Menopause is an integral part of women’s life; no women can avoid the ultimate consequences. It is one step in a long reproductive degenerative, aging process, which almost begins silently at the age of 40 or so. Declining levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone cause various changes, which eventually lead to menopause.
Menopause symptoms can vary from woman to woman; changing hormone levels can cause a variety of symptoms which may last from a few months to a few years or longer. Some women may feel the worse of it, yet some other may feel very less of it. One of the most noticeable changes that occur during the onset of menopause is visible changes in occurrence of periods. Many women experience less regular periods; some have a lighter menstrual flow than normal; others face a heavier flow and may bleed a lot for many days. Periods may occur less than 3 weeks apart or last more than a week. There may be slight spotting between periods. Women, who have had previous problems with heavy menstrual periods and cramps, will usually find marked relief from these symptoms, when menopause starts.
One more noticeable symptom is the repeated occurrences of “hot flashes”, which is sudden feeling of heat in the upper part or all of woman’s body. Face and neck become extremely flushed. Flashes can be as mild as a light instant blush or just very severe enough to wake her from a sound sleep (also called night sweats). Most flashes usually last between 30 seconds and 5 minutes. The most common visible effects are the occurrences of red blotches all over the body.
Menopause symptoms also include remarkable changes in the genital and bladder behavior. As the estrogen levels change, the genital area can get drier and thinner. The resultant dryness makes sexual intercourse more painful. Vaginal and urinary tract infections are also very common during this time. Other problems can make it hard enough to hold urine long enough to get even to the bathroom. Urine leaks also occur during exercise, sneezing, coughing, laughing, or running.
Sexual behavior also undergoes tremendous changes during menopause. Some women find that their feelings about sex change drastically with menopause. Some have marked changes to the vagina, such as dryness, that makes sexual intercourse very painful. Others feel freer and sexier after menopause — relieved that pregnancy is no longer a real worry.
Sleep problems are more common during menopause. Some women may find it very hard to sleep at night- they may not fall asleep easily or may wake too early. Once woken from sleep, they may find it very to go to sleep again. Hot flashes may also wake them up very easily.
One of the most common menopause changes is the change in mood. This may cause a marked shift in moods, caused by stress, family changes such as children leaving home, or feeling tired. Depression is how ever not a cause of menopause.
Drastic changes in body characteristics are another symptom of menopause. Some women find that their bodies change around the time of menopause. Women tend to get fattier and skin tends to get thinner too. Memory lapses do occur very frequently. Some women feel acute joint and muscle stiffness during menopause. Regular exercises will help them to over come many of these problems. Menopause is irreversible and is the gift of nature; it needs to be accepted whole heartedly and life style adjusted accordingly to the situation.
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