Most women go through menopause in their late 40s or early 50s, this process is called perimenopause, which typically begins 2 -10 years before menopause. During perimenopause, symptoms start to occur, their severity and frequency is different in each woman. However, approximately 25% of women won't experience any symptoms in the time leading up to menopause. Keep reading to find out more about when menopause symptoms start and how to deal with them.
What Is the Average Age of Menopause?
For most women, menopause symptoms start in their late 40s or early 50s while they are still menstruating. Hormone fluctuations that occur as the body prepares itself for menopause are the cause of perimenopause symptoms. After years of symptoms, most women reaches menopause around 51.
During perimenopause, the ovaries become less and less active, which causes estrogen and progesterone levels to fall, affecting your hormonal imbalance.
When menopause symptoms start, many women may not realize that they are in perimenopause. If menopause symptoms have started, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor and learn more about this stage and how to deal with the bothersome symptoms.
The First Symptoms of Menopause
Usually, when menopause symptoms start, they affect women in different ways. However, there are some symptoms that will affect most women, including:
Irregular periods. Changes in menstruation are often one of the first signs that a woman is approaching menopause, though irregular periods vary depending on each woman's cycle.
Hot flashes. They are a sudden, transient sensation of warmth or heat that spreads over the body, creating a flushing or redness that is particularly noticeable on the face and upper body.
Night sweats. Also known as “sleep hyperhidrosis”, night sweats aren't actually a sleep disorder, but a common perspiration disorder that affects your rest.
Mood swings. Menopausal mood swings are surprisingly common, but can be hard to cope with. A woman experiencing mood swings may feel like she is on a rollercoaster of emotions.
Vaginal dryness. When estrogen levels drop, the vaginal tissue becomes drier, thinner, and less elastic. Lack of lubrication leads to vaginal dryness.
Some menopause symptoms greatly affect a woman's life and become a burden, so it's good to know how to control them.
How to Deal with the Symptoms
When menopause symptoms begin, they can be mild and easy to deal with. During menopause, small lifestyle changes can help with the symptoms. These include:
Hot pads. Use hot pads previous days before menstruation to prevent painful periods.
Hot flashes. Dress in layers, and remove them when you feel a flash starting.
Night sweats. Try to avoid things that may trigger hot flashes, like spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, stress, before going to be.
Mood swings. Learn ways to deal with stress. Get enough sleep and exercise regularly.
Vaginal dryness. A water-based, over-the-counter vaginal lubricant can help make sex more comfortable.
For some women, menopause symptoms become a real problem and lower their quality of life. Click on the following link to learn more about how to treat hormonal imbalance, the main cause of menopause symptoms.
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- Hopkins, Virginia. Lee, John R. M.D. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. New York: Warner Books Inc., 1996.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Martin, Raquel. The Estrogen Alternative. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2000.