Symptoms of menopause can vary for each woman similar to the manner that pre-menstrual and menstrual symptoms vary among women. Estrogen is used by many parts of the body so if a woman has less estrogen, she could have different symptoms than someone whose body produces more estrogen.
A change in your monthly period is normally the initial sign of menopause. Your periods may lose their regularity, and may be shorter or longer than usual. You might experience less density to your period as well. While these are normal symptoms, consult your doctor if:
- Your periods begin to arrive very close together
- You have heavy bleeding
- You have spotting
- Periods last more than one week
Hot flashes are also typical of menopause, as they are related to changing levels of estrogen. Hot flashes may last a few years following menopause. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of warmth in the upper part or all of your body. Feeling flushed, red blotches on the skin, heavy sweating and cold shivering are all symptoms. Hot flashes can be mild or strong enough to wake you from sleep lasting between 30 seconds and ten minutes.
Other common symptoms of menopause include drier and thinner genital areas, an increase in vaginal or urinary infections, urine leaks, trouble sleeping, increased or decreased interest in sex, mood changes and weight gain.
Menopause and the overall decrease in estrogen production can trigger two health concerns: osteoporosis and heart disease. These may go unnoticed as they might begin during the onset of menopausal symptoms. Osteoporosis is the weakening and breakage of bone due to the loss of estrogen, which aids in controlling bone loss for women. Without that continual source of estrogen, the body loses more bone than it is able to replace. Heart disease can be brought on by weight gain, a common attribute to menopause, and changing estrogen levels may put women at higher risk. Consult your doctor during the onset of menopause to discuss risk factors for these conditions and learn preventative measures and medications to help in lowering your susceptibility.