Changes in Periods
If your menstrual periods start to come more often or less often, are heavier or lighter, or have changed in duration, you’re probably on your way to menopause.
It is also possible your periods will become unpredictable, and you may not know when the next one will come, how long it will last, and how heavy or light it will be.
You can still get pregnant as long as you are getting periods, so it is a good idea to maintain your contraception method.
Any bleeding – even spotting – after your periods have completely stopped isn’t normal and should be brought to your doctor’s attention.
One of the earliest signs of menopause is vaginal dryness. As estrogen decreases, so does the body’s lubrication of skin, hair, and more intimate areas, such as the vagina.
Vaginal dryness can make sex painful and uncomfortable.
Talk to your doctor about over the counter (OTC) lubricants, prescription lubricants and gels, oral and cream medications, and/or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help ease vaginal dryness. (HRT helps your body to produce natural lubrication.)
Loss of Libido
Some women report they are less interested in sex or have problems getting aroused when they are going through menopause.
The sudden drop in sexual desire is caused by hormonal imbalances and other symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal dryness and depression.
Menopausal mood swings are common but can be hard to cope with. They also bring about a rollercoaster of emotions – one minute you are happy as can be, the next you are either angry or crying hysterically.
Your mood swings can be abrupt and/or extreme. And sometimes your ability to control your moods can be frustrating and confusing.
Anxiety and Depression
Menopause and depression are commonly experienced together, and there are different reasons why some women experience depression and anxiety during menopause.
Some culprits are:
- Chronic health conditions
It is not always possible to completely avoid feelings of anxiety and depression, but with healthy eating, staying active and keeping social helps.
Concentration and Memory Problems
Changes in your hormone levels during menopause can impair your ability to concentrate and can result in memory problems.
It is very common to experience lapses in your memory and have problems concentrating during the early and middle stages of menopause.
If your breasts feel sore and tender, this is probably due to menopausal hormonal changes. You may benefit from wearing comfortable bras and cutting out caffeine which exacerbates swelling.
And even if you still get periods, sore breasts aren’t just going to be limited to your cycle. The severity of pain and tenderness can range from uncomfortable to extremely painful even with the simplest touch.
Talk to your doctor if breast soreness and tenderness cause you a lot of discomforts. Your doctor can recommend an OTC treatment or prescribe one to other you some relief.
Next page: continue to the next page to learn about other common symptoms of menopause including fatigue, incontinence, and weight gain.