The Symptoms of Menopause

Guide to symptoms A to ZThe date of your last menstrual period marks the start of menopause. Unfortunately for most women, it also marks the onset of the many associated symptoms of menopause. Although not all symptoms can be present in one individual, the knowledge of what they are, how they occur, and what to do with them is a crucial step in taking control of your own health.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Menopause include:

  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Weight gain and bloating
  • Vaginal Dryness and Loss of Libido
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood swings

Hot flashes and Night Sweats

menopause

Ever had the feeling of sudden heat overwhelm your face, neck, or chest? Then you might have experienced hot flashes. A hot flash is one of the most typical physical symptoms of menopause. It occurs largely in part of the hormonal changes that occurs during this period, causing the hypothalamus, which is the seat for temperature regulation and control, to send mixed signals to the body. You may experience palpitation and sudden sweating, and you may end up getting red in the face. Hot flashes that occur during the night are called night sweats. Taking steps to make sure you can maintain a lower body temperature can help against hot flashes and night sweats. Other natural means of solving this problem can be found here.

Menopause and Weight Gain

menopause symptoms weight gain

Weight gain during menopause is caused by the impact of estrogen. It is believed that estrogen helps regulate body weight, and a decrease in this leads to lower metabolism. Age-related factors also come into play, and the result is significant weight gain in most menopausal women.  Further information about weight gain and bloating in menopause can be found here.

Vaginal Dryness and Loss of Libido

woman in bathroom

About a third of the women will experience more severe symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness, itching, or painful sex.  Again, this correlates to the hormonal changes in the woman’s body that lead to cessation of egg cell release. Due to the drop of estrogen, women may also notice a loss of interest in sex. Apart from these, weakening of the bladder sphincter may also happen that can lead to embarrassing situations that result in leaking of urine when sneezing, coughing, or laughing. To improve these muscles your doctor can recommend pelvic floor exercises to improve their strength and tone. And to make sex less painful, the use of prescribed lubricants and increased foreplay can help you and your partner regain and improve your sex life.  See this page for more information on this symptom of menopause.

Sleep problems

 sleep problems

Sleep problems can be cause by night sweats, but it can also be a result of anxiety. Since menopause is a difficult and trying time in a woman’s life, the depression and anxiety that result can lead to sleeping difficulties.

Mood swings

 

Many scientists and researchers are still quite unsure why mood swings happen a lot during menopause, but it may be related to the drop in hormone levels yet again. It is believed that estrogen is an important hormone in memory and nerve function, and a decrease in this can lead to feelings of depression and mood swings. It may also coincide with big life changes, leading to pressure and stress.

Things to remember about the symptoms of menopause

Not all symptoms can present themselves in one woman throughout the period of menopause. Only an estimated 10% tend to notice these changes, while the rest ease through the transition quite comfortably. However, while you still can, learning about these symptoms of menopause and the measures to take can be the best female health-related decision you will ever make. You can read more on how to treat these menopause symptoms naturally through this website.

Menopausal Mood Swings are not Symptoms You Have to Accept

Menopausal mood swings

Menopausal mood swings, depression, anxiety, and irritability are all common symptoms of menopause.  Most women have already come to expect these wild emotions about once a month for the duration of their childbearing years. When menopause begins, however, many women believe these annoying hormonal, emotional symptoms will go away with the flow (pun intended). After all, if your period has ceased, then why shouldn’t PMS symptoms cease as well?

Unfortunately, menopausal mood swings not only fail to cease with the onset of menopause, they quite often become worse. When you examine the great hormonal shift that occurs during menopause it’s a little easier to understand why you may suffer mood swings, depression, anxiety, irritability, or all of the above, but it doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. Before you resolve to start a course of hormone replacement therapy or subscribe to the latest antidepressant, consider a natural approach for your total well-being.

What are the causes of mood swings?

Unstable emotions can be experienced during menopauseMenopausal mood swings are caused by fluctuations in your hormone levels – they cause you to be on cloud nine one minute and then down in the dumps the next. Anxiety is when you have a general feeling of uneasiness, with or without a known cause. Irritability is exactly what you’d expect: every little thing gets on your last nerve. Depression is when you feel sad, down, uninterested in life, and may even have thoughts of harming yourself.

Depression is Concerning

DepressionWhile all of these emotional menopause symptoms are troublesome, depression is the most common and the most concerning. Women, as a rule, are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men in the first place. When you factor in the hormonal imbalances that occur with menopause, the risk for depression skyrockets. While there is far more information on depression than we could possibly give you here, the main point to remember is to never take depression lightly or write it off to “just being in a bad mood.”

