So we have all heard of menopause, and the strange things that we will go through, hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats, but very few people fully understand exactly what menopause is!
The actual definition of menopause is when your body stops ovulating, it marks a time in a women’s life when she will no longer be fertile.
Like puberty, menopause is a normal part of every women’s life. Menopause occurs due to a decrease in Estrogen. The body uses estrogen to regulate periods. As time moves on the ovaries produce less and less estrogen and progesterone until they eventually stop production all together and you will no longer have a period.
What most Women don’t know is that perimenopause can start as early as your late 30’s, this may occur for years before you notice any symptoms, or you stop having your period altogether. A healthy woman, that is of age and has stopped having her period for longer than 1 year, is generally confirmed to have gone through menopause. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to menopause. Just because you have gone through menopause, it does not automatically mean that the symptoms associated with menopause will disappear, in some cases they can last for years after you have gone through menopause.
There are many different symptoms that are associated with menopause, but I will just go through the most common ones.
This is a sudden sensation of heat moving over the body. This feeling of warmth can be noticed on the face and chest as they begin to become flushed and red. It has a very sudden onset and does not necessarily have to last very long. It almost works in the same way as it does when you are embarrassed and blush. If you are suffering from hot flushes, try and ensure that you layer your clothing and wear lighter fabrics that do not cling to you. Another tip to watch for is to ensure that you take note of the colour of the shirt you are wearing and how tight it is around the armpit, as there is nothing worse than sweat circles under your arms.
Night Sweats are similar to the hot flushes that women can have during the day, once again they are caused by fluctuating hormone levels in the body. A night sweat will start off similar to a hot flush and then it is often followed with extreme sweating. Night sweats can be very disruptive to your sleep and can even cause headaches, or a chilly feeling afterwards. The same sort of feeling you would have if you had a fever. They can start many years before menopause starts, but if they become intense or regular, speak to your doctor. Like Hot Flushes, the key is to wear light, cotton fabrics to bed. Ensure that the room is well ventilated and you are able to sleep without increasing your body temperature.
Most women will experience absent, short, or irregular periods at some point in their lives. When you have a hormone imbalance, your periods may begin to arrive earlier or later than they did before. Your bleeding patterns may also change; you may start to have lighter or heavier than they usually are. These changes may mark the start of perimenopause. Some women find that they have periods that are much shorter than they used to have and others feel like they will never stop bleeding. If you find that you are having any of these symptoms, the lightly hood is that you are starting perimenopause or have a hormonal imbalance. Remember that estrogen is responsible for your menstrual cycle, so if estrogen levels are dropping it will affect your periods.
LOSS OF LIBIDO
Throughout life we will all experience different levels of sexual desire, this can be due to our emotional situation, stress, fatigue, and our satisfaction and self-worth. No matter if it is external or internal, the way we see ourselves plays a large role in our sexual desire. So why the loss of libido during menopause? Firstly, libido is all about energy, and when a woman is going through menopause you will experience so many physical and emotional changes that it may leave you feeling exhausted and when you are exhausted, the last thing you feel like is sex. A drop in the hormones androgen can also cause a loss of libido. So if you find a drop in your libido, firstly it is not the end of the world as it is easily treated. Secondly, by this stage of your life, intimacy is not just about sex. So try and boost your sex drive by kissing and cuddling, or maybe a naughty text. Try and increase your desire before you are faced with the act at hand.
Menopausal mood swings are surprisingly common, but can be hard to deal with. You might find yourself feeling like the kids in the picture, one minute you are up, feeling great and on top of the world, but if it shifts, you are going to be moving downward fairly quickly and land with a really hard thump. You feel sort of out of control and your mood can change at any time, it can be savvier and very sudden. These mood swings are caused by the hormonal imbalance, although our hormones control our menstrual cycle and the above mentioned conditions, it also regulates our neurotransmitters. This will directly affect our moods. The key once again is to check your hormone levels and ensure that you are producing enough estrogen. If you are suffering from mood swings or depression, don’t leave it untreated, a visit to your doctor is a must, as it seldom gets better on its own.
A decrease in Estrogen can also cause you to suffer from Joint pain, headaches, digestive problems, muscle tension and breast pain or sensitivity. So if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if you have more than one, it is worth a trip to the doctor to have your hormone levels checked.
There are so many products available both natural and medical that can help a women deal with the symptoms of menopause, but you can only begin to feel like you again if you are on top of things.
So whatever you do, don’t isolate yourself from the rest of the world, you are not alone in the struggle and you are definitely not as odd as you feel.
Let us know your thoughts! Have you had any of these symptoms and how did you deal with them?