Menopause Signs and Symptoms

by Laura Ramirez on August 10, 2011

Menopause signs and symptoms can tell you if you are going through the change of life. What you choose to do about these symptoms is up to you and is something you will want to discuss extensively with your doctor. Some women get through menopause with a minimum of symptoms by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and finding ways to minimize their stress. Taking a natural remedy formulated to treat symptoms can help, as can hormone therapy, synthetic or bioidentical. We will explore some of these options at the end of the article.

The first stage of menopause is peri menopause. During this stage, ovarian function fluctuates causing many women to experience fluctuations in body temperature which leads to hot flashes, night sweats, chills, irregular menstrual cycle and headaches. For women who suffer from migraines, the migraines may get worse due to changing hormone levels. Although this is not a hard and fast rule, many women experience peri menopause 7-15 years before their progression through this stage is complete. This means that many women start to experience peri menopause while in their mid-thirties.

Menopause is popularly known as the ‘change of life’. Specifically it refers to the cessation of the monthly menstruation bleed. When a woman’s periods have stopped for 12 consecutive months she is considered officially in menopause. Menopause typically occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55. If a woman naturally experiences menopause before 40 she is said to be experiencing premature menopause. However, menopause is also used to describe a much larger set of events, those changes of both a physical and emotional nature which a woman usually experiences. At the turn of the century a woman’s average life expectancy was only 50, so more often than not, menopause was not an issue. Today, the average female life expectancy is 78. With 40 million American women in menopause at any one time, the subject has become a hot topic for medical research and study.

The next stage is menopause itself. The classic definition of menopause is that you have had no periods for at least 12 months. The average age for menopause for women in the United States if 51. The range of ages is between 45 and 55, but a recent trend indicates that some women are going through the change of life much earlier.

I went through menopause at age 39 due mainly to unavoidable stress (my husband is disabled and I was raising two young children at the time and had no help or support of any kind. My kids weren’t sleeping through the night, my husband was up all night in pain and I was getting no sleep at all).

Women who go through menopause before the age of 40 are said to have gone through premature menopause. If the cause of this was not due to surgical removal of the ovaries, it is usually attributed to premature ovarian failure, although it may also be due to stress. When the body is chronically stressed, one of the first things that it does is shut down the reproductive system.

menopause signs and symptoms

Menopause signs and symptoms can disrupt your life at home and work.

The signs of menopause include: mood swings, depression, weight gain, increased facial hair, lowered libido, vaginal dryness, breast tenderness, hot flushes, night sweats, chills, aches and pains (that could be related to the onset of osteopenia which is the precursor to osteoporosis).

The final stage of menopause is post menopause. This describes the time period of 5 years after menopause. This is a critical period in terms of determining bone health and the risk for osteoporosis which is a painful, disfiguring disease. This is usually when most women start some type of hormone therapy whether they are supplementing with an over-the-counter estrogen cream, using a patch, gel or taking biodidentical hormones or synthetic hormone replacement therapy.ᅠ

During post menopause, the symptoms associated with menopause may increase or disappear altogether. It is crucial to pay close attention to supplementation, diet, and exercise during this phase as it is critical to health later on.

Since a recent study has found that lack of estrogen in the brain can cause estrogen receptors to die or become less sensitive (making estrogen treatment ineffective later on), the use of supplemental estrogen in cream, gel or other forms is a must. The active form of estrogen is called estradiol.ᅠ

Other helpful solutions include natural remedies for menopause that are formulated with specific herbs that are known to relieve symptoms. Some women are also using an HGH supplement to normalize hormone levels, lose weight and restore their mood.

Which menopause signs and symptoms are you struggling with the most? What have you found to be helpful? Please leave your questions, comments, tips and stories below.ᅠ

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