Is There a Cure for Menopausal Mood Swings?

While medication may be necessary for some people, the better chance is that you can benefit from some natural menopause therapy that won’t cause nasty side effects. Better still is that you can do these things as needed as a part of an overall health regimen rather than living with medication for the rest of your days.

Pure Fish Oil to manage menopausal mood swingsFoods to Manage the  Menopausal Mood Swings

Omega 3 fish oils and good old vitamin D can do more for your menopause symptoms than any synthetic drugs will ever be able to achieve. Make sure you are getting high quality fish oil that is free of toxins. As for vitamin D, well, just spend some time outdoors every day when the weather permits. Our bodies can use the vitamin D it produces from sun exposure much more readily than it can utilize nutritional supplements, although those are important too.

Eating a diet rich in omega-3s or taking omega-3 supplements may help ease depression [Mayo Clinic]

Woman drinking water during menopause

Exercise

While you are outside, go for a brisk walk to get your endorphins going as exercise is a natural and healthy antidepressant. Focus on total body and mental health rather than just one or two menopause symptoms, and you’ll find that life is much more enjoyable than it would be were you laying on the couch with a bottle of pills.

When you have anxiety or depression, exercise often seems like the last thing you want to do. But once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference. [Mayo Clinic]

Dealing With Itchy Menopause Symptoms

itchy skin is a menopause symptomLike many women, you may think you understand what menopause symptoms you will experience during the later stages of your life. You have heard all about night sweats, hot flashes, weight gain, and brittle nails. However, itchy skin may not have been on the list of menopause symptoms you have read of. Many women experience this symptom, though, as a result of hormonal imbalance in the body during menopause.

Changes in your skin are menopause symptoms that can occur when you first stop having your menstrual cycles, or later during the menopause process.

Menopause Symptoms: Dry and Itchy Skin

Itchy skin is a medical condition known as pruritus, and can be a big problem, especially if it becomes too uncomfortable and makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Pruritus can, but does not always, go far beyond just a simple case of dry skin. Itchy skin can develop into:

  • Paresthesia- This is an abnormal condition of the skin that affects how the skin feels when touched. Many women describe the feeling as numbness, tingling, prickling of the skin, or a feeling of pins and needles on their skin.
  • Formication- While rare, this type of skin condition is characterized by phantom feelings of something creeping and crawling over the skin. It is often described as feeling like an insect were crawling on the skin.

 

Hormone Imbalance – Estrogen

Hormone imbalance as a result of fluctuating Estrogen levelsThere are several causes of itchy skin, but the most common is fluctuating hormone levels. Estrogen is a key factor when it comes to water retention. As estrogen fluctuates during menopause, the body is unable to retain as much water as it usually can. Estrogen also plays a role in the amount of oil the skin produces. As the amount of estrogen lowers during menopause, the amount of oil the skin produces does as well. This can lead to dry, itchy skin.

Other causes of itchy skin

These are rare, but can include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Fungal infections
  • Herpes
  • Withdrawal from drugs
  • Drug abuse

Natural Treatment For Menopause Symptoms Like Itchy Skin

There are several natural treatments that can be used to care for itchy skin.

  • Omega 3 foodsChanges in Diet – For adequate skin health, but sure to include omega-3 fatty acids. These can be found in salmon, fortified eggs, sardines, and flaxseed. Also be sure to consume plenty of vitamin B to produce healthier skin.
  • Drink More Water – The more water you drink, the more hydrated your body and skin will be.
  • Showers - Be careful taking those long hot baths and showers. Hot water tends to dry skin out, making itchy skin worse. Instead, choose a warm setting. Also, be sure to apply moisturizer as soon as you get out of the shower. You may want to use baby oil, petroleum jelly, or mineral oil.
  • Sunscreen - It is best to avoid too much sun if you are suffering from itchy skin, but if you do want to go out, make sure you use a good sunscreen with moisturizer in it.
  • Irritants - Avoid using perfumed soaps, which can cause irritation to your skin. Avoid other irritants as well, such as cigarette smoke, lack of sleep, and stress.
  • itchy skin menopause symptomsUse a high-quality moisturizing cream –  Use as directed and concentrate on the areas where itching is most severe. Examples include Cetaphil, Eucerin, CeraVe and others.
  • Apply an anti-itch cream or lotion to the affected area – Short-term use of non-prescription 1% hydrocortisone cream can give temporary relief to the itch. You could also try more traditional anti-itch creams such as menthol, camphor or calamine.
  • Apply cool, wet compresses - relief can be gained by covering the itchy area with a cloth or dressing
  • Take a lukewarm bath - Include baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal in your bathwater for relief
  • Wear smooth-textured, loose cotton clothing
  • Reduce stress. Stress can worsen itching so consider counseling,  meditation and yoga to relieve stress.

