Early Signs of Menopause Can Be Subtle

by Laura Ramirez on August 30, 2011

Early signs of menopause can creep up on you and be so subtle that you don’t even realize that you’re entering that period of life that most women simply refer to as “the change.” But just like growing pains, mood swings and acne signal the transition into adolescence, certain menopause symptoms will alert you to this new period of life. It’s important to pay attention because doing so and starting to treat the symptoms as they arise and making gradual lifestyle changes to accommodate your changing hormone levels can make your transition infinitely more graceful.

How do I know? Because menopause hit me without warning, like a ton of bricks, just three short years after having my second child and one and half years after he had stopped nursing. Looking back, I believe I suffered premature ovarian failure because I was living such a high stress lifestyle and because I was moving forward like a steamroller, totally ignoring the subtle cues from my body. Since this time, I’ve coached thousands of women through menopause by teaching them relaxation rituals, how to use food and exercise to their advantage, how to use hormones and supplements and most of all how to use this period of life as an awakening, as a birthing of their authentic self and the life that they were meant to live beyond tending husbands, raising children and working a dead-end job.

The most obvious signal indicating you’re officially in menopause is the absence of a period for 12 consecutive months. Menopause begins at different times for different women, though it “usually occurs around age 50 or 51,” says Amos Grunebaum, MD, director of obstetrics and the chief of labor and delivery at the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Once your period has officially stopped, the estrogen levels in your body will gradually decline; also, you will no longer produce another female hormone called progesterone. Such hormonal changes may intensify the hot flashes, mood swings, or other symptoms you may have been experiencing throughout perimenopause, or they may trigger symptoms you have yet to experience.


early signs of menopause

Early signs of menopause are often missed because they are so subtle.

Following are the early signs of menopause that women commonly experience:

  • Abnormal or erratic menstrual cycle
  • Spotting between periods
  • Moodiness
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia

In other words, for the most part, it’s important to pay attention to your moods, ability to sleep through the night and especially your menstrual cycle. Charting your periods is particularly important. Most women do not pay attention to their periods unless they are trying to get pregnant.

How about you? Which menopause symptoms are you struggling with? Please feel free to share your story below.

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