Although menopause should not just be defined by the symptoms that it causes, it is important to recognize that menopause can cause many changes and health symptoms in women. Some of these - such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings - are well-known and widely associated with menopause. However, others are not as well-known and acknowledging them and finding ways to combat them can improve the overall health and well-being of women.
How Can You Be Sure It's Menopause?
The first symptom of menopause is usually a change in the menstrual cycle. Irregular periods can include a heavier flow, a lighter flow, periods every few weeks instead of every month, or missed periods.
Menopause is also not a disease, and menopause itself does not need to be treated. Therefore, menopause does not need to be diagnosed and it does not need to be distressing. However, menopause can cause a range of symptoms, and treating them can be important for a woman's overall well-being.
Lesser-known Symptoms of Menopause
Beyond hot flashes and irregular periods, women may also experience symptoms like these during the menopause transition.
Around 40% of women report experiencing vaginal dryness.
Menopause causes the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone to decrease in the body. These changes have widespread effects on a woman's body. One of these effects is often vaginal dryness and atrophy. This causes the vaginal tissue to become drier, inflamed, and thinner. This can cause general discomfort, itching, and pain during sex. Many women find that using a lubricant, moisturizer, or hormone replacement therapy helps reduce this symptom.
Feeling like you are losing your memory can be frightening and disconcerting. Research shows that menopause can cause many women to have poorer memory and experience memory lapses. More research needs to be done on this topic, as experts are not sure how these memory lapses are caused. However, memory lapses or a poor memory do not need to be a permanent part of a woman's life. There are many steps a person can take to boost their memory, such as playing logic games, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and creating systems that help them recall pieces of information.
Menopausal women are more likely to experience insomnia, which is the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. This is because the sex hormones that fluctuate and decrease during menopause are also responsible for promoting sleep in women. Eliminating distractions before bed, giving yourself time to fall asleep, and exercising during the day can help to fight insomnia.
Treatments for Symptoms of Menopause
Many treatments are available to combat menopause symptoms, but they range in effectiveness, cost, and side effects. It is important to talk to your doctor if your menopause symptoms are lowering your quality of life. In general, the most effective treatments for menopause symptoms include lifestyle changes, herbal supplements, and hormone replacement therapy. However, each symptom has different treatments, so getting more specialized advice is important. Click on the following link for more information on treatments for menopause symptoms.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2015). Is Menopause Causing Your Mood Swings, Depression or Anxiety? Retrieved November 13, 2015, from http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/06/is-menopause-causing-your-mood-swings-depression-or-anxiety/
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Memory loss: 7 tips to improve your memory. Retrieved November 13, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/memory-loss/art-20046518?pg=1