With the correct natural treatments, itchy skin is one of the many menopause symptoms you won’t have to worry about any more.

For further information on how to naturally sooth menopause symptoms, see the following link 

Why Conventional Treatments of Menopause Symptoms are a Health Disaster

Hormone Replacement TherapyWith menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and difficulty concentrating, it’s no small wonder why so many women flock to their doctors every year in search of a menopause solution or treatment.

This on its own would not be a problem were it not for the fact that most traditional doctors tend to push synthetic hormone replacement therapy on their patients in order to “treat” this perceived “disease.”

Menopause, however, is not a disease, but rather a natural phase in every woman’s life. Menopause does not need a cure, but natural menopause remedies for its symptoms can improve a woman’s quality of life during this time.

Synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy for Menopause is Dangerous

While the idea behind hormone replacement therapy is actually a very good one, the method that is most commonly defaulted to is the use of synthetic hormones. These may be man-made chemicals or derived from animals. For example, Premarin is actually a hormone that is extracted from the urine of pregnant mares! While these hormones may work well in the mare, you are most decidedly not a horse, and therefore do not need a horse’s hormones.

Yes, this drug did what it was intended to do by decreasing the severity of menopause symptoms, but at a high cost. It turns out that taking these synthetic or animal-derived hormone replacement therapy options actually puts women at a higher risk for heart disease and cancer.

That’s not just an assumption based on loose research either; it’s been studied and documented to the point that these medications are now required to carry a black box warning about the potential side effects and risks! Why would you want to put something like that in your body when there are so many natural and healthy remedies that you can use to decrease the severity of your menopause symptoms?

Natural Menopause Remedies Trump Conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy

Pure Fish OilAny combination of natural menopause remedies should start at the very least with the adaptation of a healthy diet and exercise routine. Whether you are experiencing menopause as a normal course of aging or are in a surgically induced form of menopause due to a full or partial hysterectomy, proper diet and plenty of exercise will contribute to your overall health, help you sleep better at night, promote weight loss or help you maintain an already healthy weight, and boost your mood.

Black Cohosh Menopause Herbal TreatmentThe next step in using natural menopause remedies involves making sure you are getting all of the critical vitamins, minerals, and other components that your body needs. This includes plenty of vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, and a complete avoidance of all things refined or processed. You may also try an herbal supplement such as Black Cohosh that may nip your hot flashes in the bud. If you are still suffering with menopause symptoms, talk to your doctor about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, but be sure you stress that you absolutely do not want to start any kind of conventional synthetic hormone replacement therapy regimen.

What is Menopause?

What is Menopause on traffic sign

What is menopause? Some signs you might be experiencing this in your life…

 

What is menopause? – you have heard the question many times, but do you really know what the answer is?  Have you ever experienced hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, weight loss, or muscle aches all at one point in your life? Chances are, you might be experiencing menopause or pre menopause symptoms. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life wherein the cessation of menstruation occurs. Women often ask “Is Menopause a medical condition?” and the answer is no – it is a perfectly natural process (except for surgically induced menopause) that happens to all women.

What is Menopause?

Every woman is born with the number of eggs she will ever need in her lifetime. As she grows older and undergoes puberty, the ovaries which house the eggs secrete them one by one as indicated by the hormonal changes that occurs. This is the time where a woman is considered at her peak fertility because of the regularity of producing mature eggs. In some cases, pregnancy occurs and menstruation ceases for a few months leading to childbirth. After this, the normal cycle of the female menstruation then ensues. However, there comes a point in a woman’s life where the ovaries are no longer able to release eggs every month. This is the onset of the phenomenon we know as menopause.

 

Who does it affect?

Currently, there are more than 45 million women who are undergoing menopause at any given time. No wonder so many women ask ‘what is menopause?‘! This usually occurs in women between the ages of 40-58, and the process can take up to 4 years. During this time, many women will tend to see changes in their menstrual cycles, varying from lesser blood flow to irregular bleeding, and to bothersome symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes. It is estimated that only about 10% of these women are fortunate enough not to see any sudden changes as expected during this phase.

What Causes Menopause?

For most women, natural menopause occurs as a result of the hormonal and bodily changes. It undergoes three phases as follows:

  •  Perimenopause

What is perimenopause? It is the stage that leads up to the eventual depletion of all eggs that start the onset of menopause. Although you may not be able to notice it, the ovaries will begin to lessen their production of the female hormone, estrogen. Eventually, this decrease then accelerates.

