regulation of moods and emotions. It’s, therefore, common to find a menopausal woman over-reacting to certain persons or situations.
Dry and Itchy Skin
During menopause, the skin loses its ability to remain properly hydrated or to retain oils. Coupled with hot flashes, most menopausal women find themselves with dry and itchy skin, a situation that is not only uncomfortable during the day but also disruptive in the night affecting rest and sleep.
The seven signs of menopause highlighted here are in no way conclusive, given the there are more than 30 symptoms of menopause. Again, there is no particular order in which they are going to be manifested in your case, but these are sufficient to let you know whether you are already on the transition journey. It would help to check with your doctor because these symptoms can also be indicative of other conditions besides menopause.