There are some turning points in our lives that change our bodies completely like getting your period or being pregnant. Even though most people fear it menopause is one of those turning points. When you hit menopause your period stops, you can’t get pregnant anymore, and during the time called perimenopause, your body goes through significant changes. It can be hard to adjust because of the mental and physical toll. We want to ease this transition by giving helpful information on menopause. Let’s find out about the 34 symptoms of menopause.
What is menopause?
Periods don’t last forever. Usually, after the age of 45, your menstrual cycle ends, and menopause begins. It affects each woman uniquely and in various ways. Most of their symptoms are the first step of the way then their periods stop. After not having your period for the last 12 months you can be officially diagnosed with menopause.
Even though we are using the word diagnose, menopause is not a disease. It is a natural process that every woman will go through. As you age your production of hormones gets lower. When your body doesn’t have enough estrogen and progesterone, it cannot regulate your menstrual cycle anymore.
What are the causes of menopause?
Contrary to popular belief age is not the only cause of menopause. Your family history, stress levels, and lifestyle choices can affect when your menopause will start.
In most cases, menopause begins slowly as you age. When you hit your 30s estrogen and progesterone levels start decreasing. In your 40s your periods start being unusual. Changes can occur such as longer or shorter periods, and heavier or lighter flow. Also, you may not get your period for some months. In the end, your body can no longer produce eggs.
On average it happens between the ages of 45 and 55. According to a study, women in the US start menopause at the median age of 51.
If someone in your family like your mother, sister, or aunt started their menopause before the age of 46, there is a 37.5% chance that you will start your menopause early too. That is why family history is important to determine what age your menstrual cycle will stop.
Before thinking of having a baby, you should know about your family's menopause history. If your family consists of people who had their menopause early, you may have to adjust your plans according to it.
Stress can both be the cause of and the result of menopause. When you are stressed your hormone balance can shift. This can lead to menopause-like symptoms. The best way to deal with stress is to get enough sleep. It can regulate your mood swings and give you healthier periods.
Lifestyle choices such as poor diet, not exercising and smoking can cause early menopause. To continue having periods you must keep your body healthy. Obesity and smoking are two things that can stop your periods. Smoking cigarettes can also increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
What are the 34 symptoms of menopause?
Symptoms of menopause typically appear in a period called menopausal transition or perimenopause. The thing is some women don’t experience any symptoms but for some of them transitioning to menopause can be a challenge.
Typically, there are 34 symptoms that give you a hint about when your menopause will begin. If you are experiencing most of them, we have some news for you.
1. Irregular periods, changes in the menstrual cycle
A typical cycle lasts three to seven days and it happens every 21 to 35 days. If that is not the case for you, your period is irregular. This sign alone does not guarantee menopause. You can have an underlying condition that makes your period irregular. It is always good to consult your OB-GYN in cases like this.
2. Hot flushes
Hot flushes consist of feeling hot, sweaty, and even red in some cases. It is one of the most known symptoms of menopause because of how much women experience it. You should keep this fact in mind in case you feel embarrassed by this symptom.
3. Night sweats
When hot flushes occur at night, they are called night sweats. It is an irritating symptom that can cause you to be sleep deprived. Also, you can feel sticky and uncomfortable in the morning.
Many of the symptoms of menopause are connected to each other. For instance, night sweats can cause fatigue by lowering sleep quality.
5. Water and gas bloating
It is common the feel bloated during perimenopause because your body retains water and gas. To prevent this, you can reduce your salt intake and drink more water.
6. Vaginal dryness
Menopause causes estrogen production to be lower. This triggers dryness in the vagina because less lubrication is produced.
7. Digestive problems
There are many reasons why menopause causes digestive problems. One of which is the lower estrogen and progesterone hormones disrupting the perimenopause rhythm of our gastrointestinal tract. Another reason for this problem is the changes in gut bacteria. Even stress caused by menopause can create digestive problems.
8. Lower libido, changes in sex drive
The reason why women experience lower libido during menopause is that hormone levels changes. Also, mood changes can have the same effect.
9. Mood symptoms
Just like periods, menopause can cause mood swings. Once again, these changes in your mood are caused by hormones.
What starts as mood swings can turn into depression. Menopausal women are 4 times as likely to suffer from depression. It can both be related to your hormone levels and your state of mind. Not feeling young anymore, the fact that you cannot have a baby anymore and the bad effects caused by periods can take a toll on your mental health. We recommend you see a doctor If you are feeling depressed.
Fluctuations in hormones can lead to headaches during menopause. These headaches are called "hormone headaches" and they can happen during your period also.
