Just when you were preparing for a life of unset alarm clocks and bed-head weekdays, there goes menopause catching you off guard. Hot night flashes. An arid vagina. Sleepless nights. And hourly trips to the toilet. Little tokens from your body to you, as you venture into an uncharted vortex of discomfort. Oh, the timing.
Only, menopause is often made out to be far worse than it really is. And by staying in the know of symptoms to expect, you can navigate your way through the phase with your chin high and your spirits higher. If you’re teetering on menopause and need a hand with symptoms to expect, here’s an overview that ought to help you.
Menopause is a term that refers to a complete year devoid of menstruation. Perceived menopausal symptoms actually occur during perimenopause, a phase that leads up to menopause itself. Not all women experience the same intensity of these symptoms; while some sail through menopause without the slightest hint of discomfort, others experience years’ worth of debilitating pain. Menopausal symptoms are most often caused by a decline in oestrogen and progesterone reserves, and include changes in the reproductive mechanism, urinary tract, skin, bones, breasts, blood vessels, heart, hair, pelvic muscles and brain. The average age of menopause in India is 46 years. The most common menopausal symptoms are listed below.
1. Menstrual Variations
At the approach of menopause, you’ll notice fluctuations in the frequency and flow of your menstrual cycle. You may experience heavier or lighter bleeding than before, and also, some mid-cycle spotting. With each passing cycle, you may observe your period tapering off sooner. If your period starts making guest appearances, or doesn’t show up at all for at least 12 successive months, make sure to meet a doctor to discuss the possibility of menopause. In rare cases, a cessation in periods may indicate a more serious underlying condition, so it is vital to rule out worst case scenarios before embracing menopause.
Menopause can throw your body clock off balance, making sleep a challenge. If you find yourself staring at the ceiling long after the lights are out, know that this is a normal symptom of menopause. Resort to meditation and breathing rituals to free your mind and calm your body. Also, set up a daytime exercise regime to draw out all your pent-up energy, and create a relaxing bedtime routine, with a nice warm bath and therapeutic music to lull you to La La Land. Most significantly, relegate your connected devices to the closet before you sleep, to disconnect from the ways of technology.
3. Vaginal Dryness & Pain
Reduced hormone levels during menopause can interfere with the moisture composition within the vagina, resulting in vaginal dryness and resultantly, reduced libido. The irony is, menopause can be your passport to frequent sex, because the latter can help in stimulating blood flow to the vagina and keep it from contracting. Remember, menopause-induced vaginal dryness can make intercourse highly uncomfortable, so keep a lubricant handy!
4. Hot Flashes
An unexplained wave of heat coursing through your body is a common feeling during menopause, lasting anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes. Hot flashes don’t come with advance warning; they can occur at any time – and even be strong enough to arouse you from your slumber. Hot flashes tend to last beyond menopause, for at least a couple of years after a woman’s final menstrual cycle. However, their occurrence reduces over time. Hot flashes can be high on the severity scale for some women, but can be managed with medical intervention.
5. Urinary Tract Infections
Lowered hormone reserves can expose the urinary tract to more infections. Urinary tract infections usually appear in the form of a frequent urge to urinate, a stinging pain during urination and compulsive itching. They can be treated with antibiotics.
In addition to these top 5 symptoms, menopause can also herald other changes. Urinary incontinence, mood swings, depression, vaginal atrophy, and changes in skin and hair are some. Menopause doesn’t come with a rulebook, and symptoms can vary from woman to woman. If you find that you’re on the brink of menopause, it’s worth seeking a doctor’s opinion on how best to prepare your body for impending changes. On Cloudnine, we know just how to take the pause out of menopause. Trust us to show you how.