As women age, reaching around the age of 50, the body begins to change. Keep in mind that some women begin menopause in their 40s although this is not as common. The normal menstrual cycle becomes more sporadic until it eventually ends while the level of hormones produced by the ovaries decreases. In addition to symptoms occurring naturally, they can also begin if a woman has a hysterectomy by which both of her ovaries are removed or some forms of chemotherapy that destroy normal ovarian function. Regardless of the cause, understanding menopause symptoms can often help a woman better cope with a time of frustration and overwhelming changes that are otherwise difficult to manage.
Understanding Menopause Symptoms – Where to Start
Depending on the woman, symptoms can be mild to severe. With hot flashes and night sweats, which are among the most common complaint, these occur when the body’s temperature control function is changed. Both can occur without any warning or they might be spurred on by stress, drinking something hot such as coffee or tea, or alcohol.
For the insomnia, this menopause symptom is usually caused partly by the night sweats.
With headaches, heart palpitations and dizziness, you see these typically associated with the vasomotor symptoms that include hot flashes and sweats.
Joint pain can affect a number of joints but the shoulders, neck, and wrists are affected most often. While the physical aspects of menopause symptoms are one thing, probably the most aggravating is the psychological part of the process. With this, women experience a wide range of changes to include difficulty with concentration, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, coping difficulty, and forgetfulness.
For these menopause symptoms, some are related to the disruption in sleep while others come from dealing with normal life symptoms such as raising teenagers, aging parents, financial concerns, job instability, and so on.
Other common symptoms
Another common symptom has to do with sexual function. As a woman begins menopause, she commonly deals with vaginal dryness that is caused from low levels of estrogen, making sexual intercourse difficult and sometimes painful. Bladder dysfunction can also be associated with menopause, which leads to incontinence (leakage) and infection.
Finally, some women also experience the menopause symptom of changing hair. Sometimes, unwanted hair will grow on the face, hair will begin to thin and fall out, or the hair will become very dry and brittle.
While menopause and menopause symptoms are not enjoyable, today women have many viable options. Over the years, there has been concern over hormone replacement therapy (HRT) but with new products on the market that do not carry the same level of risk; this has again become one of many options. Women can also choose natural remedies, which help to reduce or eliminate difficult menopause symptoms.
The bottom line is that menopause is a natural process of aging, one no woman looks forward to but by understanding menopause symptoms and knowing there are options to help cope, this change of life can be easier to handle.