After three to four decades of dealing with periods, PMS, and mood swings, women undergo another humongous change in life that brings with it a lot of physical and emotional changes. We’re talking about menopause, a natural biological process that occurs in the late 40s or early 50s of a woman’s life. The advent of menopause signals the end of the woman’s menstrual cycle and fertility. Usually, menopause begins when a woman hasn’t had her periods for at least 12 months straight. While it is considered to be a natural part of ageing, menopause has several symptoms that may be disruptive and unsettling.
If you’re a woman in your late 40s or early 50s and are going through these, then it could be a sign that you’re on the verge of menopause. Read on to know about the most common menopause symptoms…
- What Are Some Common Menopause Symptoms
- 1. Irregular periods
- 2. Trouble falling asleep
- 3. Night sweats
- 4. Vaginal pain and dryness
- 5. Mood swings
- 6. Sore breasts
- 7. Memory issues
- 8. Weight gain
- 9. Thinning of hair
- 10. Reduced libido
- How to Manage Menopause Symptoms?
What Are Some Common Menopause Symptoms
Even though menopause occurs during a specific age, you won’t exactly know when it will hit you. That’s why all you can do is pay attention to the changes your body is going through and how you are feeling. While these are familiar menopause symptoms, keep in mind that they may vary from woman to woman.
1. Irregular periods
Perimenopause – the years leading up to your menopause – can be characterised by periods starting to get irregular. This is one of the most apparent menopause symptoms you could have. Slowly, you’ll notice your periods getting lighter, shorter and arriving with longer gaps in between. You may also experience PMS, but with no bleeding.
2. Trouble falling asleep
Suppose you don’t really have trouble falling asleep, but start experiencing insomnia. In that case, it could be a sign that you’re approaching menopause. Sleeplessness is a significant menopause symptom that is a result of estrogen levels dropping. So if you experience problems going to sleep for an extended period of time, consult a doctor; it could be a menopause symptom. To deal with it, try going to bed at the same time every night and try waking up at the same time.
Also, avoid having caffeine after 5 pm and make sure your bedroom is cool when you’re about to go to sleep. A more relaxed environment will help you fall asleep better.
3. Night sweats
Breaking up into a sweat at night when you’re already asleep? This could be one of those menopause symptoms that aren’t very indicative at first. After all, you might think that night sweats could be a result of anything, right? Well, let us tell you, night sweats are the second most commonly reported symptoms of menopause. To reduce the discomfort caused by night sweats, wear lighter clothing to bed. Keep your room cool and keep some cold water by your bedside in case you need it at night.
4. Vaginal pain and dryness
Feeling things getting drier down there? You could be dealing with yet another common menopause symptom. Most women go through vaginal dryness when dealing with menopause, and this is a result of declining levels of estrogen in the body. This can cause vaginal tissues to become thinner over time. In addition to this, vaginal pain is also another symptom of menopause that many women go through. The thinning of the vulvar tissue increases its chances of inflammation, irritation, and tearing during intercourse. All of this can cause pain in the vaginal area.
5. Mood swings
Now, this is one of those menopause symptoms that is bound to happen. Because of all the hormonal changes in the body, a woman may go through erratic mood changes. Her days might be characterised by irritability, anxiety, or just wanting to have a good cry. One could say that mood swings during menopause are an extreme version of the mood swings one goes through when menstruating. This, again, is a result of the decline of estrogen levels in the body. While nothing can cure mood swings, working out regularly can help release serotonin, making you feel better. It has also been found that a diet rich in omega-3 can alleviate mood swings.
6. Sore breasts
Whether it’s periods, pregnancy or menopause, breasts get affected due to all the hormonal stress and fluctuation. Sore breasts and tenderness are some of those common menopause symptoms that almost everyone will face. Breasts also lose their fullness during menopause. To combat breast soreness, your only weapons of choice are a well-fitted bra and a warm compress. If things get too painful, you can always opt for over-the-counter medicines.
7. Memory issues
Many women have complained that they tend to become more forgetful during their menopause. Research has shown that this menopause symptom occurs due to the drop in estrogen levels in the body. The brain might start feeling foggy, unable to retain information and concentrate on anything. Some women also report feeling unable to make decisions or pay attention to daily chores. While these menopause symptoms sound dangerous, don’t worry too much. After menopause, these issues do not persist.
8. Weight gain
Along with moodiness, another symptom common during menopause is the constant feeling of fatigue without any reason. This fatigue makes it harder to work out, which causes weight gain. Anyway, one of the menopause symptoms is weight gain, and fatigue adds to it. Combatting this may be more difficult than other symptoms, but it’s not impossible. Keep your protein intake high and cut down slowly on your sugar and carbs. Eat whatever you like, but mind the portions. This will help you manage your weight. Also, don’t forget to keep drinking water. Sometimes, you end up eating something, not because you are hungry, but simply because you’re bored. So keep your fluid intake high!
9. Thinning of hair
As you approach menopause, you might notice your hair starting to thin. By now, you must’ve guessed what caused it – the lack of estrogen. Estrogen and progesterone are both hormones that play a crucial role in our hair growth. When the production of these hormones declines, it also results in the growth of androgen, which can shrink hair follicles. This can lead to hair thinning as well as hair loss. So, to keep your hair healthy, consume a balanced diet and keep yourself hydrated.
10. Reduced libido
Our sex drive is controlled by our hormones, so it is evident that in the time leading up to menopause, you’ll notice a change in your libido. The fluctuation of estrogen levels can affect your sex drive, and this is a normal menopause symptom. Deal with it in your own way. Having a healthy diet and leading an active lifestyle might help.
How to Manage Menopause Symptoms?
Whether you like it or not, as a woman, you will go through some or all of these menopause symptoms. The best you can do is manage them. Here are some tips for managing the symptoms to have as smooth menopause as possible:
- Exercise regularly to manage your weight and keep your serotonin levels high. Working out will keep you in a better mood, keeping you away from irritability and anxiety.
- Wear loose, breathable clothes. They will be cool and comfortable and will prevent night sweats and hot flashes during the day.
- Sleep well. Menopause may affect your sleep, so try practices that may help you rest better.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation every day. This will keep your mind calm and help manage mood swings.