Symptoms Of Menopause
The symptoms of menopause are many
women call them the “signs of menopause”. It is worth remembering that
menopause is not a disease and so neither the word “symptom” or “sign”
is technically correct, because they are clinically used for disease
states. However, we shall use them here following the common usage.
The Cause and Course
The drop and fluctuating levels of the female hormones are
responsible for the symptoms. Not every woman will experience the same
symptoms as menopause approaches.
Some reports have also indicated
that though the hormonal changes are the major cause of the physical
symptoms of menopause, mistaken beliefs about the menopausal transition
have been proposed to have a additive effect on the origin of some of
the the emotional symptoms.
These symptoms usually start
gradually and also taper in a similar fashion. They begin gradually at
the start of perimenopause and some may continue for a varying time
I will present the common symptoms under the category of the organ of the body affected for easy comprehension.
Changes in the ovulation cycle
are amongst the very first symptoms of menopause and indicator of the
onset of perimenopause. Periods become irregular and unpredictable or
may even be shorter or longer. The cycle may be as short as 2 weeks or
as long as 2-3 months. Periods of heavy bleeding may also be noted. Once
the periods have not occur for 12 months, menopause has occurred.
Blood vessel symptoms
- Hot flashesThese
are the most common symptom of menopause, occurring in as high as 75%
of perimenopause symptoms.They vary among women. A hot flash is a
feeling of warmth that a woman feels all over her body, lasting from
around 30 seconds to a few minutes. Hot flashes usually
last 2-3 years, but many women can experience them for up to 5 years. In
rare cases, it could last as long as 15 years.
blood vessel problems that may accompany the flashes include flushing
(reddened) skin, strong or rapid heartbeat (palpitations), sweating(
especially at night) and insomnia( sleeplessness).
Urinary track dryness and shrinking may result in
- Increased frequency of urination,
- Pain upon urination.
The decrease in estrogen causes a thinning of the membranes of the vagina, vulva and cervix. This causes
- Itching and dryness of the vagina
- Watery discharge: loss of the usual slippery nature of the secretions
- Shrinking of the size of the breasts
- Mild breast pain
- Decreased elasticity of the skin
Sensation of ants crawling on the body or formication including
itching, tingling, burning, pins and needles, or sensation of ants
crawling on or under the skin.
- Skin thinning and dryness
Bone and muscle symptoms
bone loss is common during the perimenopausal years. Normally, as a
woman grows, her bone density increases to a maximum at the age of about
25 – 30 years. After that, there is a gradual bone loss and this
becomes even more rapid during perimenopause and postmenopause.
Common symptoms are
- Back pain
- Joint and muscle pain
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Memory loss, and problems with concentration
- Mood disturbance
- Sleep disturbances, poor quality sleep, light sleep,
Sexual SymptomsThese can be amongst the most troublesome longterm symptoms of menopause. These include
- Dyspareunia or painful intercourse because of the dryness and loss of lubrication of the vagina.
- Decreased libido
- Problems reaching orgasm
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