Understanding the signs and symptoms of menopause is crucial for us to navigate the natural process of Menopause, with strength and confidence. We will explore the common signs and symptoms of menopause, shedding light on the physical, emotional, and psychological changes that often accompany this imminent transition.
One of the first signs of perimenopause, the transition phase leading to menopause, is irregular periods. These can include periods that are longer, shorter, heavier, lighter, or less predictable. The variation is due to fluctuating hormone levels, primarily oestrogen and progesterone.
Hot flashes are one of the hallmark symptoms of menopause. These sudden, intense waves of heat can affect the face, neck, and chest and are often accompanied by sweating and a rapid heartbeat. The exact cause of hot flashes is not fully understood, but they are thought to be related to hormonal changes.
Night sweats are essentially hot flashes that occur during sleep. They can lead to disrupted sleep patterns and contribute to fatigue and irritability. Managing your bedroom's temperature and using moisture-wicking nightwear, such as bamboo, can help alleviate this symptom.
Mood Swings and Emotional Changes
Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can impact mood and emotions. Many women experience mood swings, irritability, and even symptoms of depression and anxiety. Support from friends, family, and healthcare professionals is crucial during this time.
Metabolism tends to slow down during menopause, making it easier to gain weight, particularly around the abdomen. Engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining a balanced diet can help manage weight gain during this time.
Some women may notice changes in their hair, such as thinning or changes in texture. While these changes are largely genetic, ensuring a balanced diet with essential nutrients like iron and biotin can support hair health.
Declining oestrogen levels can lead to changes in skin elasticity, making it drier and potentially more prone to wrinkles. Regular moisturising and SPF 50+ sun protection can help maintain healthy skin.
Sleep disturbances are common during menopause, often due to night sweats, hormonal fluctuations, and mood swings. Practising good sleep hygiene and discussing sleep issues with a healthcare provider can improve sleep quality.
Some women may experience cognitive changes, often referred to as "brain fog." This can involve difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and mental lapses. These changes can be managed with strategies like staying mentally active and practising stress reduction techniques.
Changes in Libido
Fluctuating hormones can impact sexual desire. Open communication with a partner and healthcare provider can help address and manage these changes. This is very normal, and you’re not alone in these changes.
Menopause is a transformative journey, and recognising its signs and symptoms is the first step in embracing this natural change. While the experience can vary from woman to woman, understanding the common symptoms allows for better preparation and management. Seeking support from your GP, friends, and family is vital, and remember no feelings are wrong, we’re not alone in our feelings.