Menopause is a natural condition that all women experience sooner or later, although the average age is 51. The name signifies the end of a woman’s reproductive period and is indicated by a permanent end to menstruation. Many women look forward to this significant period in their life; some consider it to be an inevitable sign of aging.
So-called hot flashes are the most frequent menopausal symptom, as well the period stopping immediately before menopause. Around 60 percent of all women experience these, which usually occur at night and can last up to several minutes. Menopause hot flashes are best described as a sudden and often intense feeling of heat, often accompanied by reddening skin and sweating.
Intense hot flashes at night are known as night sweats and around 75 percent of women going through menopause experience them. Night sweats can actually occur up to ten years before menopause itself and can be so intense as to seriously disrupt sleep. The symptoms include the intense feeling of heat, often accompanied by nausea, headaches, chills and a flushing sensation.
The onset of menopause also brings mood swings; many women feel irritable, moody or depressed – a feeling which can be worse if you were anxious or depressed anyway. This can often be accompanied by occasional or regular insomnia, as well as a decreased sexual desire; and some women can find it difficult to concentrate, or even suffer from slight but disturbing memory lapses.
Some of the other effects of menopause are that you may experience headaches for no apparent reason, or heart palpitations. Some women feel tired; others find that their hair is thinning, even falling out. A frequently experienced symptom is a feeling of vaginal dryness, which is caused by a drop in the body’s estrogen level and can be both physically and emotionally upsetting.
Pain around the breasts or aching and sore joints are also common symptoms, as are feelings of light-headed or dizziness. Menopause weight gain during this time is also an unfortunate sign, as are various digestive problems or bouts of flatulence. Of course, many of these symptoms can be somewhat vague and by themselves are not necessarily signs that you have finally reached menopause.
Unfortunately, there is no telling how long the symptoms of menopause will last; it could be anywhere from a year to five years after the menopause itself. Almost all of the symptoms associated with menopause can be treated in some way. And if you can at least recognize and understand the symptoms you are experiencing, menopause is perhaps easier to deal with. This website covers many of the effects of menopause and provides more information on what to expect and possible measures of relief.