As a woman reaches 40 years, the production of sex hormones (estrogens and testosterone) starts declining and gradually affects the ovarian function. It is due to this that a woman starts experiencing menopausal symptoms intermittently as soon as she is in her 40s. Some women may experience menopause too early (in their late 30s), also called premature menopause. In such cases , the premenopausal symptoms may appear for a few months or even years. The severity of the symptoms varies from woman to woman. Regardless of when a woman experiences menopause, its symptoms remain same at all times.
[Read: Side-effects of Menopause]
Psychological Symptoms of Menopause
The hormonal influx during menopause affects mental well-being of a woman, causing emotional and psychological symptoms. These include:
- mood swings
- reduced concentration
- memory loss
- decreased attention span
[Read: Does Menopause cause Depression?]
- insomnia: Sleeplessness or disturbed sleep is a common problem during menopause. A woman during her perimenopause period may find it hard to sleep even after lying on bed for hours. At times, it is because of hot flashes or night sweats that a woman wakes up form sleep to remove her cover and fail to fall back asleep. At other times, there may be no potent reason for sleeplessness.
Physical Symptoms of Menopause
- Menstrual Changes: The most obvious sign of menopause is irregular and erratic periods. A woman reaching menopause will have shorter cycles, light bleeding/ spotting or heavy periods and missed cycles.
- Weight Gain: The imbalanced hormonal levels during menopause slow the body’s metabolic rate, causing sudden weight gain. This additional weight is often not evenly distributed throughout the body and mostly accumulates around the belly.
- “Menstrual Migraine”: Irregular periods in a woman approaching her menopause are often accompanied by frequent bouts of headache, also called ‘menstrual migraine’.
- Hot flashes: This symptom usually occurs early in menopause. The woman may feel intense heat and warmth all over her body, resulting in severe sweating. When experienced during night, hot flashes are called ‘night sweats’.
- Aches: The decreased production of estrogen triggers pain and aches in different parts of the body, especially in the wrists, shoulders and joints. To cope with this ache, you may take prescribed pain-killers.
- Hair Problems: Some women have complained of hair loss in the early phase of menopause, which aggravates gradually. Other women have reported to have experienced thinning of hair, dry scalp and unwanted facial/body hair during menopause.
[Read: Menopause and Hair Loss]
- Vaginal dryness and low libido may also indicate approaching menopause.
Menopause may last from several months to a few years; therefore, the severity of its symptoms may reduce or increase with different menopausal stages.
Read more articles on Menopause.