  • Menopause

A woman is said to be in the menopause phase when she fails to experience any menstrual bleeding for a year. This is the stage wherein the ovaries have totally stopped releasing the eggs and estrogen.

  • Postmenopause

This is the phase that occurs right after the total cessation of menses. Many women will also be delighted to learn that at this time, menopause symptoms will slowly start to ease. However, the decreased amount of estrogen can pose health risks to the women. It is important to seek the advice of your doctor in this matter.

Aside from the natural process of menopause, there are women who undergo premature menopause such as in the case of surgically induced menopause where the ovaries are taken out for medical reason, or as a result of damage to the ovaries from treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.

What are the treatment options for Menopause?

 Typically, no treatment is required for those who are undergoing menopause. However, there are at least 10% of women who seek medical advice to find relief from the symptoms. These symptoms may be severe enough to interfere with one’s daily activities; hence symptomatic treatment can be warranted.

Natural Treatment for Menopause

The most ideal way of addressing these symptoms is to treat them naturally. Taking proper care of yourself through a healthy and active lifestyle free form stress as well as eating well can have positive impacts on your well-being. For instance, hot flashes can be triggered by many things. You can take measures to avoid these triggers, among which are caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and smoking. You can also keep cool by wearing light cotton shirts or sipping a relaxing tea. Lack of sleep should be immediately addressed to keep you relaxed and stress-free. Going on exercise is a great way to improve circulation and it also boosts up your energy levels in mater of minutes. To find out more about how to treat menopause symptoms the natural way, you may check out this website for more info.

So what is menopause?

Menopause is an inevitable stage in any woman’s life. The real challenge here is to learn more about it in order to understand and find more ways to relieve the symptoms naturally.

Causes of Early Onset Menopause

Early MenopauseThe typical age for the early onset menopause is 51 years old. The average is between the ages 45-55, but it commencing during 30’s or 40’s is not uncommon. Apart from the physical symptoms, women experiencing an early start to menopause may find it more difficult to cope because of the emotional implications. Menopause is the start of decline in reproductive functions, so women who still wish to have children it is a difficulty reality to reconcile.

Signs of Early Onset Menopause

There is little difference in menopause symptoms of whether it is early or not. These symptoms include:

Your primary health care provider can help diagnose whether you are experiencing an early onset of menopause or not. This can be done through an early menopause test (blood test) to measure specific estradiol levels that may indicate the hormonal changes in women. When this level falls below 30, it can be an indicator of early onset menopause. Other blood test include testing for FSH, which accounts for the functions of ovaries. A decline in production shows that you may be in menopause.

What Causes Early Menopause

  • Surgical removal of the ovaries

In cases where ovaries are needed to be removed, the result is induced menopause. Ovaries are responsible for the release of eggs that dictate the fertility of a woman, and to have them abruptly stop releasing the eggs altogether leads to early menopause. Oftentimes, surgically induced menopause can cause severe symptoms due to the abrupt decline in hormone levels. Ovarian function ceases which cause estrogen levels to drop significantly, forcing the woman to induced menopause.

Women who suffer from endometriosis, ovarian cancer, or polyps may require the removal of the ovaries or uterus.

  • Premature ovarian failure

In about 1% of women, premature ovarian failure may occur. Although it is not fully understood, premature ovarian failure leads to gradual decline of the production of hormones and release of eggs. This can then turn into early onset menopause since it commonly occurs in women before the age 40.

  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy

The results of chemotherapy and radiation therapy can have adverse effects on the reproductive function of women. Depending on the proximity to the site and on the amount of therapy administered, these treatments can cause damage to the ovaries. Since chemotherapy kills not only cancer, but also healthy cells, it can affect the production of egg cells. Those who are taking Tamoxifen in order to reduce their symptoms may also develop early onset menopause as its side effect.

  • Infection

Although evidence is still inconclusive, infections especially those in viral form could possibly trigger early menopause in women. This includes conditions such as cytomegalovirus or mumps. Tuberculosis can also infect the ovaries, causing effects in hormonal balance.

  • Other Factors

In a recent study done by Gold, EB, et. al., an early commencement of menopause has been associated with different demographic factors such as; prior contraceptive use, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity, baseline weight, and even educational level.

Early Onset Menopause Depends on the Individual

Menopause is an individual experience and there are many predisposing factors to its occurrence. In order to find specific approaches to you own care, a proper understanding of your condition is essential.  Further information on how to manage your symptoms of menopause can be found here.

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