Menopause questions about menopause symptoms, perimenopause and hot flashes

Top 7 Questions People Are Asking Google About Menopause.

Every day millions of internet users ask Google life’s most difficult questions, big and small.  It is invited in to enlighten every aspect of your lives, professional and personal. As you find your way through the maze of life, you are introduced to new questions at every turn. 

Menopause is just another phase of life that brings with it an array of questions. It is that tricky “change of life”  better known as the “sucky phase” in a woman’s life that no one ever wants to talk about. It’s called “the change of life,” not the END of life, which means that it isn’t ALL bad. Look at it as an era of new freedom. Yes, you heard it right. There IS an upside to menopause. 

Menopause usually takes place in the early fifties, although it can occur at any age between 35 and 59. Most women experience some physical or emotional symptoms when they reach menopause. Hot flushes and vaginal dryness are the most common of these symptoms.  At least two-thirds of women going through menopause experience them. However, there are many other uncomfortable signs to watch out for too. So to help you with it, we’ve come up with a list of the top 7 questions that people ask Google about menopause.

1. What is Menopause?

Menopause marks the end of fertility in women. You can wave your periods goodbye forever. As your monthly period prepares to leave, they decide to throw a huge ball to bid you farewell, as a lifetime of partnership draws to an end. This ball, however, is more of a wrecking ball set loose inside your body that raises havoc from head to toe, inside out.

Typically, menopause symptoms creep up around the late 40s to early 50s, if not sooner. Removal of ovaries might also trigger sudden menopause. So it is important to be well informed about the early signs of menopause, also known as perimenopause, as well as how to manage these symptoms to continue living a relatively normal lifestyle.

Menopause symptoms might include night sweats, hot flushes, mood fluctuations, sore breasts, bruises, dry eyes, chin hair, heart palpitations, peeing yourself, dry skin, body odour, migraines, vaginal dryness, weight change, irregular periods, bone loss and fuzzy brain. A reduction in estrogen levels can lead to the menopause symptoms.

Menopause symptoms vaginal dryness
Menopause symptoms estrogen

2. How far into menopause am I?

Perimenopause usually might occur 3 to 5 years before menopause, along with an irregular menstrual cycle. It walks into your life with a drop in your estrogen and hormonal levels in your late 40s. You could still get pregnant though. So do not throw those condoms away just yet. It’s recommended that you prescribe to birth control until a year after your period stops.

Certain events, other than natural ageing, can result in sudden menopause. For example, when the uterus is removed it might cause symptoms to develop gradually. On the other hand, if the ovaries are removed, it might cause symptoms to appear immediately.

You can claim your seat at the menopausal table once a year has passed since your last period. There should not be any other causes for your periods to stop such as breastfeeding, pregnancy, medication, illness, etc. It’s a bumpy ride from perimenopause through menopause to postmenopause. We are all uniquely made, which results in differences in your experience of menopause from that of another, based on the symptoms and their intensity.

As postmenopause walks in, if you’re tempted to take a sigh of relief at the sight of ‘post’ before ‘menopause’, you might want to hold your breath. The symptoms that plague perimenopausal women, make a final comeback for the postmenopausal period.

Additionally, due to the decrease in estrogen, there’s an increased risk of heart disease, osteopenia and osteoporosis.

3. How many menopause symptoms are there?

(i) Hot Flushes 

They’re often described as a feeling of intense heat with sweating and rapid heartbeat which starts in the face and then moves throughout your body. It may typically last from 2 to 30 minutes for each occurrence.

(ii) Vaginal dryness

It is the nightmare of the dry hump. Without sufficient lubrication, sexual intercourse can be painful, thus turning the whole situation into a stick in the mud. No pun intended.

(iii) Sore breasts

Breast pain is more likely to feel like burning or soreness, in one or both breasts. Not all women experience it in the same way. The pain may feel sharp, stabbing, or throbbing.

(iv) Urinary Incontinence

A cough, sneeze or laugh and suddenly your panties are wet. Not in a good way. A loose bladder is another symptom of menopause. Or you might notice leaking when you’re lifting something heavy or doing something that puts pressure on your bladder.

(v) Weight Change

Those pants feeling tight even though you’ve been eating right and exercising as always? Many women find themselves gaining weight during the menopause even if they’re eating no more calories than previously. Others notice their shape changing, especially around the waist and abdomen.

