Here are some common signs and symptoms that you are experiencing menopause:
1. Missed Periods:
Periods are typically regular, but when your period doesn’t show up on time, or gets shorter and lighter, it may mean menopause is approaching. Remember, when you have gone a full 12 months without a period, you are considered to be in ‘full menopause’. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT MISSED / IRREGULAR PERIODS COULD BE A MORE SERIOUS PROBLEM – PLEASE ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.
2. Hot Flushes
Wow – you’ll know it when you get it! There’s no mistaking that sudden (and uninvited) overwhelming blast of heat that extends from your forehead to your toes and leaves you dripping sweat. Why does it happen – it’s all due to hormones influencing your body’s temperature regulation (the hypothalamus).
3. Weight Gain
Weight gain can be a very annoying part of menopause, especially since the added weight (that seems to appear out of nowhere) tends to accumulate exactly where you don’t want it – the midsection. The best way to try to fight weight gain is common sense (and we aren’t telling you anything you don’t know) – eating healthy food and enjoying some regular exercise.
4. Sleep Deprivation and Mood Swings
There’s just no escaping our hormones! Just as PMS and pregnancy causes hormonal (changes) imbalance, so can menopause. So when you suddenly see red at the Supermarket Self-Serve Checkout, understand those angry outbursts, prissiness, irritability and crying for no reason are not ‘really’ your fault! (Or the fault of the supermarket scanner – well, not completely). You are experiencing a major hormonal shift. If you add to that possible sleep deprivation, and being overwhelmed by the changes taking place in your body, it’s no wonder you’re may be a bit cranky.
5. Dry Skin
Really? The first 4 points aren’t enough? Our skin has to be on the hit list too? The changing ratios of oestrogen in your body don’t just slow down your body’s skin-smoothing collagen and oil production, but also reduces your body’s ability to retain moisture. As estrogen decreases so does the body’s lubrication and moisture in the skin, hair, and more intimate areas like in the vagina, which can make sex suddenly painful or uncomfortable.
6. Decreased Sex Drive
Possibly linked to the point above, some women can lose interest in sex. (Hormones, anyone?) HOWEVER… (finally some good news!) – the other extreme is that some women get a major second wind!