There are over 25 different symptoms associated with the menopause. Symptoms often begin long before the menopause actually sets in.
All of us will experience this time of our life differently, but these are the most common symptoms:
Menstrual pattern changes This is the earliest symptom of peri-menopause; menstrual cycles can lengthen or shorten or blood loss can vary from scant to heavy.
Hot flushes and night sweats These often last a few minutes and are often described as an intense feeling of heat throughout your face, neck and chest. Hot flushes may appear at inopportune moments, such as during meetings, and night sweats occur during bed time and may disturb sleep.
Occasional sleeplessness Sometimes due to night sweats, many of us may find it difficult to fall asleep. Lack of sleep may result in fatigue, irritability, poorer short-term memory and concentration issues.
Weight gain and bloating This has been associated with a natural slowing of your body’s metabolism along with ageing and change of lifestyle.
Vaginal dryness and loss of libido A decrease in vaginal lubrication and thinning of the vaginal tissue can make sex less pleasurable or even painful. This, together with fluctuating hormone levels, breast tenderness, stress and diet can reduce your sex drive.
Mood swings and irritability During the menopause our hormone levels will rise and fall, in unison and our moods are likely to fluctuate from a stable contentment to irritability and anxiety.
Hair condition Oestrogen is needed for our hair to grow and as oestrogen levels fall during the menopause, you may find that your hair begins to thin and lacks condition. Some of us discover that their hair grows in unwanted places, such as on our faces.
Anxiety Experiencing these stressful symptoms during these years are caused by hormonal changes, but some women often say they can’t control what’s happening to their body. It is important not to feel anxious about being menopausal. It can happen to any of us and is natural.