Menopause: Signs and Symptoms

What most people refer to as menopause is actually a pre-menopausal stage called perimenopause.

The first menopausal stage doesn’t start until a year after your last period. During this time, your body is much more susceptible to serious problems such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

In order to properly prevent serious conditions, it is helpful to recognize symptoms of perimenopause so you can start treatment and stop problems before they start.

Here are some of the common and not so common symptoms:

Physical Symptoms

*Hot flashes. These are probably the most common physical symptom of menopause. They occur when you feel like it is terribly hot when the room is at a reasonable temperature.

*Night sweats. This is simply a hot flash that occurs during the night. Nights sweats can generally wake you from a sound sleep (often covered in sweat).

*Heart palpitations. These are more rare and serious than other symptoms. You should go to a doctor if you experience any heart related problems.

*Other symptoms. Some other symptoms may include incontinence (inability to control urination), dry skin, and hair loss.

*Changes in the Menstrual Cycle. This is usually the first sign that you’re entering perimenopause, although menstrual changes can be caused my other problems or even just stress. You may experience a lighter or much heavier flow, early, late or irregularly spaced periods. You may even miss a few.

*Changes in Mood. You may find yourself experiencing various emotional changes ranging from increased irritability, anxiety or simple mood swings, to more serious problems such as depression.

*Changes in Sleep Patterns. Even if you’ve always been a good sleeper, you may stop being able to fall asleep at night or wake up repeatedly and not get back to sleep.

*Sleep problems can also be caused by other perimenopause symptoms such as depression and night sweats.

*Sexual Changes. Many perimenopausals have a decrease in sex drive. You may also notice other symptoms including vaginal dryness.

While these are not the only symptoms of early menopause, they are the most common. If you have are experiencing these symptoms, it is recommended you visit your doctor. This way, you can not only treat any symptoms that are too severe, but also take steps, such as dietary changes, to prevent complications.

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