Menopause Health Center
Table of Contents
Just as pre-menstrual and menstrual sytmpoms vary among women, symptoms of menopause can vary from woman to woman. 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 first sign of menopause. Your periods may lose their regularity and may be shorter or longer than usual. Your periods might become less dense 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. 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 10 minutes. Hot flashes may last for a few years following menopause.
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 issues: osteoporosis and heart disease. These conditions may go unnoticed, as they can develop 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 in 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 characteristic of menopause, and changing estrogen levels may put women at higher risk for heart disease.
See your doctor during the onset of menopause to discuss risk factors for these conditions and to learn about preventive measures and medications to help in lowering your risk.