Menopause is one of the biggest, most life-altering events in a woman’s life. The sudden, changing hormones can bring on a wide range of different mental and physical changes. Menopause can occur at a lot of different points in a woman’s life, too. It can happen as early as the 30s or as late as the 50s. However, for most women menopause will occur at some point in her 40s, normally sometime around 42 to 49, and bring with it a number of different menopause symptoms.
When menopause begins and the various changes to the body take place, it’s usually referred to as perimenopause. But no matter what you call it, the following menopause symptoms are the most common and the ones that are usually prevalent.
- Mood Swings – These happen in around one third of menopausal women who are in their forties, and are among the most frustrating menopause symptoms there are. Emotional shifts can happen without warning, and it’s possible to go from pure elation to deep sadness in a matter of minutes. Mood swings can also affect the lives of your family, and it’s important to learn more about managing them.
- Hot Flashes – Of all the different menopause symptoms, hot flashes are the most common. They occur in around 85% of women who are in their 40s and going through menopause, and are essentially just what they sound like – waves of heat that overtake the body and last for a few seconds or as long as ten minutes. They can be very mild or very intense, and may even be so extreme that they cause panic to occur.
- Insomnia – Insomnia is triggered by the hormonal changes in the body during menopause. When hormone levels are altered, the brain often has trouble resting properly. Insomnia is another very common issue among forty-something menopausal women.
- Weight Gain – The body’s metabolism changes due to menopausal hormone changes as well, and when that happens it can be much more difficult for women to control their weight. Often, weight gain is an issue during menopause.
- Migraines – Migraine headaches are also an unfortunate symptom that may occur. They’re much worse if a woman has a predisposition to headaches prior to menopause, but once that ‘The Change’ sets in even women who never have headaches may begin to experience them.
- Reduced* Libido – A decreased* sex drive is another one of the more frustrating menopause symptoms not only because it can impact a woman, but because it can put a strain on a relationship at times. Feelings of guilt are common side effects of reduced* libido, and it may continue throughout menopause.
- Vaginal Dryness – Menopause is marked by a reduction* of estrogen, and that lower level of estrogen can cause the vagina to become dry and sore. Personal lubricant can help with this issue, and drinking plenty of fluids could help as well.
There is no way to know just which of the menopause symptoms you’ll experience as you go through menopause, and no way to know how severe they’ll be or how long they’ll last. For some women, menopause symptoms only occur for a few months. For others, they can go on for a decade or more. Understanding more about menopause is an important step towards learning how to cope with and survive it.