(vi) Other physical symptoms may include lack of energy, heart palpitations, headache, dizziness, dry and itchy skin, cold flushes, bloating, more facial hair.

(vii) Psychological symptoms

Feeling irritated because your husband is breathing too loud? It’s not you, just menopause. Anxiety, poor memory, inability to concentrate, depressive mood, irritability, mood swings are some of the psychological menopause symptoms.

Menopause symptoms hot flushes
Menopause symptoms how far into menopause am i

4. How many years does menopause last?

How long are you going to keep turning into an oven?  Well, there are women who never have had a hot flush, and there are women in their 70s who are still experiencing hot flushes. The most intense menopause symptoms — typically period changes and night sweats — last for approximately four years, and they tend to feel the worst during the perimenopause transition. All symptoms, however, may last for an average of 10 years.

Menopause caused around the age of 45-55 is considered a natural part of ageing. However, it can be triggered early due to surgical intervention or damage to the ovaries. Menopause caused earlier than 45 is called early menopause, while before 40 is called premature menopause.

While menopause can be a gruelling time to go through with all of it’s symptoms, it does not last forever. On the plus side, it rids you of your periods to live your life in utter freedom.

5. What causes weight gain during menopause?

Menopause triggers hormonal changes in women. This could result in a noticeable amount of weight gain around your midriff. Your hips and thighs, on the other hand, might not be as adversely affected.  Hormonal changes, however, may not be the only culprit for your weight gain. Ageing, the lifestyle you live and genetic factors also play a huge part.

For example, muscle mass typically diminishes with age, while fat increases. Since loss of muscle mass decreases the rate at which your body uses calories, it can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight. If you do not alter your exercise regimen and diet according to your age, you’re likely to gain weight.

Your parent’s bodies are also a good indicator of what your body might be susceptible to. If they carry weight around the abdomen you’re likely to do the same.

Sleep deprivation is another factor that might contribute to menopausal weight gain. Hunger cravings are triggered by lack of sleep, which might lead to overeating and consumption of more calories.

menopause symptoms, signs of menopause, menopause age
menopause symptoms, signs of menopause, menopause age, vaginal dryness,

6. How to cope with menopausal symptoms?

Menopause brings in a variety of symptoms that could cause a lot of stress. There are a number of ways to deal with it. Meditating for at least 15 mins a day along with some exercises does wonders. In addition to it, yoga helps retain flexibility, control weight gain and relax your mind.

A feeling of isolation might accompany your descent into menopause. As you go through uncomfortable symptoms that most people might just brush under the rug, having a supportive tribe is very important. Calling a friend, talking to people who are going through the same thing as you or going in for counselling, all help combat stress by reducing the feeling of alienation that this phase brings.

Self-care is another element that is unappreciated. Take a bath, make sure you sleep well and eat healthy food.

Various supplements might also aid in easing menopause symptoms. Evening Primrose oil is an over the counter supplement often recommended for the various symptoms of menopause.

7. How menopause affects husbands/ marriage?

While you battle the infinite number of physical, emotional and psychological changes that wage war on your body during menopause, your male counterparts also have to battle the consequences of these symptoms.

Men come into contact with menopause in an indirect but in an equally intense way. Most often the complaint from husbands or partners is, ‘I just feel wrong no matter what I do’. So it is important that awareness about menopause and its symptoms is spread widely among men as well as women.

A decrease in hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause might result in women falling victim to negative emotions. The partners of such women must keep in mind that menopause not only has physical alterations but also psychological changes that might propel their wives or partners to behave in an unusual way.

Women going through menopause may also feel like they lack sex appeal and are old, unattractive and dispensable. They might also have to endure weakness, forgetfulness, or discomfort.

Finally, as the sun sets on one phase of their life and rises on a new chapter, it can be an extremely daunting time for the women going through it. So the support and understanding of the husband is of paramount importance.

Men-O-Pause

Men also go through their own set of changes as they grow older. Declining testosterone can affect libido, moods and sexual performance. Since the changes that men encounter are more gradual in pace than those of women, sometimes they may not be as obvious. Some of these unwelcome changes may include midlife stress, as well as health and ageing issues. Due to these changes, the relationship might end up being a roller coaster.

It is, therefore, important to have open communication between you and your partner. There should also be understanding and compassion for one another’s plight. You should handle every mountain that rises with patience. If needed, a visit to a counsellor is highly recommended.

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