12. Weight gain
Menopause changes the way your body works therefore you can experience sudden weight gain. Some people experience difficulty losing that weight after menopause.
13. Breast soreness
During menopause, your breasts can be sore, and you might feel mild pain. It is caused by water retention and dehydration. To fix this problem you can reduce salt, drink more water and buy a better-fitting bra.
14. A hot mouth
No, you have not suddenly turned into a dragon, your mouth is hot because of menopause. Reduced production of saliva can cause hotness inside the mouth, and you can feel like it is burning out.
15. Joint pain
Menopausal arthritis is a form of joint discomfort that develops as menopause approaches. It primarily affects women who get hot flashes and affects those in their late 30s and early 40s. Swelling, soreness, and stiffness in the joints are symptoms.
16. Dizzy spells
Hot flushes, fatigue, dehydration, and low blood sugar levels caused by menopause can result in dizzy spells.
17. Muscle tension
Menopause can cause your muscles to tense up and it can result in pain. We recommend doing light exercises to ease this symptom.
18. Thinner hair
Hormonal changes during menopause can cause your hair to thin out and fall. It is a common side effect that can be prevented by getting enough exercise, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding stress.
19. Electric shocks
Some women get electric shocks before they get hot flushes. Although scientists are unsure of the exact cause of these shocks, they believe that estrogen's impact on the neurological system is to blame.
20. Gum issues
Around 10-40% of menopausal women report that they have a metallic taste inside their mouth. To prevent gum problems, you should be careful with your oral hygiene.
21. Pins and needles
Changes in the nervous system and hormone changes can make you feel like you have pins and needles all over your body.
22. Lack of focus
Low estrogen and progesterone levels affect your brain and they can make focusing harder for you.
23. Memory lapses - Forgetfulness
Many women experience brain fog during menopause which can lead to forgetfulness. Focus supplements are commonly used for their treatment.
24. Itchy skin
Itchy skin is another symptom of menopause that causes bodily discomfort. The reason you itch so much is because of hormone imbalance.
Menopause can badly affect your mental health. It increases anxiety and to battle it many women use hormone supplements.
26. Brittle nails
Dry, brittle nails are a symptom of menopause, its causes are unknown but there is a way to prevent this. You can drink plenty of water and get calcium, biotin, and omega-3s.
27. Poor sleep
Sleep deprivation during menopause is quite common among women. You can have trouble sleeping because of your sleep cycle changes or the hot flashes can be the ones giving you discomfort. Either way, it can be prevented by reducing coffee and changing it to a better diet.
28. Urinary incontinence
Urinary incontinence is when a person leaks urine. This can happen during menopause when the hormone levels change.
29. Body odor
Menopause can cause you to sweat more than usual. This can be an unwanted side effect because it increases body odor. Even your natural scent can change during this period.
30. Hayfever & Allergies
Due to hormonal changes, hay fever and allergies may become more prevalent after menopause. When going through menopause, it's likely that your allergic reaction will worsen.
31. Heart palpitations
Low estrogen levels can cause heart palpitations. To minimize this side effect, you can reduce the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Also, we recommend relaxation techniques.
During menopause, your cortisol levels rise which can lead to feelings of irritability. However, exercise is a great way to stabilize mood changes.
33. Panic attacks
Panic attacks can be related to the changing hormones associated with menopause. Other than hormones intense anxiety attacks can turn into panic attacks. Give an example of this is that hot flushes are a known reason for panic attacks. They can make people feel self-conscious and overly embarrassed. Anxiety from being perceived as sweaty and smelly can make women have panic attacks.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and break easily. As a woman moves from premenopause to postmenopause, her risk of osteoporosis increases. To keep from getting osteoporosis, you should eat enough calcium and work out regularly to make your bones stronger.
What are the treatments for menopause symptoms?
Menopause symptoms can lower your life quality immensely. Because these symptoms are diverse, they affect people both mentally and physically. Luckily there are ways to reduce these symptoms and help you live a better life.
The first one of these is lifestyle changes such as a better diet and regular workouts. It keeps your body strong and ready to fight whatever menopause throws at it. Diet changes can help reduce bodily symptoms whereas workouts help with both. Experts recommend adding yoga and meditation to your daily routine.
Almost all menopause symptoms are caused by low levels of hormones. Therefore, to give balance to your body a significant number of women uses hormone replacement therapy. Of course, this is something you should consult your doctor about. Hormone replacement therapy changes from person to person, and everyone needs a different dosage according to their specific needs.
Also, don't forget that menopause doesn't define you. Yes, your body is going through some changes but you are still you.