There comes a time in the life of a woman when ovulation no longer occurs, and this time is called menopause. When this happens, the menstrual cycle comes to a stop. The reduction of the levels of hormones associated with this cycle brings about various symptoms that range from tolerable to very irritating, and these symptoms usually begin way before periods actually stop happening.
The three stages of menopause include perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause – all of which have a variety of symptoms that you may or may not experience. These three stages also share a few symptoms and these include hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and fatigue or feelings of tiredness. Not every woman going through this stage will experience all of these symptoms though, with some having a few, others not having any at all, and still a few more suffering through the gamut of symptoms that come with menopause.
Contrary to popular belief, menopause does not occur instantly. It takes roughly 4 to 8 years of perimenopause before a woman may find herself altogether incapable of reproducing. The usual age for menopause, which is signaled by a 12 month period of no menstruation, is 51 but some women may experience this at an earlier or later age. No matter what age you do experience this natural phenomenon, you may need to learn how to cope with the symptoms that come with it.
Symptoms to Expect and What to Do
Hot Flashes – this is when you feel uncomfortably warm all over, and this usually lasts between a minute to longer. To reduce the incidence and severity of this symptom, you may want to avoid triggers that include spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, and stress. You should also consider avoiding places that are warm and to wear thin clothing.
Vaginal Dryness – this is usually an effect of vaginal atrophy, which is the thinning of the vaginal wall when menopause begins. This happens because of the decrease in your estrogen levels, and may cause more than just dryness. You may find yourself with vaginal itching and even pain during intercourse when this occurs. The solution to this problem is usually a cream or lubricant.
Tiredness and Fatigue – you may find yourself feeling lethargic or overly tired even when you have not really done anything, and this can be attributed to the changes that your body is going through. This tiredness can also be a result of a combination of your symptoms, like the hot flashes and night sweats which can bring about sleeplessness. The lack of sleep that you experience due to the combination of symptoms you experience can also bring about fatigue and tiredness.
These are just a few of the symptoms shared by those going through perimenopause, menopause and post menopause. There are treatments and therapies that can work for each individual symptom, with some symptoms sharing treatments with others. Sometimes however, the best recourse for you would be to get a treatment that takes care of all of these at the same time, and this is hormone replacement therapy.
HRT helps return your estrogen and progesterone levels to near normal to help you better cope with the symptoms that emerge when menopause happens. If you want to get relief from the problems that arise when you enter this stage in your life, you should consult with your doctor and ask if you are a candidate for HRT. Other symptoms that may be alleviated with such a therapy include reduced libido, osteoporosis, acne, and even hormonal imbalance induced weight gain.