14 Symptoms And Signs Of Menopause

The interruption of the menstrual period is preceded by signs that warn of the entry into that stage.

Menopause. This word is seen by many people as something negative, since it means the end of female fertility. Other people see it as a liberation, because after it they stop having menstruation.

Regardless of how it is viewed, it is an inevitable physiological phenomenon in the life of every woman and that in many cases generates various discomforts and symptoms, elements that can signal the arrival of the last of the menstruations.

In this article you can learn about the 14 symptoms and signs of menopause and its arrival.

Menopause: what are we talking about?

Menopause is understood to be the moment in which the last menstruation occurs, the period of time that goes from the moments before its arrival to those after it is called climacteric. In fact, what is considered menopause is the moment when the last period occurs, the last menstruation. It is considered that menopause has been reached when menstruation stops for at least one year.

Its origin is the end of the production of estrogen and progesterone in the ovary. With age, the ovaries age and the follicles wear out, decreasing the amount of the hormones mentioned above, until a time comes when no new eggs are released. On average, menopause usually arrives between 45 and 55, although in some cases it can occur early or late.

Menopause can be a turning point, losing the sufferer the ability to conceive by traditional methods. This can be a great setback for some people, especially due to the consideration that they are reaching old age, the unfulfilled desire to be a mother or the social stigma that the loss of the ability to conceive implies derived from the classic stereotypes of gender,  a stigma that although it is decreasing, in some sectors of society  still persists. 

In this way, problems such as anxiety attacks or depression may appear. However, it is a natural phenomenon that does not have to be seen as something negative, since it does not prevent the performance of any type of activity and can even allow some other activities to be experienced in a different way.

But menopause does not come suddenly. Even years before, the body is gradually showing signs of ovarian aging, some of which we will see in detail below.

Symptoms and signs of the onset of menopause

Menopause, as we have indicated previously, is usually preceded by various symptoms that indicate the cessation of some of the functions of the female reproductive system and the hormonal change that is taking place in the female body. 

Here are fourteen symptoms and signs of the onset of menopause. Some of them can be treated medically, especially when they cause intense suffering in the person.

1. Hot flashes

One of the best known symptoms that warns us of the arrival of menopause are known as hot flashes. Heat waves are understood as such that begin with a sudden sensation of heat in the chest and face and then spread throughout the body. They usually last about four minutes, and are sometimes followed by shaking and chills. 

Hot flashes usually appear some time before menopause and can last up to years after the climacteric, being in general the year before the cessation of menstruation when they occur more frequently and intensely. They are most common at night.

2. Irregular menstrual cycles

Menopause is the last menstruation, but before its arrival it is usual for the body to show progressive degeneration of ovarian function. It is common for the period to arrive irregularly, varying the dates on which the period arrives and getting longer and longer, although the periods may be shorter, it is usual that the amount of menstrual flow is greater than usual (although the opposite is also true). is usual).

3. Insomnia and sleep problems

Premenopausal women frequently have sleep problems, with insomnia or awakenings at night being common. Sometimes these problems are usually facilitated by other symptoms such as hot flashes, but this is not essential.

4. Mood disturbances

Being in a period of hormonal changes makes it easy for your mood to vary widely. Emotional lability and irritability are common. In fact, at this stage there is a high risk of depressive symptoms appearing. Some reasons for this are that the person in question wants to be able to become pregnant or the thought that she is approaching old age.

5. Anxiety

Like the possible presence of depressive symptoms, anxiety is another aspect that is common to find in women in the process of reaching menopause. The decrease in estrogens can cause other hormones such as dopamine to be reduced, enhancing states of stress and anxiety.

6. Weight gain

It is very common for women who are close to or after menopause to gain weight. This is partly due to the hormonal changes that the body undergoes in this period, which facilitate the accumulation of lipids. In addition, the anxiety and mood changes that often accompany the arrival of climacteric facilitate unbalanced intake.

7. Alterations in the level of sexual desire

Another common symptom of the arrival of menopause is the presence of alterations in the level of sexual desire. Usually this decreases due to the drop in estrogen levels. However, it has been recorded that in many cases the sexual appetite increases after the menopause, due to, among other factors, the increase in testosterone that also occurs after the climacteric.

8. Headaches and migraines, vertigo and dizziness

Headache is another relatively common symptom in premenopausal women. Tension-type headaches tend to increase especially, and tend to be more typical in women who previously suffered from these types of problems. Dizziness and vertigo are also relatively common.

9. Changes in bone density

Upon reaching menopause, the possibility of suffering from osteoporosis, a bone disease in which there is a progressive decrease in bone density and facilitating the existence of fractures, greatly increases . This increased risk is due to the fact that the end of ovarian function causes an increase in bone resorption (elimination of the tissue, releasing minerals from the bone into the blood).

10. Memory and concentration problems

The presence of lapses and forgetfulness in the period of time surrounding menopause is very common. The decrease in estrogen and other neurotransmitters, together with the effects produced by conditions such as low mood, usually facilitate the existence of memory failures.

11. Loss and dryness in hair, skin and nails

The decrease in different hormones in premenopausal women is related to the drop in the level of collagen. For this reason, it is common for the skin to flake and dry, as well as for nails and hair to become brittle and easily breakable.

12. Decreased energy

Difficulties falling asleep, hormonal changes, and the effect of mood swings and anxiety cause energy levels to drop rapidly. Both physical and mental fatigue appears, and some demotivation may also occur.

13. Urogenital symptoms: Urinary incontinence and vaginal dryness

The fact that there is a progressive loss of estrogen causes different changes to be generated in the vagina and in the urogenital system. With regard to the vagina, there tends to be some dryness, loss of elasticity and even reduction of the vaginal wall, which in turn can lead to the presence of dyspareunia and avoidance of sexual contact. 

When it comes to incontinence, some of the hormonal changes make it easier for the bladder to undergo different changes, which make it easier for urine to leak. It is also not uncommon for urinary infections to be more common.

14. Joint pain

Estrogens have an anti-inflammatory effect. Its decrease, therefore, facilitates the presence of inflammation in places such as the joints.

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